Thursday 4 August 2011

Ghost Bikes

Ghost bikes is a public project begun in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2003 when local cyclists began to commemorate the deaths of fellow riders in a simple, poignant and impossible-to-ignore way - when a friend or stranger was killed on the roads, they placed a white-painted bike at the scene of the accident with a plaque listing the victim's name, date of birth and date of death.

One ghost bike would have gone largely unnoticed by the car-driving public, but with so many cyclists killed each year there were soon many similar memorials around St. Louis. People noticed, and began to stop to find out what the bikes were all about. When someone is confronted with death like that, it makes them think.
"Last night I took a cab, and the driver was talking about the challenges of life as a cabbie. He was complaining about bike messengers and then suddenly shifted gears, lowered his tone, and said, "Do you ever see those bikes painted white, hanging up? That means someone died there. When I see them it reminds me to be careful for the bikers." In other words, people notice." (Anonymous,

Creating a ghost bike is simple. All it takes is an old bike with the chain and brakes removed so that it can't be ridden. Degrease it and give it a coat of white paint, then print or hand-write a plaque that can be attached using zip ties. Place the bike at the point where the cyclist whose death you are marking was killed, or as safe as is possible to do so.

There may already be other ghost bikes in your area or yours may be the first - consider having a look at and adding yours to the lists already there.

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