Friday, July 13, 2012

Ghost Bikes


TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2009


A cousin to the Roadside Memorial is the Ghost Bike, or Ghostcycle. Ghost Bikes are memorials to those killed while riding their bicycles, and are placed at the scene of the accident. Ghost Bikes began is St. Louis and have spread as both memorial and protest, all over the world.
In June 2005, Kevin Caplicki was biking down Fifth Avenue in Park Slope when he came upon the body of cyclist Elizabeth Padilla, who, minutes before, had been killed by a delivery truck. Caplicki belonged to the street-art collective Visual Resistance, and at its next meeting, they decided to construct a memorial for Padilla. The group took a spare bike, painted it white, and chained it to a sign post near the accident. The installation no longer looked like a bicycle as much as the negative space where one should have been, as if it had been cut out of a photograph by an X-Acto knife. It became New York’s first Ghost Bike.
The idea can be traced to Patrick Van Der Tuin, a St. Louis bike mechanic who in 2003 installed a Ghost Bike at the site of an accident he witnessed in the neighborhood of Holly Hills. (The victim ultimately survived and befriended him.) After Van Der Tuin and his friends created fifteen more Ghost Bikes in the St. Louis area, the project was featured in Dirt Rag, a national cycling magazine. He was inundated with e-mails. “Some people were adamant that this was a bad idea,” Van Der Tuin says. “They thought that we were discouraging people from cycling.” But others were moved by the spectral sight of bicycles repurposed as tombstones. Ghost Bikes started to appear in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh and have since spread to 35 cities around the world. “I had no idea it was going to be a viral thing,” says Van Der Tuin. -from New York Magazinehttp://nymag.com/news/features/47819/




Eric Ng Memorial Bike Ride This Saturday
by Aaron Naparstek on December 5, 2006
There will be a memorial bike ride for Eric Ng, the cyclist killed by a drunk driver on the Hudson River Greenway last week. Details below. Also, here is a note from the Visual Resistance blog. VR are the guys who make the "ghost bikes:"
I've been making ghost bikes for strangers for a year and a half. Eric's is not the first that made me cry, but it's the first that made me hurt. A big group of Eric's friends spent the weekend mourning, talking, and, finally, making. We made a ghost bike for him on Saturday and sunflowers on Sunday. Eric's memorial plaque reads "Love & Rage” no resting in peace for this rock star.
We are planning for a memorial ride this Saturday, December 9th, meeting at 1pm in Washington Square Park and then proceeding to the site of Eric's death. Non-bikers can head straight to the site, on the West Side bike path near Clarkson St. Please bring flowers (especially sunflowers), sidewalk chalk, paint, whatever you want. There will be a memorial service after the ride with music and a slideshow, and a party later that night.




Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
Kelly Wallace was killed on May 6, after her bike was hit by a car in a crosswalk at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Harvard Avenue, in Allston. Near that spot, a stark white “ghost bike” stands in her memory, adorned with handwritten notes and a profusion of blooming flowers.http://thephoenix.com/Boston/News/40414-Kelly-Wallace-1983-2007/?rel=inf



Here is an explanatory excerpt from the Ghost Bike site:
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.

The first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, and they have since appeared in nearly 75 cities throughout the world. For those who create and install the memorials, the death of a fellow bicyclist hits home. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks; it could just as easily be any one of us. Each time we say we hope to never have to do it again -- but we remain committed to making these memorials as long as they are needed.http://www.ghostbikes.org/

3 comments:

Charles Cowling said...

Another stunning post, Patrick, if I may say so - and as thoroughly researched as always. I've never come across these before - though I note that they are catching on in the UK. Whereas a 'conventional' roadside memorial lacks specificity about who and when and how (at a distance, at least), these ghost bikes are arresting and have a visual focus. And they really are haunting. They don't only commemorate the person and the event, they also serve as a deterrent to careless motorists.

Thank you!

Kim said...

I linked to this post on my blog about 2011 posts that moved me... FYI. Hope that everyone at the Daily Undertaker has a good 2012.

The Undertaker said...

If I die riding my bike, I definitely want a ghost bike in memorial for me.

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