Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ghost Bikes madness


If you are unaware of what Ghost bikes are? They are old bikes painted white and chained to the side of the road where a cyclist has been killed whilst riding. A little bit like the flowers you see on the side of a road where a car accident has ended in fatality.

In Nottingham where I live it’s not become a craze but in some of the bigger cities such as London and New York it’s an ever growing phenomenon. Now here comes the challenge in my mind. What really are they for?

Are we really looking to highlight an issue with road safety? Or remember a loved one’s passing? I am not sure!

My challenge with the whole practice is that even if we are looking to highlight that a certain junction or road crossing is a challenge for cyclists, making a morbid reminder is unlikely to slow down traffic, unlikely to get cyclists to take more care ad simply act as reminder to the risks of cycling in a city environment.

Do we want to highlight risks and scare people from participating I what is essential a safe and hugely beneficial both physically and mentality to those who take part in the activity/sport. Add to the fact it makes the streets look a mess as these bikes tend to live there for months and years on end, often surrounded by flowers and messages of condolence.

I am not being disrespectful in the sense that the passing of human life is always a tragedy but do we have to highlight it in such a fashion that it actually gives a bad taste and a bad feeling to our activity. Can you imagine if we did the same for all car accidents by placing an old white car or a mannequin on the spot where pedestrians were killed? It looks wrong, feels wrong and creates a bad image.

They are wrong for so many reasons and I think as a cycling community we should respect the dead through the same channels we would anyone else. Why is there a need for such a depressing public display? The point often made by those not even related to the families. What is worse is many know the councils will not remove from due to fear of public outcry.

believe it or not there are official websites dedicated to the practice?
ghostbikes.org/
London remembers

Am I missing something? By all means explain to me why you feel they are significant and why I am out of tune?

Some articles on the subject:

christina patterson what are these memorials to dead cyclists really trying to tell us
Ghost bikes memorials cycling victims


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