Ghost Bikes in New York

Wandering in the streets of Manhattan or Brooklyn and running into a bicycle locked onto a light pole is not something uncommon. The first Ghost Bike I ran into was painted white, looked quite ridable and was complemented by flowers so I was confused in the beginning about the taste of the cycle's owner, but when I found the board explaining what the bike was standing for I got goose bumps: "CYCLIST KILLED HERE ....... "

White painted bikes locked into the street as memorials in urban space to remember 'killed' cyclists were firstly put up in St.Louis Missouri in 2003 and since developed into a global meme with Ghost Bikes put up mainly in the US (New York has a very dense Ghost Bike coverage) but spreading cross the globe to lately also places like Singapore or Ecuador. See the Ghost Bike map for the locations.

I was positively surprised about how bikes are kept in New York, apparently they are only removed by property owners, hardly by officials. There were some Ghost Bikes installed in Vienna by criticalmass and created some amount of media attention about the relatively bad security situation for cyclists in Austria. Regardless of that the Ghost Bikes have been removed [source]. I will not discuss the fact that it is perfectly normal in Austria to have other kinds of memorials, coincidentally of religious nature, next to the road to commemorate people who died in accidents.
Ghost Bike in Vienna. [image credit criticalmass Austria]
Ghost Bikes can raise awareness about the serious and sometimes even deadly hurdles bikers face when moving in the city. On the Ghost Bike homepage, which was set up by New Yorkers, I managed only to read through some of the stories of the crashes in New York leaving me with the impression that cyclists in New York seem to be rather some kind of prey for car and truck drivers than supported and protected stakeholders in city traffic.
Read the story of Juan Luis Solis for example:
"Juan Solis was riding his bicycle on East Gun Hill Road near Bouck Avenue in the Baychester section of the Bronx at about 4:30 p.m. When he tried to ride around a double-parked car an east-bound truck driving at high speed smashed into him and fled." [source]

Ghost Bike culture on the street in conjunction with the webpage are (I) an important reminder and advocate for the rights of cyclicsts to safely participate in urban traffic, and, (II) a reminder for the cyclists that they have to take care while cycling through the city and maybe still enjoy less respect and consideration by other traffic participant as they should enjoy.

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