Memorials, reminders and a call for advocacy: The role of the ghost bike

| Jul 9, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents |

Maybe you’ve seen them: Makeshift memorials at the side of the road with a bike that appears ghostly — even its tires painted white. Sometimes these ghost bikes stand forlorn and alone, sometimes they’re surrounded by candles, stuffed animals and flowers.

All of them have one thing in common: They represent a bicyclist whose life was cut short in a fatal wreck caused by an errant driver.

What’s the point of the ghost bike movement?

It’s unclear where the ghost bike movement started, but California has at least one group that is dedicated to setting them up. Why? Several reasons:

  • Memorials: Roadside memorials like these have popped up all over the nation for victims of car wrecks and homicides, and biking advocates want to give grieving loved ones a place to express their feelings.
  • Awareness: Advocacy groups say that the ghost bikes promote awareness of the dangers that cyclists face — and they encourage those driving passenger vehicles and trucks to remember that cyclists are sharing the streets with them.
  • Calls to action: Ghost bikes also serve as silent calls to action to the powers that be in the local and state government, mutely testifying to the need for more bike lanes and other infrastructure changes that will keep cyclists safer on the road.

Just recently, for example, a ghost bike was set up on South Coast Highway as a memorial to a 75-year-old cyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run crash, and a second ghost bike was placed on N. Torrey Pines Road in the same area to recognize the death of another cyclist just a day later.

What can you do after a bicycle wreck?

If you’ve been injured while cycling or a loved one was killed by a negligent driver, take the necessary steps to hold the responsible party accountable. Your actions could prevent another tragedy.