Ghost bikes

Stark reminders of cyclists killed in NYC

To make sure BikeRadar is bringing you the very latest in cycle commuting, I have a constant news feed streaming onto my laptop.

One of my keyword searches on Google is for the rather morbid "cyclist killed" - so every time a news story lands on the web about the death of a fellow cyclist it shows up on my screen.

Not exactly cheery.

And, while I firmly believe the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks, the constant body count is rather chilling.

Recently I've been learning about the work of a New York group called Time's Up to commemorate cyclists killed on the road.

These activists, recently targeted by police for daring to stray outside a bike lane, hold regular rides through Manhattan to highlight their campaign for cyclists' rights.

Another way they make their point is through the installation of ghost bikes. Ghost bikes are a way of marking the exact spot where a cyclist met their end, highlighting the area as a danger zone for everyone using the road, on four wheels, two wheels or on foot.

A cycle is painted white and decorated and then locked to the nearest secure point - usually a lamp post, which also gets a plaque giving the name and age of the victim, and the details of the accident which killed them.

It's a striking way to point out the very human cost of an urban environment which often favours cars above all other modes of transportation.

On a slightly cheerier note, here's one Bronx cyclist who didn't need his ghost bike after all.

© BikeRadar 2007

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