Ghost Riders on the Road

by M-Gillies

The Street Memorial Project honors cyclists and pedestrians that have been killed on New York City's streets.

For any driver rushing to get to work in the morning, there is nothing more frustrating than having to yield, slow down for and avoid the slow moving cyclist who uses public streets as if their bike were a vehicle. In a culture that is about rushing to get from destination A to C whilst bypassing destination B, we don’t always slow down fast enough to consider those around, and importantly, the people who use the roads also.

Since 2000, there has been upwards to 700 cyclist related deaths per year in the United States alone, and while this number is high, the usage of roads by cyclists isn’t declining. With soaring gas prices, more environmentally conscious citizens and awareness of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, cycling is a widely used and excepted form of transportation.

With so many riders killed, the New York City Street Memorial Project looks to honor cyclists and pedestrians who have been killed while using public streets. This initiative sees the placement of dignified and somber memorial white painted bicycles – referred to as Ghost Bikes - locked up near the location of the accident as a commemorative plaque.

This memorial project began in 2007 as a means of commemorating fellow bicyclists. With the Street Memorial Project, volunteers work together to construct the memorials and organize memorial rides and walks for the installation of these ghost bikes.

Originating in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, these commemorations have since spread over 150 locations on 5 continents throughout the world, with the first New York City ghost bike appearing in June 2005.

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