Ghost Bike

The first time I heard the term ghost bikes was in an American forensic television series with an acronym for a title (don’t they all) that I was watching just before Christmas. It seemed like a neat dramatic device in an otherwise rather ordinary tv show, but nothing more.

On Christmas day, while driving with the family to a friend’s house for lunch, I saw my first ghost bike, painted white and chained to a pole at an intersection on O’Riordan Street, a busy road between Sydney city and the airport.

White Ghost bike chained to street sign

I am not a bike rider. Nor have I paid much attention in the past to the increasing number telegraph poles and trees festooned with flowers and crosses, silent witnesses to the road toll. However, there was something quite poignant about this stark white bike. We didn’t stop, as Christmas lunch with fine food, wine and friends beckoned, but the image of the bike with white tyres stayed with me.

The next day, I happened to drive through the intersection again. This time, I stopped to have closer look at the bike and learn just a little about a young bike rider who was lost to all at that spot a few weeks earlier.

White Ghost bike with information attached

Rider information sign on ghost bike

It seems that the first Ghost Bike memorial was in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003. Since that time, ghost bikes have appeared in many other cities in the US, most notably Seattle and New York, and then spread throughout the world. The Ghostbikes.org site has more information and a list of locations where ghost bikes are silently demanding safer roads for all.

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