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  1. #1
    Rock the Lock
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    White, Ghost, or Memorial bikes

    How do people remember the fallen cyclists in their community. Are they remeberd at all. DO people rely on outdated newspaper clippings, flowerd street posts or police collision reports.

    In Toronto, Chicago, and New York the white bikes have hit the streets with chains and white paint. The ghost bikes are accusing the motorist. Accusing the trucks and thier right red light turns. Accusing the drivers as being criminally responsible in the death of young and old cyclists. Negligence is no excuse for death.

    What can we do?!

  2. #2
    Banned Big_knob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie Lock
    How do people remember the fallen cyclists in their community.
    Usually around here it comes by way of a tombstone.
    What would you like on your tombstone?

  3. #3
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Not sure what prompted this rant, but I'd assert that getting hit by someone making a right on red constitutes cycling negligence.

    Do you think that the other 5,000 drivers (meaning the ones that didn't hit a cyclist) have a clue what the spray painted bike on the road is accusing them of? Do you think they will bother to try to find out?
    Tom

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  4. #4
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    ^^so what do you suggest?

  5. #5
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Now Randy, I know that it's this thing where you and I have to go 'round and 'round, but could you tell me where to start? With the getting hit by right on red problem or the "memorial" problem?
    Tom

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  6. #6
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    You seem to have a problem with the memorials. I'd like to know why. No doubt the motorists might not register them as they whiz by, but a few pedestrians that spend a lot of time driving might see them in passing and take note. Furthermore, most motorists do recognize those roadside memorial crosses, why are you so certain they wouldn't recognize a roadside memorial ghost bike? Even if they don't, I would ask you again, why are you opposed to something that certainly isn't doing any harm?

  7. #7
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    I'm not opposed at all, I just doubt that the motorists that have no clue what it's about feels like they are being accused of anything, as the OP suggests.

    I think they are about as silly as the roadside crosses, since they don't give any context as to what circumstances occured, but if they make someone feel better for having done something, that's fine by me. Maybe at some point motorists will come to recognize them, although I would think the use of an already recognized memorial might be more effective, but I doubt that even recognition would lead to safer driving in regards to cyclists. Most drivers don't understand how they are supposed to interact with cyclists on the road, and I don't see how such a memorial will teach them.
    Tom

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  8. #8
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    Around here there is nothing, nothing at all.
    If someone were to chain a white bike up where a cyclist had *fallen* by the next morning it will have been stolen and three days later will be at the recyclers.
    That's a sad fact of life for these parts.
    When there is an accident, be it bicycle or automobile, the main point of focus for the media is the traffic situation and how soon the lanes will be open again. They usually don't even mention if someone was hurt/killed.

    great, I just depressed myself

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Personally I think this kind of stuff is a crock of ****.
    1. It is usually going to be somewhere that you really don't have the right. Probably in front of someone's home or business.
    2. Most motorists won't have a clue what it is.
    3. It emphasizes that bicycling is dangerous, probably beyond what it actually is. If you want to advocate cycling that is the last thing you want.
    ___________________________
    Edit: I withdraw this opinion since the details of how this is practiced in Toronto were explained to me. It actually sounds like a fairly nice thing.
    Apologies to anyone I offended.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 02-16-07 at 05:04 PM.

  10. #10
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl
    I'm not opposed at all, I just doubt that the motorists that have no clue what it's about feels like they are being accused of anything, as the OP suggests.

    I think they are about as silly as the roadside crosses, since they don't give any context as to what circumstances occured, but if they make someone feel better for having done something, that's fine by me. Maybe at some point motorists will come to recognize them, although I would think the use of an already recognized memorial might be more effective, but I doubt that even recognition would lead to safer driving in regards to cyclists. Most drivers don't understand how they are supposed to interact with cyclists on the road, and I don't see how such a memorial will teach them.
    Quote Originally Posted by staphinfection
    Personally I think this kind of stuff is a crock of ****.
    1. It is usually going to be somewhere that you really don't have the right. Probably in front of someone's home or business.
    2. Most motorists won't have a clue what it is.
    3. It emphasizes that bicycling is dangerous, probably beyond what it actually is. If you want to advocate cycling that is the last thing you want.

    They know what they mean in Toronto, but only if they read a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV. Sound like anyone you know?

    They serve a purpose too, an obvious one I'd be ashamed to overlook. They emphasize the location of what was usually a preventable accident, on that site someone lost their life and many people lost someone dear because someone, the deceased or the driver or both, made a miscalculation while using the road. To motorist & biker alike it emphasizes the care that should be exhibited on the road, one beyond the "look out for myself, damn the rest" attitude present in a few posts here.

    You should as easily mock a flag draped coffin, because we know war kills no matter the circumstance and you didn't know the guy, so it's a waste of money & time, right? just dump them in a ditch & be done with it! NEXT!

  11. #11
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Flag draped coffins indicate that someone has died in the service of their country, or at least has given part of themselves in the service of their country at some time. They are not intended to accuse anyone, they are intended to honor the one fallen.

    These memorials indicate that someone died, again I say with no context. If you don't hear about it through some other medium, you don't have any clue what happened. If it's a bicycle and you're driving a car, you don't know what kind of mistake was made or who made it. Was it a wrong way cyclist at night? Drunk or inattentive driver? What? Around here, even as a cyclist, I would assume that someone on a bicycle screwed up and died for their ignorance. That's because around here, the vast majority of people I see on bikes are riding slowly on the sidewalks, crossing intersections when they think they can get across, and when they are on the road they are going against traffic, and at night you could hold a treasure hunt trying to find one riding with any kind of lighting.

    In that context, whether I was driving or riding, if I saw a ghost bike of any kind, my natural assumption would be that someone riding a bike illegally or improperly got creamed, and since I already ride with traffic, what message could that possibly send to me?

    On the other roadside memorials...well, I see a few in town but most of the ones I see are further out on roads that I know I drove way too fast when I was a kid. I think "another dumb kid wrapped himself around a tree" and I'm sure that the kids see them and think "what an idiot, couldn't handle his car" because the ones that it happens to are the ones that think they are invincable, like I did at that age.
    Tom

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  12. #12
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl
    Flag draped coffins indicate that someone has died in the service of their country, or at least has given part of themselves in the service of their country at some time. They are not intended to accuse anyone, they are intended to honor the one fallen.

    These memorials indicate that someone died, again I say with no context. If you don't hear about it through some other medium, you don't have any clue what happened. If it's a bicycle and you're driving a car, you don't know what kind of mistake was made or who made it. Was it a wrong way cyclist at night? Drunk or inattentive driver? What? Around here, even as a cyclist, I would assume that someone on a bicycle screwed up and died for their ignorance. That's because around here, the vast majority of people I see on bikes are riding slowly on the sidewalks, crossing intersections when they think they can get across, and when they are on the road they are going against traffic, and at night you could hold a treasure hunt trying to find one riding with any kind of lighting.

    In that context, whether I was driving or riding, if I saw a ghost bike of any kind, my natural assumption would be that someone riding a bike illegally or improperly got creamed, and since I already ride with traffic, what message could that possibly send to me?

    On the other roadside memorials...well, I see a few in town but most of the ones I see are further out on roads that I know I drove way too fast when I was a kid. I think "another dumb kid wrapped himself around a tree" and I'm sure that the kids see them and think "what an idiot, couldn't handle his car" because the ones that it happens to are the ones that think they are invincable, like I did at that age.
    It could send a simple message, one already contained in my previous post. The message being that there are accidents & they usually involve motor vehicles. Motor vehicles are prevalent on your roads you say, so what part of a reminder for due diligence do you have a problem with?

    Is fault really your focus, after the fact of a death? Most people agree that accidents are preventable in many instances. They are preventable on the part of either party in many cases, the cyclist that runs a red is less likely to die on the grill of a truly observant, careful motorist. At least, I know how to stop my car very quickly. The cyclist doing everything right and being observant is likewise safer from ,say, a drunk driver, than someone tooling about on sidewalks & streets with headphones and dark clothing while whistling & looking at the sky.

    I'm surprised you find memorials to be accusatory. That's actually shocking. Here they are put up as memorials signifying regrettable loss. I'm fairly certain that the stupid kid that wraps his camaro around a tree on the twisty county road after drinking too much gets a memorial. You don't find a lot of programs like that, or MADD, or ghost bike organizations, that determine the basis for a memorial on how the blame may be placed.

    Not a lot of murderers get memorials, but accident victims do. Surely that incompetent cyclist had family, as did the drunk driver. Even when a mistake is made, loss is regrettable. Memorials are in this way a form of "What if". What if the driver had seen the cyclist error, and had the split second wit to choose damaging a parked car with only slight risk to themselves rather than braking too slowly, even if they could brake no faster, to save a life? What if Harry hadn't had so many martinis, then he may not have plowed into that school kid, that's what! What if the driver of a four axle behemoth had used the labeled, short mirror they're equipped with without fail before turning? Then maybe they would've seen the person there within their turn radius, whether they came to be their because the driver passed without consideration for the proximity of the coming turn, or because the cyclist didn't have experience enough to know not to try to pass in that situation? That What if.

    Unless you feel the deaths resultant of right-hook accidents are deserved deaths, or at the least, no loss at all, because they shouldn't have been there to begin with.

    Is that how it is?

  13. #13
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    They know what they mean in Toronto, but only if they read a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV. Sound like anyone you know?
    I know I never heard of them before this thread and I still bet most motorists wouldn't have a clue.

    My questions remain:
    1. Why should some one have the right to put these in front of someone else's business or residence?
    2. How is it good to portray bicycling as dangerous when it is already perceived as more dangerous than it actually is? I would rather see bicycling promoted rather than discouraged. It seems to me that this would discourage folks thinking about riding.

    Additionally I am curious who it is that places these "ghost bikes". It is in any way sanctioned by a government agency? Do the people who place them have permission to do so from the resident or business they are placed in front of? If not why do they feel they have the right to do so?

  14. #14
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    I'm surprised you find memorials to be accusatory. That's actually shocking.
    Context. I was responding to the original post. That's the context of the discussion.

    "The ghost bikes are accusing the motorist. Accusing the trucks and thier right red light turns. Accusing the drivers as being criminally responsible in the death of young and old cyclists. Negligence is no excuse for death."

    Thanks for playing.

    Edit: I've never responded in any way negatively in any prior discussion of ghost bikes or other memorials that have appeared in this forum. This one seems to specifically be taking aim at using them as a way to make drivers feel guilty for bike/car accidents. My assertion is that they won't do that in any way, so putting them up with that purpose in mind is silly. I have at no point ever said that a victim of such an accident should be forgotten, or that they are irrelevent.
    Last edited by twahl; 02-16-07 at 12:21 PM.
    Tom

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  15. #15
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Well staph, how many cyclists death do you have in Parkland MD? So many that there are newspaper, television or radio articles about these things?

    I'm sorry I ignored your earlier questions, it seemed like you had a problem with the expression of grief by others, I didn't know your concerns were purely officious in the first and one limited interpretation in the second.

    1. The crosses you see are only placed with the approval of property owners, county officials or other local officials responsible for the public land they are almost exclusively placed upon. The ghost bikes are placed exclusively on public property, in the manner of a parked bicycle so that they do not interfere with pedestrian traffic, and only with the consent of the family of the deceased, where applicable.

    2. See previous post as to the nature of memorials.

    Additionally, I see no reason to concern myself with who is doing what in the name of the dead so far as they consult with those most bereaved namely the family. See answer 1 for questions about business owners & homeowners that are offended by memorials to the recently departed.

  16. #16
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl
    Context. I was responding to the original post. That's the context of the discussion.

    "The ghost bikes are accusing the motorist. Accusing the trucks and thier right red light turns. Accusing the drivers as being criminally responsible in the death of young and old cyclists. Negligence is no excuse for death."

    Thanks for playing.

    Edit: I've never responded in any way negatively in any prior discussion of ghost bikes or other memorials that have appeared in this forum. This one seems to specifically be taking aim at using them as a way to make drivers feel guilty for bike/car accidents. My assertion is that they won't do that in any way, so putting them up with that purpose in mind is silly. I have at no point ever said that a victim of such an accident should be forgotten, or that they are irrelevent.

    thanks for the clarification, that's why I found it shocking, seemed incredibly unlikely.

  17. #17
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Whenever some drunk-stupid teenager gets too sloshed to drive, and ends up wrapping mommy's Lexus RX300 around a telephone pole, killing himself and three completely inebriated youths as his passengers, people set up crosses and flowers and all sorts of madness at the accident site.

    If that's okay, then I see nothing wrong with leaning a ghost bike against a light pole near the place where some innocent cyclist got annihilated by a cement truck, and dragged 4 blocks because the driver didn't realize he hit anything.
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  18. #18
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    In NY, everyone I know (non-cyclists)knows what they are.
    There are home made plaques on a lot of them that
    arent accusory at all.....just asking people to be aware.
    More sad than angry.
    Nothing is going to slow a car down though. Thats
    ridiculously wishful thinking.
    Last edited by -=(8)=-; 02-16-07 at 04:08 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    Well staph, how many cyclists death do you have in Parkland MD? So many that there are newspaper, television or radio articles about these things?
    First...
    My name isn't staph and I am not from Parkland, Md, but this (Parkville) is a suburb of a major city (Baltimore), so I guess we have our share of bicycling related deaths. I am not sure how that is particularly relevent though

    Since "The ghost bikes are placed exclusively on public property, in the manner of a parked bicycle so that they do not interfere with pedestrian traffic, and only with the consent of the family of the deceased, where applicable." I retract my criticism in those regards.

    I still wonder whether the ghost bikes might not have a negative effect with regards to advocacy of cycling. I guess that is up to whoever is behind the ghost bikes to worry about (or not).

    My perspective on the issue of road side memorials is based on what I have seen locally and while traveling. This experience has been limited to two types.
    1. Identical white crosses along the highways in some jurisdictions.
    2. "Improptu memorials" on the road sides.

    Around here the second type are actually somewhat of a problem. They tend to take several different forms, but the most common is a pile of flower arrangements, crosses, wreaths, teddy bears, and other stuff to be placed at the scene of a fatal accident. These are placed with no regard for whose property they are placed on and typically remain for months or years as the the flowers die and they generally deteriorate to a pile of rubbish that never gets cleaned up unless the landowner or some governing body intervenes.

    In one case here, a very drunk driver doing 90+ mph in a 30 mph zone killed himself by hitting a utility pole. It happened to be in front of a small dance studio that gave dance lessons to children. His friends started attaching stuff to the utility pole. This stuff included signs, flowers, crosses and other things. The quantity was sufficient that it created a bad blind spot for people trying to get out of the lot for the dance studio. Customers complained and the studio lost business. The owner started removing the stuff, but the friends of the deceased kept replacing it and began calling with death threats to the owner of the dance studio.

    I mistakenly equated the ghost bikes with the "impromptu memorials" I have seen here. That apparently was based on a bad assumption on my part. I apologise if I offended anyone.

  20. #20
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    ^^ you sound like the kind of person who goes around cleaning up public art (e.g. grafitti) in your spare time...


  21. #21
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    No staephj1 (whose name totally screws my usual 60wpm) is right, sometimes the impromptu offerings do take up an inordinate amount of space. The ghost bikes aren't particularly permanent & they often eventually removed by cities when they've been picked clean & vandalized. A pile of flowers, candles, handwritten notes and other offerings soon turn to trash out of doors & have to be cleaned up eventually. That someone who left something behind would get upset at it's removal only really says that they've mistaken just what should be sacred about that place to them. People do strange things when it comes to grief & loss though, so as much slack as is practical is the best that can be done.

  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    ^^ you sound like the kind of person who goes around cleaning up public art (e.g. grafitti) in your spare time...

    You've got me pegged

    Actually I don't but have considered it. Some of the grafitti I have seen does qualify as art, around here most of the artists are more akin to a dog p*ssing on everything it walks by though
    Last edited by staehpj1; 02-16-07 at 05:50 PM.

  23. #23
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    I really think it's about community standards. In the community where Randya and I live, our community generally supports ghost bikes, or at least tolerates them. Our city government seems to tolerate them so long as the memorial is periodically maintained. I am sure in other communities, that is not the case.

    I've also never though of ghost bikes as being accusatory so much as a memorial and recognition that a human being died in that place where the bike is located. Perhaps that is another example of different community standards, or maybe it's just a reflection of the cyclists I know and socialize with.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
    Around here there is nothing, nothing at all.
    If someone were to chain a white bike up where a cyclist had *fallen* by the next morning it will have been stolen and three days later will be at the recyclers.
    That's a sad fact of life for these parts.
    Not always, there was one at Keele and Finch in Toronto, from last Spring, last time I was past there (December), it was still there, and this isn't the best part of the city, not the worst part, that's about 10 blocks away. Bike deaths are still big news (at least locally), the "ghost" bike is then a reminder, to all, that something happened there.

  25. #25
    Rock the Lock
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    Trus that, The memorials are not for the cars. To much is focused on them. The white bike is a sign to the bicyclists to be carful and wtch their head. It also marks a community of cyclists intentions to remember the fallen of their local community.

    All the private property nerds out their can kiss my behind. If my mother died infrontt of your "private buisness", i would set down a rose without your permission. Most memorials are on the road or intersection.

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