Monday, October 6, 2014

Ghost Bikes


On a trip back home to visit my parents I was driving down a very familiar highway about to take my exit when I noticed to my right a white painted bicycle up on a chain link fence. My heart sunk a little when I made the connection to what had happened there. My mother had called me a few months earlier to tell me about a tragedy that occurred in our community. I am sure we have all seen a roadside memorial placed to commemorate a site where a person died suddenly and unexpectedly, but this one was different than anything I had seen before. This white painted bicycle represented the death of a cyclist who had been hit by an SUV that lost control while making a lane change, went off the road, up a grassy embankment and through a chain link fence before flipping over onto a group of riders.

I later learned that what I saw was a ghost bike; a bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed (usually by a motor vehicle) which also acts as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road. The first recorded ghost bike was in St. Louis Missouri, in 2003. After witnessing a motorist strike a bicyclist, Patrick Van Der Tuin placed a white-painted bicycle on the spot with a hand-painted note, "Cyclist Struck Here." It became a powerful reminder to the community about safety, and has become a way to commemorate the one lost.

CRAIG MURPHEY (left)Ten Eyck Street and Union Avenue, Williamsburg.Early in the morning of October 18, 2007, Murphey was biking home from escorting his date to her South Williamsburg apartment. According to police reports, Murphey attempted to outrun a gas truck turning left on Ten Eyck Street. His pelvis shattered on impact, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. In his honor, over 40 friends have since received tattoos that read BE BETTER.
FRANK C. SIMPSONLinden Boulevard near 175th Street, St. Albans.Simpson, a janitor returning from the evening shift at a Con Edison facility, was hit by a Dodge Stratus on November 9, 2006.

ELIJAH ARMAND WRANCHER (left)Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens.On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.
DAVID SMITHSixth Avenue and 36th Street.On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

ANDRE F. ANDERSON (left)Shore Front Parkway and Beach 77th Street, Far Rockaway.Fourteen-year-old Anderson was struck by a Lincoln Navigator while riding home from the Rockaway Skate Park on September 24, 2005. He died of massive head trauma. Anderson had recently begun ninth grade at East New York Transit Tech.
LUIS RAMOSFlushing Avenue and Beaver Street, Bushwick.On June 22, 2007, 18-year-old Ramos was biking to work at George’s Spanish and American Restaurant. He was knocked off his bike by a car door that opened in front of him, then was hit by an oncoming school bus.

LIZ BYRNE (left)McGuinness Boulevard and Kent Street, Greenpoint.Byrne, a painter and graphic designer, was struck by a truck while cycling home on September 23, 2005.
MARK GRICHEVSKYBay Parkway and West 10th Street, Bensonhurst.On May 29, 2007, 18-year-old Grichevsky, an intern at Recycle-a-Bicycle, was struck by an off-duty postal worker while riding a sports bike he had built himself.

DONNA GOODSON (left)Rockaway Parkway and Avenue D, Canarsie.On June 5, 2006, Goodson was hit by a dump truck taking a right turn.
“EVE”65th Street Transverse, Central Park.According to the New York City Street Memorial Project, on December 13, 2006, an anonymous woman was struck by a car’s side-view mirror and thrown over her handlebars onto the pavement

JAMEL LEWIS (left)West 145th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.Lewis, a 21-year-old security guard, was hit on November 30, 2006, by a private sanitation truck.
FRANCO SCORCIAWest 40th Street and Broadway.On December 6, 2007, 72-year-old Scorcia was returning home from Central Park when he was hit by a charter bus making a right turn.

KEITH POWELL (left)Avenue L and East 92nd Street, Canarsie.On August 20, 2006, Powell was on his way to visit a brother when he was struck by a drag-racing car. Witnesses said the driver ditched the stolen car and fled.
JIAN-LAN ZHANGAllen and Hester Streets.Zhang, a 55-year-old Chinatown resident, was struck and killed by a delivery truck on April 16, 2008.

ALVARO FRANCISCO OLSEN (left)West 36th Street and Broadway.On April 16, 2008, Olsen, an El Salvadoran immigrant living in Jackson Heights, was killed by a DHL truck.
FLACOEast 153rd Street and Melrose Avenue, the Bronx.On May 18, 2007, a thief known as Flaco stole a fourteen-karat-gold cross from a jewelry store on Elton Avenue. He was struck by a city bus as he fled. The necklace was never recovered.

UNKNOWN (left)Utica Avenue and Fulton Street, Bed-Stuy.On October 18, 2007, an unidentified 25-year-old was killed by a speeding van. The driver pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
ANDREW ROSS MORGANHouston and Elizabeth Streets.On June 22, 2005, Morgan was biking to Blue Ribbon Bakery Market, where he worked as a manager, when he was pinned under the axle of a furniture delivery truck.

JEROME ALLEN (left)Hylan Boulevard and Lipsett Avenue, Staten Island.On April 26, 2005, during a daily sunset ride near his home, Allen was struck from behind by a Lexus SUV. He was a member of the Staten Island Bicycle Association.
ERIC NGWest Side Highway and Clarkson Street.On December 1, 2006, Ng was struck by a BMW on the Hudson River Park bikeway. According to police, the driver reached 60 mph.

CARL HENRY NACHT (left)West Side Highway and 38th Street.After dinner on June 22, 2006, Nacht, a doctor who often cycled to make house calls to his elderly patients, was hit by an NYPD tow truck crossing the Hudson River Park bikeway.
SHAMAR PORTERLinden Boulevard near Williams Avenue, East New York.On August 5, 2006, Porter’s Little League team won its playoff game. He was struck by a minivan after leaving the field.

REGINALD CHAN (left)Third Avenue and 17th Street.On September 15, 2006, Chan was hit by a flatbed tow truck while making a delivery of Chinese food.
BRANDIE BAILEYHouston and Essex Streets.On May 8, 2005, Bailey was struck by a private sanitation truck while on her way home to Williamsburg after waitressing at the West Village restaurant Red Bamboo. Bailey was a regular at CBGB, where a memorial was held in her honor.

JOSE MORA (left)North Conduit and McKinley Avenues, Cypress Hills.On September 4, 2006, 11-year-old Mora was on his way to the barber for a back-to-school haircut; that week, he was to start the sixth grade at nearby Junior High School 302. He was struck by a Honda while walking his bike across an intersection.
JONATHAN NEESESouth 4th Street and Roebling Street, Williamsburg.On August 12, 2006, Neese, a bike messenger known as “Bronx Jon,” was struck by a livery cab while cycling from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

SAM KHALED HINDY (left)Base of the Manhattan Bridge.On November 16, 2007, Hindy was run over after mistakenly entering a Manhattan Bridge lane reserved for cars.
HABIAN RODRIGUEZMain Street and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing.On September 1, 2007, Rodriguez collided with a city bus and died 30 minutes later.

ELIZABETH PADILLA (left)Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope.Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.
JUAN LUIS SOLISEast Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx.Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

JEFFREY MOORE (left)Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy.According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).
DEREK LAKEHouston Street and La Guardia Place.On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.
ANTHONY DELGADO (left)Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick.Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.
CAROLINA HERNANDEZ57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst.On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.


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