#79 Ghost Bikes

You see them all the time. As a fellow human, it saddens me that someone lost their life. Busy streets, 4-way stop signs and sharp turns are marked with this memorial for motorists to slow down and be aware of the danger they can cause. For those of you who don’t know what a ghost bike is, let me explain.

Ghost bikes are these bicycles that are painted white and locked near an intersection where a cyclist died. They’re supposed to serve as a reminder to cars to slow down and look for bikes. However, it’s pretty ineffective seeing as 101% of bikers don’t actually brake for intersections. Actually, people who don’t ride bikes, ride their bikes through intersections without breaking. Some purist have even disabled their braking system in order to achieve a more manageable gear ratio.

Nooow, serious cyclists don’t use helmets because it makes them look dorky. Instead, they’ll use these little cycling caps that offer twice as much protection, while looking only three times dorkier than a traditional helmet. Have you ever picked up a chick on your bike? Ladies, do you ever think people pay attention to what helmet you are wearing whilst leaning on your cruiser?

If I ever die on my bike, please promise to complete a thorough investigation to determine whether or not the accident was my fault. And if it was my fault please don’t lock my bike to a stop sign. Because if you find I cruised through an intersection without a helmet, I don’t want dudes in short pants/little hats having a circle jerk on account of my own foolishness. But then again, I’ll be dead.

Don’t be stupid. Wear Protection. http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikemore/safely.cfm

12 thoughts on “#79 Ghost Bikes

  1. As a pedestrian, I’ve been struck twice by cyclists blowing through stop signs both on the street and stop signs for trails. I have close calls *daily* where cyclists blow through red lights or stop signs while I’m driving. I don’t even touch my brakes anymore. If you want to challenge a 2000 lb vehicle, so be it. I’m in the right as I don’t have a stop sign.

  2. Many serious bicycle accidents happen on ‘quiet’ residential streets, in parking lots and on bike paths. A large number (90%) of bicycle accidents don’t even involve automobiles. Accidents also aren’t a scourge of just beginner riders, or just experienced riders, or just young riders, or just older riders. Every bicyclist is wise to wear a helmet, regardless of age, and whether riding across the street or across the continent.

  3. Ehime Prefecture, known for its scenic bike paths and wide use of bicycles for commuting, is hoping to change that by enacting a law instructing cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet, or else.

  4. This isn’t a Portland thing, either. I see them in just about every big city, even Tulsa, Oklahoma. I think Portland gets way more of them, though, because as a region, the northwest sucks at driving. And this isn’t just about motorists, how law abiding and safe cyclists are is a reflection of how law abiding and safe motorists are in any population. Felt like I was taking my life in my own hands every time I drove around in Portland all my life until this native moved away, thanks to the serious propensity for everyone to consider traffic controls, including the basics like stop signs, red lights, and even one-way restrictions and driving on the right side of the road totally optional to the task…

  5. I see them around,Understand the meaning,But unaware of the circumstances behind the death.So I guess I’m a bit neutral on the subject.Some good points have been made,But it’s really one of those things where people are so different about how other people should act,That It kinda nullifies the whole Issue.

  6. I loved the piece about PDX cyclist community. I recently had a physical confrontation with one of Portlands “psycholists” where he immediately got his lock out and tried to bash my head in. Couple things to qualify myself; life long cyclist (was making long distance and rec rides when most of the cute Pearl District art students were still cramping in their diapers, life long environmentalist, worked in groups in Bay area to get more access to cyclists on commuter trains, etc etc so in otherwords I’ve always supported cyclists rights…but never again, at least not in the, oh so alternative, city of Pprtland. I was traveling down narrow 13th in the Pearl going about 3 mph when I became aware of a velodrome bike trying to squeeze between me and the parked cars (do these morons EVER follow driving rules in Portland?). Then I became awRe of him yelling and shouting aand swearing at me things that sounded right out of theCritical Mass party slogans. He was along side of me and, apparently, without checking assumed I was texting as I drove because my cell phone was in my hand but not being used. After I’d had enough I stopped my car and got out to ask what the f*UFO his problem was. In an instant he’d thrown down his bike and swung his lock at me. I ducked but he grazed my head. I fell back onto the seat and kicked the door into him as hRd as I could, at this point some women near by (thank you if you read this) told him to get stop as I didn’t have a weapon. if he’d connected I may not be here telling this story. Hitting him with the door so hard took the wind out of his sails and left screaming soothing about my having a 2000 pd. weapon, uh-huh. This moron had the Portland alt. Uniform on; geek black glasses, narrow black jeans, oversized construction guy type baseball hat and of course his iPod which he’d been listening to. I won’t support cyclists rights in PDX ever again and even might work against them throughmy union. I can do this because I work at Amtrak and we have supported bikes on our trains for yrs. As far as the earbuds go; I’ve run down and killed 6 people on the rails the last twenty years, the most tragic was a young womanwearing earbuds walking between the rails. One of my fellow engineers has kill 2 cyclist in the last ten years. Every engineer that works in and out ofPortland has had many, if not dozensof closecalls with cyclist and frankly I don’t care how many of them get run over by trains, they ride around crossing gates without even looking, they try to beat trains going 80 mph to crossings and many other stupid actions. I bike to work when my work schedule allows and I know many cyclist are great peoplebut Portland has a large minority of arrogant self centered cyclists that deserve an a$$ kicking.
    I know where this guy goes to school in the Pearl and I know he’s paintedhis velo bike with the large whitewalls red instead of the white it used to be and I or maybe a couple of my teamster friends have a present for him, mines under my seat and it won’t be such a one way fight next time. Keep Portland weird? No you can just keep this little hole of a city period.

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more. Same goes for drunk pedestrians. I walk plenty and am very aware of traffic. Just being in a car does not make you responsible for everyone who tries to “share” the road with you, and I don’t love having to be reminded of every roadside death.

    Bike riders should definitely wear protection and they should keep in mind that they will always be able to see cars better than cars can see them. Every death is sad but dying on a bike is no sadder or more deserving of a memorial than dying in your car.

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