I’ve locked up far too many ghost bikes, but having the chance to meet the families and friends of the victims has really brought to light just how serious these road issues are and how fragile life is. It makes it more than just a name in the paper and a bitter feeling of “it could have been me”. You hear about how he was trying to better his health to be there for his daughter, how he was always trying to get his friends on bikes, and why he had his nickname.
Originally the idea behind ghost bikes was to raise awareness about the deaths and injuries on our roads, but in Pittsburgh these white bikes have become a gesture of the bike community to the families. They say we are here and we won’t forget about your son, daughter, father, mother, or best friend. They share stories about the loved one they lost and we all get to have an open conversation about just what it’s like on the road–everyone leaves with eyes open just a little bit more.
Once the life has been taken, there isn’t much we can do to fix it, but we can unity the community and work towards ensuring that less of these have to go up.
Be safe out there.