Ghost bikes began to be installed in Kenosha, Wisconsin in September 2008. This is part of a larger statewide project of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.
From this Article
A vigil was held Tuesday night to remember all the victims recently killed in hit and run accidents in the area.
The vigil honored Nancy Sellars, Troy Kozbiel, Justin Hammons, Gordon Kleifield and Patricia Blundon, who were all killed by drivers while riding their bikes in southeast Wisconsin recently.
Friends, family and fellow cyclists lit candles at the Kenosha County Courthouse. On the steps, sat five bikes painted white. Organizers called them "ghost bikes." Each bore the name of one of the victims.
Organizers hoped the event would raise awareness of cyclists so drivers would pay more attention to them on the road.
"Just slow down. Give these people some rights if they’re on the bicycles," said Steven Blundon, husband of Patricia Blundon.
The vigil ended with a caravan to the scenes of the five fatal accidents. Jimi Sellars, whose wife Nancy Sellars was killed in the Town of Raymond, said the vigil was healing.
"At first it seemed a little eerie, but it actually proved to be a very nice, spiritual, healing thing for me," he said.
More information on the project is also in this article
Organizers of a memorial vigil at 5:30 Tuesday at the Kenosha County Courthouse hope to honor the dead and protect the living, amid a disturbing series of crashes that have killed bicyclists in southeast Wisconsin.
Since Nancy Sellars, 48, was struck and killed, allegedly by a woman driving drunk July 9, at least three other cyclists have been killed by hit-and-run drivers in Kenosha and Racine counties.
Statewide, the number of cyclist fatalities has grown to eight for the year, including the death Thursday of Gregg Bednorski in Marathon County.
At this time last year, six cyclists had been killed on state roads, and the total for the year reached 10.
Jessica Wineberg, a program manager with the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, helped organize the vigil with a mind to remember the victims and focus attention on the need to educate motorists and push law enforcement to prosecute guilty drivers.
As part of that effort, the group will meet before the vigil at the North Division Bike Shop, at N. 10th and W. Clarke St., to strip and paint so-called ghost bikes to be placed at the scenes of the recent fatal crashes.
The message Wineberg wants to send drivers is simple: Share the road and drive sober.
In an update of the cases in the area:
• Janell Gehrke, 43, of Franksville has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and three other felonies and two misdemeanors in Sellars’ death. Gehrke has a court appearance scheduled for Friday.
• Prosecutors have identified the driver suspected of killing Gordon Kleifield, 44, of Chicago in a crash on Highway C near Wilmot on Aug. 16. Barbara Lee, 41, of Spring Grove, Ill., has been charged with hit-and-run causing death and awaits a hearing on extradition to Wisconsin.
• The drivers who killed cyclists and fled in two other cases remain unidentified and at large.
Their victims were Patricia Blundon, 57, of Oak Creek, killed on County Line Road in Caledonia on Aug. 7, and Justin Hammons, 22, hit in the 66000 block of East Frontage Road, Caledonia, on Aug. 30. Police reports suggest Hammons, of South Roxana, Ill., was walking the bike on the road at the time.
The rash of hit-and-run incidents has been particularly disturbing to area cyclists.
“It’s a call for justice,” Wineberg said of the vigil. “The drivers of these vehicles should be prosecuted. They killed somebody.”