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Unfortunately for the Louisville bike community, we were past due for Ghostbike memorials so the first of many to come have been deployed.

This ride will be a casually paced somber memorial coinciding with the Ghost Bike Memorial Ride taking place in New York. The route will pass by the below locations for an approximate 11 mile loop through the city. The list in no way reflects the actual number of cyclists and pedestrians injured and killed in Louisville every year. Unfortunately we can't be everywhere and the highlands and downtown areas are likely to get the best turnout for riders and provide some of the safer riding conditions in the city as well as containing a higher concentration of incidents involving motor vehicles with bicyclists or pedestrians.

While riding please keep in mind to stay in the group as there is safety in numbers and we will be moving through intersections with clearance in mind, not traffic signals. As always, stay alert

Meet up: National City Bank on Bardstown Road at Douglas Blvd

Ride approx: 11am

Bicyclist Killed (Lance Livesay)
1529 Bardstown Road

Bicyclist Injured (Mike Purvis)
Bardstown Road at Eastern Parkway

Bicyclist Killed (Karola Steed)
Lexington Avenue at Grinstead Drive

Bicyclist Killed (George "Chips" Cronen)
Clark Memorial Bridge

Bicyclist Injured (hit and run)
East Broadway

Bicyclist Killed (Jen Futrell)
1044 Bardstown Road

If anyone knows of additional accident sites involving cyclists or pedestrians please contact jimmy@fuckgas.org so they can be added to the route.

October 5, 2008
Cyclist hit on Bardstown Road dies
Family stresses need to safely share roads

By Jessie Halladay • jhalladay@courier-journal.com

Jen Futrell got to most places by riding her bicycle.

On Tuesday, the 29-year-old Louisvillian was biking on Bardstown Road when she was struck by a car, sending her to the hospital in critical condition.

Jennifer Ellen Futrell died yesterday at University Hospital, where her family had spent the last few days by her side.

"She's been this big adventurer all her life, and she dies young on Bardstown Road," said her mother, Barbara Hedspeth.

Louisville Metro Police are still investigating the incident, which occurred shortly before 4 p.m. just south of Highland Avenue.

Police are trying to determine the cause and any contributing factors to the incident before presenting their findings to the commonwealth's attorney's office, said Lt. Doug Sweeney, head of the traffic unit.

Futrell was southbound on Bardstown Road when she was struck by a vehicle traveling in the same direction, he said. He said there was no indication of excessive speed by the driver, whose name has not been released.

Futrell was not wearing a helmet, though her mother said her injuries were so severe that it may not have saved her.

Hedspeth said her daughter rode her bike as part of her efforts to be environmentally conscious. She also had a truck powered by vegetable oil.

While Hedspeth said it appears that the incident appears to be a tragic accident, she added it is essential that something be done to make the streets safer for cyclists.

"People have a right to use a public street without being run down," she said. "We've got to do something different. We've got to protect the people on bicycles."

Futrell worked as a cook at Baxter Station restaurant. She participated in several bike rides to raise awareness about issues, her mother said, and she recently traveled to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis to cook for cyclists and other protesters.

Besides being a bicyclist and chef, Futrell was an avid musician and writer.

Her death was delayed because she wanted to donate her organs. Doctors told her family that about 100 body parts could be used to help others, Hedspeth said.

That gave them some comfort, she said.

"There's another family standing around a bed like we are and this is going to create their life," Hedspeth said. "It's going to be a different story for them."

Futrell's organs were donated through the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates program.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, donations may be made to Seeds of Peace or Safe Streets Louisville.

Reporter Jessie Halladay can be reached at (502) 582-4081.

Thursday, October 2, 2008
Yet another Ghost Bike added to Louisville's roster in honor of Jen Futrell. She was rear ended by an inattentive driver along Bardstown Road between Highland Ave and Grinstead Drive around 3:40 p.m. on September 30, 2008.
Check the ghost bikes page for details - as of this writing (10/08/08) the city has not removed the memorial.

May 27, 2008

Ghost Bikes appear, from LEO Weekly

The Clark Memorial Bridge — Second Street Bridge to Louisvillians — is also a thoroughfare for many cyclists in the area who bike to work and ride for exercise. But one white bicycle on the bridge remains unmanned and immobile. This “ghost bike” is a memorial for George “Chips” Cronen, who was killed last summer while cycling across the bridge.

The bicycle is stark white, and stands out against the dark steel girder to which it is chained. A wooden sign attached with black hand-painted words simply reads, “Bicyclist George ‘Chips’ Cronen was struck & killed near this site 07.03.07,” and at the bottom in white, “ghostbikes.org.”

Cronen’s ghost bike is not the only one of its kind in Louisville; a memorial was also placed at the intersection of Grinstead Drive and Lexington Road in honor of Karola Stede, who was killed on her bike there in 2003. But less than 24 hours after it was placed, that bike vanished.

According to cycling advocate Jackie Green of Bike Couriers Bike Shop, “removing the ghost bikes is like vandalizing a grave.”

Many believe the city removed the memorial, but according to Kerri Richardson, a spokesperson for Mayor Abramson, the bike was simply moved to another location because it was deemed a traffic hazard.

“People were slowing down while driving and reading the sign,” said Richardson, who explained that Sheriff John Aubrey had the bike moved shortly after it was placed. Richardson said that as long as roadside memorials don’t inhibit traffic flow in any way, the city would not move or remove them. These memorials do not violate any city codes, and no permit is needed to place them.

Ghost bikes were first created in St. Louis in 2003, and are found in over 35 cities worldwide. A grassroots effort, ghostbikes.org gives a complete “how-to” list for building one, and the process typically costs less than $20.

“It doesn’t matter who made (the ghost bikes),” Green said. “It’s important that they’re there.” —Jane Mattingly

May 22, 2008
Ride of Silence covered in Louisville's Courier Journal:

'Ghost bikes' raise awareness

Somber memorials found worldwide

By Emily Udell

Some 50 bicyclists last night glided silently past a ghostly white bicycle chained near the spot on the Clark Memorial Bridge where George "Chips" Cronen was killed last year.

They were taking part in the "Ride of Silence," designed to honor cyclists who have died on public roads and raise awareness that bicycles share the road with other vehicles.

"It's going to take a change in culture here to make it a safe place to ride," said George Cronen, whose father died July 3 after he was struck by a van, then hit a steel girder, while riding in the southbound lane of the bridge.

The elder Cronen, who was 57, used the bridge to commute to work and was wearing a helmet at the time of his death.

"We were all cyclists before we became drivers," his son said. "We get our licenses and we forget."

Just a month before Cronen's death, a 56-year-old Louisville man was hit and killed by an off-duty Metro Police officer on Dixie Highway. No charges were filed against Officer Shannon Harris, but Officer Phil Russell, a police spokesman, said the incident was under investigation by the department's office of public integrity and professional standards.

The Ride of Silence began in 2003 in Dallas and has since spread to cities across the globe. "Ghost Bikes," a loosely affiliated group that got its start in St. Louis in 2003, places bicycles painted stark white to commemorate cyclists killed on public streets. The white bicycles have since appeared in cities around the world.

Louisville officials have been working to make the city's roadways safer for cyclists by creating bike lanes and installing signs and markings on the bridge and streets throughout the city to caution motorists.

Some say more could be done.

"I don't feel safe riding on the road," said Melissa Eaves, 27, who took part in the 10-mile ride. "There aren't enough bike lanes."

Jered Golladay, 33, said he doesn't ride much on streets and was disappointed to find recently that some portions of the Louisville Riverwalk Trail were impassable by bicycle.

"The opening of the riverwalk was a great first step, and I hope the momentum's not lost."

Before yesterday's ride began, Cronen's voice caught on the word "father" as he read a poem posted on the Ride of Silence Web site that began: "Tonight we number many but ride as one/ In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons."

When he finished reading, the cyclists headed east down River Road, silent except for a stereo in the basket of one rider's bike that played "Amazing Grace."

Reporter Emily Udell can be reached at (502) 582-4199.