Annie Byrne wrote us from Seattle and asked if we could install a bike for her sister Liz Byrne who was killed on Sept. 23, 2005.
Here is a just a little of what Annie shared with us about her sister:
As for Lizzie, she was the ninth of 13 kids in our family (ya, I know, crazy right? Irish Catholic ; ) ). Anyway, Liz was an artist from the very beginning, and it was a huge deal when she got accepted to Cooper Union and moved from St. Louis to NYC in the late 1970’s.
After college, Liz worked professionally as a freelance designer (advertising and packaging design), but she did that just to pay the rent. Her true passion was painting and photography, and she continued to paint until her death last month. Liz was by far the most left-leaning in a pretty liberal family. Man did she ever hate George Bush. Not that that’s so uncommon of course. ; ) She moved to Greenpoint in the late 80’s and lived there ever since. Liz was also a serious cyclist, never owned a car. In fact, she was a bicycle messenger in the city during her years at Cooper Union. I’d say in the past couple of years she was riding something like 40 - 50 miles a week. To your point about the politics of this, I’m sure my sister would agree wholeheartedly in the cause of making our cities safer for people who choose alternative means of transportation. For her, cycling had a lot to do with her concern over the US’s dependance on and politically abhorrent behavior with oil producing countries. (She emailed me this summer about a bumper sticker that said “What’s our oil doing under their sand?” That makes me laugh even now.) Anyway, though I never talked with her about the Ghost Bike installations, I just know she would have loved the intent, and such a vivid form of social protest.
In 2012 Mark Byrne, Liz's nephew wrote a piece in the New York Times about her ghost bike called Around the Corner of Loss
Liz’s death was all the more tragic as it was preventable — as are almost all bicycling deaths. The driver was actually cited in her death and an investigation is ongoing as to whether there was negligence on the part of Budget Car Rental who had several vehicles parked at and around the intersection which may have obstructed the driver’s view. On the third anniversary of Liz's passing away came and went, but it did not go unnoticed. Molly S. and a friend took the responsibility to be sponsors of the memorial. They gave it a fresh coat of paint and decorated it with roses and other flowers to respect her on this important day. The above photos were taken by her on the third anniversary. Rest in peace, Liz.