Britain is addicted to cellotaphs: those ad hoc dead-flower memorials taped to lamp posts near where a cyclist or pedestrian has been killed. However, hip cyclists (no strangers to sudden death or injury) have a more chilling way to remember their dead.
A ghost bike is an old bike, painted white and locked near the crash site with a small plaque. Activists make them for strangers, whose families are often touched by the gesture. The first ghost bikes appeared in St Louis, Missouri, in 2003, but they have since been spotted in 30 cities, from Brighton to São Paolo . The campaign website - GhostBikes.org - collects pictures of the memorials, with short tributes to the dead cyclists.
It’s all part of a global campaign for safer cycling, and an attempt to remind drivers and cyclists to be more careful. As the organisers say, “We want to stop having to do this.”
And, where there's a touching grass-roots campaign, there's a marketing goon waiting to cash in. In February 2008, mid-range designer label DKNY stole the Ghost Bikes idea , painted 75 bikes orange and chained them up around New York. Cycling blogs were furious, and the marketing goons were delighted - they've rolled out the tacky campaign out worldwide (at least there's one chained to a bench in Oxford Street, London).
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