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Lizi Rahman, mom of Asif Rahman, who was
struck and killed on his bike, visits his memorial.
The city says it's time to give up the ghost.
painted white and chained to street signs, light posts and fences as
tributes to New Yorkers killed by cars, could soon be cut from their
hallowed spots under a new city plan.
The Sanitation Department
has proposed removing the poignant memorials - and other abandoned bikes
they call an "eyesore."
The families of the victims are outraged
and heartbroken, including the mom of a 22-year-old man crushed to death
by a truck in 2008.
"I go there because that's where
he breathed last. When I go there, people see me cleaning the ghost
bike. They stop and talk to me. They feel close to the family."
find him there. They can't take it away from me," she said.
"ghost bike" is one of 67 that have been put up around the city as part
of the Street Memorial Project to honor the 108 known cycling
fatalities since 2005.
Rahman visited her son's bike early last
night, on what would have been his 25th birthday. "I can see him riding
his bike," she said. "I come here quite often. I want to continue coming
Sanitation's bike-removal plan, which is also targeted at
abandoned and junked bikes, was prompted by a "handful" of complaints by
neighbors, said Michael Bellew,
head of the agency's cleaning unit.
The public will have an
opportunity to weigh in on the proposed rules during a July 20 public
hearing from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at 125 Worth St., room 819. If they
are passed, workers will start wrapping warning stickers around bikes
The rules would apply to owners of ordinary derelict
bikes, those with missing parts including pedals and handlebars, and
those that appear to be crushed and those with flat or missing tires.
bikes would have only five days to be removed. The ghost bikes would
have 30 days to be taken down.
"These people are remembered, and
then the city is coming in and saying, you can remember them only for 30
days," said Noah Budnick,
senior policy adviser for Transportation Alternatives.
not much we can do about it but it's a shame a memorial like this can't
stand," said Hindy.
Currently, there are no rules for busted
bikes that are left chained to fences and the like. Bellew said the
30-day grace period was done as a "courtesy" to friends and families of
the fallen bikers.