South Bend Tribune (Indiana)
September 24, 2009 Thursday
Ghost bikes emerge in area
KIRBY SPROULS, Tribune Staff Writer
They are called ghost bikes and two are sitting along area roads.
Hopefully, there'll be no more.
The all-white bikes serve as memorials to bicyclists killed in
accidents. They also are intended to remind motorists that the road
does not belong to them alone.
One is on Cleveland Road near Swanson Drive in Clay Township, near the
site where bicyclist Patrick Sawyer, 40, was struck by a vehicle on
July 16, 2008. He died on July 21.
The second bike
is on Ash Road near the intersection with Patricia Church Drive in far
northeast St. Joseph County. That is where bicyclist Peter Kaczor, 38,
of Edwardsburg, was killed on Aug. 28, 2008.
Kelsey, who was acquainted with both of the bicyclists, said he had seen ghost bikes in larger cities and wanted to place similar memorials here.
He ran his idea past other bicyclists.
"They supported it," he said. "And since I put them up I've gotten a lot of positive feedback. People see a ghost bike and ask around about it."
And perhaps it will make some drivers more conscious of bicycles, he said.
To prepare a ghost bike, Kelsey just takes an old bicycle, strips the parts, paints it white and locks it to a pole or sign.
Vawn Recla, president of the Michiana Bicycle Association, likes the idea, although she admitted it was new to her.
"I had to go online to research them," she said, "although my husband knew about them."
According to the Web site ghostbikes.org, the first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Mo., in 2003. Since then, they've appeared throughout the world.
Recla believes the ghost bikes serve as a "reminder to the public that, yes, there are bicyclists on the road and, yes, they have been killed.
"So please slow down and be aware of them."
That's good advice, said Kelsey's wife, Hanna, based on her own riding experiences.
"I've been yelled at on the road, cut off and nearly run over," she said. "Drivers just need to be aware."
Staff writer Kirby Sprouls: email@example.com (574) 235-6233