Ghost bikes remain icons to the ultimate vulnerability of riders

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Ghost bike at the location where a cyclist was killed

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Bikes painted white, “ghost” bikes, are often left on the roadside where a cyclist has been killed. It has become an international remembrance.

In cities, along roadsides all over the world, are white bikes – ghost bikes. They are locked to polls, posts and fences and serve as reminders of a cyclist, of cyclists, killed at that point. The tragedy is that these are found all over the world, and that most people are well aware of the icon and its intent.

Cycling communities use the white bike to raise awareness. It is not simply a remembrance but also a call for awareness to the motorised vehicles that are predominant on the roads.

I seem most aware of the white bike symbol and protests because of the London, UK, cycling advocates. More cyclists are on the road, yet all too many people excuse appalling behaviour from drivers by pointing out they vast majority of drivers are not so bad. It is as if the reckless behaviour of some has to be got riven in the grand perspective of all. It is an excuse for authorities to do little more.

Cyclists killed on the road on London numbered 13 on 2014. In 2012 and 2013, 13 cyclists were killed in each year.

The ghost bikes started in North America in 2003 and have spread around the world. At least 43 countries worldwide use the symbol.

In the UK, a report on accidents and deaths stated a cyclist riding a journey of just one mile was 15 times more likely to have a fatal accident compared to a car driver.

Cyclists are far more vulnerable, yet drivers involved in deaths of cyclists are far less likely to be prosecuted. In one 2014 UK examination of death of cyclists, of 40 cyclists killed, only four drivers were jailed.

Conditions in the heart of London have reached new heights ands, in order to draw attention to the vulnerability of cyclists, cycling advocacy groups have been organising “die-ins” with thousands of cyclists converging on danger point intersections to protest recent deaths.

Bank protest: Cyclists stage ‘die-in’ after death of Ying Tao at notorious City junction link here…

Matters are no better across the ocean in the United States. A 2014 article reported a 16% increase in cycling fatalities nationwide. Worryingly, the death numbers have increased in recent years, rising from 621 killed in 2010 to 722 in 2013.

Major cycling hubs seem all the worse. New York reported a near doubling un deaths of cyclists IN ONE YEAR with 17 cyclists killed.

 

Links: How Safe Is Cycling? 2014, link here….

40 cyclists killed, 10 drivers jailed. 2014 Link here…

Cycling Accidents Facts and Figures (2014) Link here…

Rise in USA bicycle fatalities link here….

Cycling Deaths Have Doubled Over the Last Year in NYC link here….

Bicycle Traffic Deaths Soar: California Leads the Nation link here…

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