Ghost Bikes

Memorial on Raytown Road in Kansas City, Missouri

Have you ever seen a ghost bike memorial?

I’d heard of them. I’d seen temporary memorials spray painted on the pavement at the site of  bicyclists’ deaths.

Kansas City, Missouri

This is a different kind of memorial than I usually photograph, but when I saw it I had to stop. I pulled onto the wide shoulder where the man and his granddaughter had ridden. It was a long, straight stretch of four-lane, country road. Hard to imagine what must have happened that morning to cause the accident.

Kansas City, Missouri

Despite the obvious age of this memorial, the grief still felt raw here. Like crosses marking  car accidents, I hope that ghost bikes serve to wake people up a bit. I know when I pass them I’ll sit up a little straighter behind the wheel, scan ahead a little farther. Share the road.

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8 thoughts on “Ghost Bikes

  1. ‘Share the road’ indeed — it’s much more than a sentiment or catchy slogan. It’s great to see these memorials, and thanks for sharing. I ride 4000 miles a year and always appreciate alert, courteous drivers.

    • Wow, 4000 miles! That’s incredible. I’m more of a fair weather, errand runner on my bike, grocery store, community garden, those 5 – 10 mile trips. Burn calories instead of gasoline’s motto. More and more people are out on the road these days, walking and riding. That’s a good thing. I wish you safe travels!

  2. I have never seen one of those. I saw a small cemetery on Holiday Island the other day and thought of you – a whole housing development has been built around it and it has a civil war burial.

    • It’s kind of amazing the places you find cemeteries. I’ve thought about a blog showing some of the more unusual spots I’ve seen. We live everywhere and die everywhere. I’m just happy when they build around and not over old cemeteries.

    • Isn’t it. I googled “ghost bikes” before I wrote the blog. Hundreds of images came up from around the world. The memorial sure got my attention. It’s a good way to raise awareness.

  3. That is such a poignant memorial. I’ve seen quite a few roadside spots marked with bouquets of flowers, but actually seeing the bikes that the unfortunate victims were riding really brings the tragedy home to you.

    • It does. It’s so different than the memorials in cemeteries where there’s usually a sense of peace. Grief still felt very raw here, even after six years.

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