Ghost Bikes

In New York City, the battle between cars and bicyclists is a well known tale. Who owns the road? The smog-producing trucks and cars or the eco-friendly bike riders? What about those sometimes inconveniently placed bike lanes? Who has the right of way and who has the right to say that they are blocking traffic? What are the rules of the road? The questions and concerns over bike riders in metropolitan cities such as New York range far and wide. There is a fragile relationship between 2000+lb steel machines and  30lb bikes, but the fact remains that numerous cyclists are killed by cars every year.

In many cities across the US, people have taken to creating “Ghost Bikes” in honor of those killed in biking accidents. The bikes are spray painted white and chained close to or on the spot of the bicyclists accident. Usually there is some sort of marking, like a paper or plaque, stating who the Ghost Bike is for and why. According to, there are 67 Ghost Bikes in NYC. This summer there was a push from the Sanitation Department for the removal of the Ghost Bikes. The memorial erectors would have 30 days to remove the bikes from their locations. Read more about it in this Daily News Article.

Last night I stumbled upon my first recognizable Ghost Bike by the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown. The bike is dedicated to bicyclist Sam Hindy who died in 2007. He was 27 years old. It was an eerie vision: a perfectly white bike with contorted wheels bent around a post. A yellow sheet of typed paper sat in a plastic sheath explaining the reason for this Ghost Bike. The message was clear: Be aware of the bike riders. Tragedy does happen and it’s closer then you think. I snapped some photos and, listening to the din of the Bridge traffic, knowing that this bike serves as a great reminder for all New Yorkers to slow down in all aspects of their lives.


About Emily Adaire

Professional book reader, child chaser, animal lover and cookie taster.
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