C h i c
a g o G h o s t B i k e s
Join the Chicago Ride of Silence • May 19 2010 •
Note: This site is not abandoned, but somewhat
on hold awaiting migration to a content management system--
all contact info and upcoming events are correct
Ghost Bike Installed for Mandy Annis
On the evening of April 30 2009, friends and loved ones of
Mandy Annis gathered to dedicate a ghost bike for her on the
one-year aniversary of her death at Armitage and Kedzie by
Tribune Story (archive)
Ghost Bike to Memorialize Slain Cyclist
installed on September 11,
Family, friends and community members united to install a ghost
bike to memorialize the death of Logan Square resident Blanca
Ocasio on the one-year anniversary of her tragic September 2007
death. The installation took place at the intersection of Armitage
Ave. and Kedzie Boulevard on Chicago’s northwest side.
A well-arttended rally which included statements by family of
Blanca and representatives of Logan
Square Walks and the
Chicagoland Bicycle Federation began at 7:30 P.M. at Palmer
Square and culminated in a candlelight procession to the installation
of the ghost bike two blocks to the south.
Here to see Steven Lane's moving
video of the event.
In Memorium • Clinton Miceli • 1985-2008
Rarely am I at a loss for words.
The last 48 hours has stopped me from expressing my feelings. I can't
begin to imagine what it must be like for Kim and her family, and
Clinton's friends, as they come to terms with his senseless death.
In the article in the Tribune (see link below), Kim is quoted as saying
she wants to use Clinton's death to raise awareness about cyclists'
safety. I support her in that effort, and I am writing to you as a
first step in that process.
I want to make you aware of one effort that
has been underway in Chicago and other cities for the last few years.
Whenever there is a fatal bike accident, a bicycle is painted white
placed as a monument on the site. The bike is referred to as a ghost
bike. It serves as a reminder to passing motorists that a cyclist
killed there. You can see the ghost bike for Clinton in the photo
the Tribune article. You can google ghost bike and see other memorials
around the country. You will be touched by what you see.
Right now, the conversation that occurs in the realm of bicycle
is in the form of a question, something like "Who owns the road?".
is this conversation of uncertainty that leaves cyclists exposed and
the mercy of insensitive drivers. For cyclists to be safe, the
conversation must be transformed definitively into a statement of
that the road is owned by "whoever is the most vulnerable".
the most vulnerable will transform the mine-field of urban streets
a safe place for cyclists and pedestrians.
I ask you to be truly conscious when you are driving. I ask that you
transform not only your own conversation about who owns the road but
take a stand to transform the conversation of those around you. Who
are being the next time you are driving and see a cyclist will make
difference for the planet. No cyclist deserves Clinton's fate.
Three years ago, I received a call from a woman who was calling me
my (then) 13 year old daughter's cell phone. The woman had pulled
of an alley in her mini-van without stopping and my daughter, riding
the sidewalk, could not stop in time. My daughter plowed into the
mini-van (which bent the bike and dented the minivan's fender), falling
forward into the minivan before hitting the ground. I raced to the
scene, and by the time I arrived, my daughter was strapped to a
stretcher and was being put into an ambulance. She was terrified by
ordeal, and thankfully, after an examination at the hospital, it was
determined that her injuries were not serious. But it could have been
Let your words make a difference. Let the people in your world know
about Clinton. When driving, yield to the most vulnerable. Take a
stand that there will never be another ghost bike built in the City
Chicago--or anywhere else--ever.
On January 5,
2006, 50-year-old Isai Medina was on his way home
from work when he was struck and killed by a
hit-and-run driver while walking his bike along the
sidewalk on Western Avenue in Chicago.
Anyone who'd ever ridden
on Chicago Critical Mass, along the lakefront bike
trail in the summer, or through the streets of the
Near West Side recognized Isai for his hand-built
custom choppers; held together with bolts, painted
in chrome, and tricked out with a dazzling array of
sirens and lights. Isai traveled from one end of
Chicago to the other on his choppers, and only on
choppers, for which he was particularly revered as
a true "Freak Biker for Life" by local freakbike
clubs the Rat Patrol and the Scallywags.
Isai's death was by no
means the first casualty of its sort - especially
on wide, heavily trafficked Western, which drivers
treat like an expressway, ignoring the presence of
pedestrians and cyclists. But it was the first time
in recent memory that someone so widely beloved
across Chicago's bike community fell prey to the
city's dangerous car traffic. The loss of Isai was
enough to bring a broad cross-section of this
community, from CCM organizers to freakbikers to
bike lobbyists, together to start a long-overdue
Ghost Bike project. It also brought together
cyclists and members of the local Latino community,
in which Isai was equally beloved.
Thus did Chicago's first
Ghost Bike come to be a ghost chopper. On the
January Critical Mass ride, the spectral white
chopper was mounted on a bike trailer and towed
through Chicago streets, ending up at the site of
Isai's death at the northeast corner of Western and
Cortez. Here the 400-rider Mass stopped for a few
minutes, blocking traffic on Western while the
Ghost Bike was installed, candles lit, and a moment
of silence observed. But it wasn't long before
police confronted the mourners. Despite our
insistences that this was a memorial service, not a
protest, and that we'd be moving on soon, four
people were arrested for blocking traffic- even
though they were standing on the
Since Isai's memorial,
sadly there has been plenty to keep Chicago Ghost
Bikes busy. There have been four more cyclists
killed by cars, for whom four Ghost Bikes have been
created and will soon be installed (learning from
our tactical mistakes, we plan to install these
individually or in small groups, then perhaps think
about mounting a Ghost Bike Ride similar to New
York's). And then there are all the past casualties
we pledged to memorialize when Chicago Ghost Bikes
started up. It's the kind of project you wish would
make itself unnecessary. Yet once we started, we
began to realize just how necessary this is in
Chicago- a city with a huge, vibrant, and diverse
bike community, whose members take our lives into
our hands every day in the streets, where we are
Some of the Coverage of Isai's January 2006 installation:
Raza Neswpaper Coverage
Story (.mp4 file)
Isai's Memorial Ride:
Sorsa's photo tribute