Chicago Ghost Bikes

 

 

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 • http://www.rideofsilence.org/chicago/

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 and current.

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 speeding automobile.

Chicago Tribune Story (archive)

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Ghost Bike to Memorialize Slain Cyclist installed on September 11, 2008
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.

Click 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 for
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 and
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 was
killed there. You can see the ghost bike for Clinton in the photo in
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 safety
is in the form of a question, something like "Who owns the road?". It
is this conversation of uncertainty that leaves cyclists exposed and at
the mercy of insensitive drivers. For cyclists to be safe, the
conversation must be transformed definitively into a statement of fact,
that the road is owned by "whoever is the most vulnerable". Yielding to
the most vulnerable will transform the mine-field of urban streets into
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 you
are being the next time you are driving and see a cyclist will make the
difference for the planet. No cyclist deserves Clinton's fate.


Three years ago, I received a call from a woman who was calling me from
my (then) 13 year old daughter's cell phone. The woman had pulled out
of an alley in her mini-van without stopping and my daughter, riding on
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 the
ordeal, and thankfully, after an examination at the hospital, it was
determined that her injuries were not serious. But it could have been
much worse.


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 of
Chicago--or anywhere else--ever.


Robert Orenstein

 

 

1400 W. Division

2600 W. North

4600 W. Madison

2800 N. Pulaski

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 sidewalk!

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 still invisible.

1000 N. Western

 

Some of the Coverage of Isai's January 2006 installation:

La Raza Neswpaper Coverage

NBC5 Lead Story (.mp4 file)

Chicago Journal Coverage

Isai's Memorial Ride:

Don Sorsa's photo tribute

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Click to join Chicago Ghost Bikes Action List

773/710-4143 • ghostbikes@bikechicago.info
Last updated 27. April 2010