Some Florida residents seeing ‘ghosts’ of bike fatalities

Sometimes, drivers need a reminder to keep an eye out for pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. Now, fatal car accidents involving bicyclists are being memorialized in a unique way in Lee County and other locations in Florida.

An unidentified group of people are reportedly stripping bikes of their chains and gears and covering them with white paint. They are apparently leaving the bikes anonymously on roadsides at locations where car-bike fatalities have occurred. Attached to each bike is a large red sign that reads “bicyclist killed” along with the date of death.

Bikes have turned up on the Sanibel Causeway in Southwest Florida, U.S. 41 near Bonita Springs and at the intersection of Three Oaks and Estero Parkway near Estero, Florida.

Very few people are aware of who is behind the “ghost bikes” and no one is claiming responsibility. It is believed the group has only three or four members. Someone familiar with members of the group won’t reveal their identities, but says they are planning to place more of the bikes around the Lee County area soon.

The ghost bikes are not unique in Florida, however. The first bikes began appearing in St. Louis about eight years ago, according to the ghost bike website devoted to bicycle safety. The website likens the bikes to crosses placed on roadsides to remember car accident fatalities.

The ghost bikes are intended to remind drivers to practice extra caution when approaching bicyclists. Many say it’s effective.

Families of the deceased bicyclists are not sure who is placing the bikes, but they do believe the ghost bikes will serve as reminders to motorists to drive safely.

Source: The News-Press, “‘Ghost bikes’ mark Lee County fatalities,” Mark S. Krzos, 6 June 2011