Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Ghost bikes

click photo to enlarge
A ghost bike is a white painted bicycle, often changed to a fence, post or some other immovable object, sometimes without tyres and/or pedals to deter thieves. One of its purposes is to remind all who pass by, particularly motorists, that a cyclists died at the location, and that the road is a facility that motorised traffic shares with cyclists. A second, and no less important reason for a ghost bike is to serve as a memorial to the dead cyclist.

I periodically come across ghost bikes when I travel around the country. They are more usual in cities than elsewhere, and they are often decorated with floral and other tributes to the deceased. I came across the example in today's photograph in Deptford Church Street in London. A quick web search revealed that it is a tribute to seventeen year old Olatunji Adeyanju. He was hit by a car driven by a motorist who drove off after the collision, and was subsequently traced by the police, prosecuted and jailed.

The ghost bike initiative is a development that one wishes wasn't necessary. It shouldn't be beyond motorists and cyclists to co-exist on the roads, but too often they are characterised as enemies rather than fellow travellers. This is nonsense, of course, because many people are both cyclists and motorists. It is often argued by anti-cyclist motorists that segregated routes are required for cyclists, but whilst these are helpful and necessary they can never be the whole answer in a city with a tightly packed grid of roads. A little more goodwill will solve what a lot of concrete and tarmac never can.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 30.5mm (82mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 160
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On