Mangled bicycles have been spread throughout Tallahassee with signs attached to them. The signs read: “Cyclist struck here.”
These “ghostcycles” have been strategically placed around Tallahassee in order to raise awareness of bicycle accidents and fatalities in areas where they have occurred.
The founders of http://www.GhostCycle.org, is a group of cyclists that rallied for safer streets for cyclists and drivers. The organization is based in Seattle.
The project was originally designed to reveal what they called “trouble locations,” areas with poor traffic conditions and dangerous intersections in Seattle.
But after people from around the country viewed the GhostCycle Web site, the organization began placing ghostcycles at all of the trouble spots that have been reported in the United States beginning Aug. 1 0, 2005.
Tallahassee residents have taken notice of the ghostcycles.
“I see one every day on my way to campus on Hartsfield Road,” said Julia Lundy, 23, a senior theater student from New Orleans. “It really draws your attention and makes you say, ‘what is that?'”
The ghostcycle on Hartsfield Road is mounted in memory of Dale Burton. Burton died a few days after a car hit him from behind while he cycled on the bike lane.
Another ghostcycle is on display on East Park Avenue.
This ghostcycle is in memory of Maxwell Veira.
Veira was killed when an sport utility vehicle driver pulled in front of him as he pedaled on his bike downhill.
A group of cyclists, named the Critical Mass riders, are responsible for the two bikes that have been set up in Tallahassee.
“The Critical Mass riders are a group of radical bicycle advocates,” said Justin Powers, 18, a freshman business administration student from Claremont, Calif.
“They have been riding in California for years, everyone rides for their own cause,” Powers said.
The Traffic Homicide Unit of the Tallahassee Police Department has formed a special program called the Stay Alive From Education program.
The program officer, Sgt. Jerry Gauding, said, “SAFE was designed to educate drivers on how to be responsible, courteous drivers.”
The two drivers responsible for Burton and Veira’s death were later issued traffic citations.
“It is unfortunate that innocent people died because of someone else’s careless driving,” said Kimberly Craft, a 22-year-old senior public relations student from Houston.
“They are able to continue their lives, while the victims will be forever missed.”
Although there are designated bicycle lanes all over Tallahassee, not every cyclist chooses to use them.
But according to http://www.GhostCycle.org, 98 percent of cyclists reported they were obeying the law when the accident occurred.
And 92 percent of cyclists reported they were wearing a helmet at the time of their incidents.
The city’s GhostCycle project is meant to make people more careful when biking around town.
These bikes are also a reminder of the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers who will never come home to their families.
Contact Ariel Martin at Ariel_Martin2001@yahoo.com