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Across U.S., where cyclists die, 'ghost bikes' rise in tribute

  • In a Friday, July 27, 2012 photo, "ghost bike" stands along U.S. 401 in Raleigh, N.C. Safety activists placed the bike as a reminder near the spot where Jordan was struck by a truck and killed on July 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)

RALEIGH, N.C. — When Timur Ender learned a fellow cyclist and father of three was struck and killed by a semi-truck along a busy North Carolina highway, he decided to place a white "ghost bike" at the scene as a memorial.

But when Ender took the old bike he'd spray-painted to the spot, he found a white 10-speed bike was already standing unchained along the side of the road.

Such memorials are showing up around the world, with one website listing about 600 of them in more than 100 U.S. cities and two-dozen countries.

The bikes are as varied as the people they memorialize. The smallest listed on the website is 2 inches long. Most are a ghostly white, but at least one is bright pink. Some are smashed with sledgehammers to signify wreckage, and in South America they like to hang them off the ground. Those memorialized by the bikes are as young as 6 — a boy killed by a car in Philadelphia.

The ghost bikes are meant to both as remembrances of the dead and reminders of the struggle to share the road. Perhaps nowhere is that struggle more apparent than New York City, where more than 100 have been erected. The city is also home to a group of cyclists that maintains <a href="http://www.ghostbikes.org" target="_blank">ghostbikes.org</a>, a site dedicated to cataloging the memorials and the closest thing the movement has to a hub.


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