Thursday, August 21, 2014

Should Ghost Bike Memorials Honoring Bikers Struck By Vehicles Be Removed? (Video 1:56)

Impromptu memorials honoring the dead have been around for many generations in America. These memorials often begin with a tragedy involving one or more deaths. For example, a child might be murdered or killed in a car accident. Within a short period of time, stuffed animals, flowers, balloons, cards, photographs, and other memorial displays begin to accumulate at the site where the crime or accident took place. A prayer service may be held there. The shrines and altars resulting from impromptu memorials touch many people in a personal manner and serve as powerful reminders of the deceased and the cause represented.

A ghost bike, usually a junk bike painted white and secured near the scene of a tragedy, is the memorial project of a worldwide movement for commemorating deceased or injured bikers struck down by motor vehicles. Appealing to both personal loss and moral sensibilities, ghost bike memorials have been displayed in a growing number of cities for several years. They are memorials personalized by loved ones and community members as they unfasten earthly connections with the deceased.

But this practice has not continued without controversy. Some people consider ghost bikes to be eyesores that should never be used in this manner. Others say there should be more rules in place regarding bike displays, maintenance, and removal. Concerns about ghost bike removals have been especially disturbing to those who want to commemorate deceased bikers. They say the memorials should also remain to remind drivers of important safety lessons, particularly with all the driving distractions that exist.

This video features various perspectives related to the Kelly Hurlbert ghost bike memorial. What do you think? Should ghost bike memorials be removed?

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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