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'Ghost bikes' symbolize horror of bicycle accident deaths

Cyclists and motorists in Los Angeles may have spotted them on the side of the road: a bicycle with a coat of white paint covering it. If the bike appears to be a monument of some kind, that is because it is.

These bicycles, known as “ghost bikes,” are memorials to victims of deadly accidents. Too frequently, victims of bicycle accidents too frequently cannot walk away from the crash site. They suffer permanent disability or death, because the driver of a four-wheel vehicle does not pay attention or respect the rider’s right to the road.

Another bicyclist was killed in another state not long ago. The victim was just 24. She was riding home from work when she was hit by a car or truck. Few details were available; despite there being at least one eyewitness, it was nighttime, and the witness may not have gotten a good look at the vehicle.

The victim was hit so hard that her bike flew 20 to 30 feet into the opposite lane. Her shoes and other items were blown off of her. She was rushed to the hospital, where she died a few days later.

After her death, her friends planned to put up a ghost bike at the site of the accident. They also were organizing a ride in her honor, in which they were to “complete” her commute home from the Whole Foods where she worked.

Despite efforts in this blog and elsewhere to warn drivers to pay more attention to bicycles, bike accidents continue to be a problem in the U.S., including in Los Angeles. A person injured in a bicycle crash may be entitled to damages from the driver who caused the incident.

Source: Houston Culture Map, “Bike tragedy remains unsolved: Search for hit-and-run driver continues,” Tyler Rudick, Dec. 6, 2013

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