Treehugger writes about the benefits and joys of cycling but there is another sombre side: dangerous driving and drivers can mean death. Ghost bikes are a spontaneous memorial to lost cyclists; they are old bikes painted white and locked near the crash site, accompanied by a small explanatory plaque. They serve as a message to those who pass by and a reminder of the need for safe cycling.
They were first spotted in St. Louis in 2003 but since then they have appeared in 35 cities from Brighton to Sao Paolo with stories and locations noted. They have prompted meditations on life and death:
"With its poignantly flat tyres, the white bike was unmissable, and yet, even in the crowded streets of midtown Manhattan, it didn't get in anyone's way. Robert Musil wrote that nothing is as invisible as a monument; this un-monumental memorial was distinctly visible, and yet so discreet as to be almost not there. As they waited to cross the street, several people touched the bike: a casual version of the gesture made by Catholics, of crossing themselves when they pass over a threshold. By virtue of the white bike, a completely innocuous corner of Manhattan - one of thousands - had been imbued with a uniquely gentle aura. Perhaps I am being sentimental, but it felt as if this was the safest intersection in the whole of the city." :: Ghost Bikes