Ghost Riders in the Sky
Ghost Riders in the Sky
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 1 comment



A beat-up, run-down bicycle often is evidence of years of use and wear. But a clandestine group of activists have scattered dozens of battered, twisted bikes, painted stark white, across Seattle to raise awareness about safety issues facing riders, who are somewhat cruelly – but perhaps accurately – described by the medical fraternity as “healthy organ donors.”


Ghost Bikes are small and eerie memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque and flowers if at the scene of a fatality. The activists are part of an organization called, who have mapped the locations of about 140 accidents around the city. Then, under cover of darkness, they placed over 40 painted bikes at collision sites.


The latest placement can be found downtown at a notoriously dangerous one-way bike lane on the left side of the busy arterial on Second Avenue at University Street, where lawyer and mother Sher Kung was killed late last month after a box truck turned left to University Street across the bicycle lane. It was the 61st bicycle-and-vehicle collision on the street in the past four years.


The irony is her death came just a week or so before a new protected bicycle lane opened on Second Avenue. The new cycle track is physically separated from traffic, includes lanes going in both directions, and features traffic signals indicating cars are prohibited from turning left when bicycles have the right-of way. Nonetheless, many drivers have disobeyed the rules—leading the city to install more signs that read, “No turn on red.”


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1 Comment

  • Bicycles and traffic have never mixed well on our city streets and country roads. I can remember working SE Radar on Yakima Ave at 27th on the north side of the bridge crossing I-5. I put my radar on a lone bicycle rider speeding down the hill and onto the bridge. When he reached 50 in a 30 I fired up my bike and pulled him over. He could not believe he was being cited. I'd seen him before and he had a terrible habit of running red lights, improper lane travel, etc in heavy traffic. With all he had gotten away with now he was paying the piper and he was not very happy. He was fortunate he had not been struck by a car or truck with his reckless bicycle riding. I did many fatality and serious injury accidents involving bicycles. Most drivers do not see bicycles as a threat to them and don't see them as easily as they do another car or a motorcycle with it's headlight on.

    Enjoy your photos, John. Keep 'em coming.