Friday, June 25, 2010

New York City nixes plan to remove 'ghost bike' tributes.

I try to stay away from the controversial, to not really make a stir, but this really gets me going. It's not the article that gets me, it's everyone's reaction/comment on it!
Visit this link to read the story:
I've got a few thoughts about it all and I'll try to get them out in a way that will make sense.
First off, I agree that the ghost bikes need to be maintained just as any other memorial of any type; like the crosses and wreaths you see on the side of the highway for people that lost their lives in a car. Does anyone bitch about those things? Not that I know of. Then why so much hate for the cyclists? Could you not learn how to ride one when you were a kid and get picked on by all of the neighborhood kids, so now you see your way to get back at them is to spew hate towards every cyclist you see? I feel that more than 3/4 of all the comments to this article at my time of reading could be marked as offensive.
I can think of so many responses to these comments:

10:26 PM
Jun 21, 2010

This city has yet to memorialize 9/11 yet capitulates to these jackasses who think that the streets exist for bicyclists over motor vehicle drivers. Friggin madness.

The streets do not exist for bicycles over motor vehicles, the streets are for vehicles. Many things are considered a vehicle, bicycles are, so are horse drawn carriages, do you want those on the sidewalk? Where they "belong", away from idiots in cars?
The truth is, roads and streets are designed with cars in mind and most other vehicles are left out of the planning process. In most states the bicycle is considered a vehicle and thus has two very important notes applied to it: you can get a DUI riding one, and you also rate to use the entire traffic lane that you are in.

2:59 AM
Jun 22, 2010

the day ghost bikes should be taken down is the day when drivers would share the road and not scream obscenities as they zoom by cyclists with inches to spare...When they pay attention to the road instead of to their text messages... When they stop drinking and driving... When cyclists stop being salmons going upstream (biking against traffic)...

This I agree with, but have slightly contradicting opinions about. Drivers need to share the road, this includes all "drivers", even us cyclists. I first started really riding heavily trafficked roads in Japan, here the lanes are more narrow and it seems that everyone owns two cars and drives both of them at the same time. I am used to vehicles passing by me very closely, much closer than most cyclists are comfortable with. But in Japan, cycling has more history in their culture. They may not be the best drivers out there and do many things very different than Americans do, but they do not yell at cyclists or salmon on their bikes (at least in traffic, they do it all the time on the sidewalk, and there is a funny law about that).

6:09 AM
Jun 22, 2010

The day ghost bikes should be tolerated is the day that bicyclists pay a registration fee for the bicycles like they do in Honolulu in order to shoulder some of the costs for road upkeep like drivers do through the various fees and taxes associated with operating a motor vehicle. Until then, go *****, bike riders!

Yet another statement that I agree with, but have many questions about. First, what obscenity could be only 5 letters long that would make sense at the end of that comment? Anyway... I'm all for a bicycle registration system, perhaps then bicycle theft would be taken more seriously too. My road bike has a Japanese registration on it, but there were not any fees associated, it's more for just tracking purposes in the case of theft or abandonment.
But for states to start a registration fee/service for bicycles, there are so many planning details that come to my mind:
How would you display your registration? My Japanese one is a bright orange sticker down by the bottom bracket, but not very visible unless the bike is upside down.
So lets say that there is a decal-like license plate that you have to have, with a yearly registration decal to be affixed with it. Now the difficulty would be enforcing it. And when would you be required to register the bicycle? I would hope that it would not be expected of me to register my two-year-old son's little 12 inch with training wheels.
And with this, would there come other laws such as helmets being required in relation to seat belts? That would be pretty controversial, because not even every state makes you wear one on a motorcycle.
And really, 'atombomb', when it comes down to it, it sounds like you bitch so much about operating your motor vehicle that it makes me wonder why you still bother to own one.
Really though, I have never seen a ghost bike in person, but from the pictures I have seen they can be both beautiful and/or creepy. In the end, they really serve a great message: drivers need to pay attention and watch out for cyclists and cyclists need to be proactively paying attention to traffic.
They are tragic reminders that everyone is loved, remembered, and morned. The city of New York is right in there decision to not remove they ghost bikes if they appear to be well kept. Perhaps they should conjure up some sort of registration system for these small memorials so that their owners can be contacted if the bike is in a poor state and also provide a civilised system for somebody to request the removal/relocation of a bike. 
Eugene in Brook...

6:58 AM
Jun 23, 2010

Congrats to the city on making a common sense decision to let these modest memorials remain. In addition to remembering the dead, these memorials serve another, perhaps more important, function. They remind cyclists to be careful of cars, and they remind drivers to calm down and slow down. Let's tone down the rhetoric and learn to share the road.

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