Ghost Bikes Won’t be Riding to Work This Week!

It’s Bike to Work Week!

And Tomorrow, May 21st, is actually bike to work day.

I expect to see a lot of cycling commuters out tomorrow, and you should too!

If you’re new to commuting by bike, do take a look at my Successful Cycling Commuting in Minneapolis St Paul blog entry from a few weeks back.

But if you’re driving, as a motorist, you’ve probably asked yourself why the heck isn’t that cyclist on the pathway instead of on my road!?

And why isn’t that rider riding closer to the curb so that I can moreeasily get around her?

Just in time for the throngs of riders you may encounter while driving to work tomorrow is Bicycling Magazine’s recently published How to Drive around Cyclists article. It answers all sorts of questions motorists should know, like what’s a safe distance for passing a cyclist? And why intersections accounted for 80% of all cycling fatalities in 2008.

Two people who won’t be on their bikes tomorrow are Jimmy Nisser (pictured here to the left) and Nik Morton.    That’s because they’re dead. Bad things happen when a few hundred pounds of soft tissue on a bike collides with several thousand pounds of steel.    Jimmy died on his bike in a hit and run incident while riding near Lake Calhoun in 2008.

Nichlas Hector Fabio Morton, just 18 years old at the time, died after being struck by a truck in September of 2008 while riding 5th St near Nicollet Mall.

You also won’t find Dale Aaneson or Ginny Heuer (below, right) at work tomorrow either. They, too, were killed on their bikes in 2008. There’s also Dennis Dumm, who lost his life to a heavy truck in 2009.

As Bicycling Magazine states, “If there’s even been an oil-and-water combination, this is it. We both use roads; we’d both prefer to do so without the other in the way. But the juxtaposition puts cyclists in far greater peril than drivers. For that reason,

nearly every rider would like nonpedaling motorists to know just how incredibly vulnerable they are.

And, yes, riders also need to take responsibility for their own safety, but a few simple tips for drivers will make the roads safer for everyone.”

For that reason,  please just take a look at the article … you may just save a life.

What you will see where Nik, Dale, Dennis, Ginny, and Jimmy left their families and friends  are their ghost bikes.

“Ghost Bikes are small and somber 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. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel…” according to the International Ghost Bike Organization website.

The Minneapolis Ghost Bikes site has more information about Minneapolis’ rider tragedies.

I plan to be on my bike tomorrow. Early.  I ‘ll see Ginny’s Ghost Bike on Summit, just East of Snelling around 7:00am as I make my way to the Uptown Fitness Together from Eagan.   I’ll later pass Dennis Dumm’s bike when I ride north on Park to Fitness Together Downtown for an appointment there around noon.   (the ghost bike location map, incidentally, has Nik’s bike incorrectly on Park where Dennis’ bike sits).

I haven’t seen Nik’s bike yet, but will ride over to 5th St. and Nicollet Mall before heading home later in the day.

I ride alone a lot and will be wearing something akin to what Joe Soucheray recently called an Italian racing suit with jerseys that look like the labels on olive jars.

It isn’t a fashion statement folks, and we’re not pretending to be in the Tour de France … just trying to get fit, reduce our carbon footprint, and stay alive with the brightest colors available to increase our odds against the least attentive drivers.

How to Drive around Cyclists.

Of course, the surest way to not hit a bike with your car is to be riding your bike!

For that, check out my Successful Cycling Commuting in Minneapolis St Paul entry from May 2nd!


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