Across several cities, including Philadelphia, a chilling tribute is beginning to pop up to memorialize a reported 2 percent of fatal-car-accident victims: “ghost bikes.” Ghost bikes are most often bikes that are spray-painted white and placed at the scene of a car accident to stand tribute to fallen bicyclists.
In Philadelphia, one ghost bike stands for one of the youngest victim’s of a bicycle accident, a 6-year-old little boy that was killed when a car struck him while riding his bike. “I think ghost bikes aren’t only a memorial but art. Whenever I pass one I have a moment of silence — they’re a reminder of how fragile life can be,” reports one cyclist that lost a fellow-cyclist and friend when a truck collided with the victim.
Hopefully, these tributes will be a reminder to vehicle operators that they are not the only party on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010, 618 cyclists were killed and 52,000 were injured due to collisions with motor vehicles.
The pain that the family of the Philadelphia 6-year-old felt on learning that their family member was killed by a driver is unimaginable. If the boy died as the result of a third party’s negligence, the surviving family of the boy could pursue a wrongful death claim as a way to recoup for their loss. While monetary compensation would not bring the child back, it could work toward delivering the family some small amount of closure.
Source: The Washington Post, “‘Ghost bikes’ rise at scenes of fatal bicycle-catr crashes as tributes to those who died,” Associated Press, Aug. 7, 2012