I’ve been around Massachusetts awhile. I was born and raised in Brookline, and educated in the Boston area. I’ve never really lived anywhere else but this area, and I’ve watched it change a lot over the past 20-25 years. While a good amount of construction and development has changed the face of Boston and its suburbs, one of the biggest changes has nothing to do with the skyline. It has to do with the streets – specifically, what’s on them now, that wasn’t on them to any near degree that it was 20-25 years ago. What is that? Bicyclists. There are more bicyclists on the roads in Boston and the suburbs in the Route 128 Belt, than were ever seen as recently as the early 1990’s. Continue reading
As a Boston car-bicycle accident lawyer, I know all too well that bicyclists are always exposed to risks when riding on Massachusetts roads. There is always the threat of injury and death from motorists who, for whatever the reason, are unable to share the road with a cyclist, and the poor cyclist ends up as an accident victim or a fatality.
If you’ve driven around Massachusetts lately – or around the country – you may have seen the haunting “makeshift memorials” to killed cyclists that have unexpectedly sprung up. They are called “ghost bike street memorials.” The typical one looks like an older model of a bike, and is painted completely white, tires and all – a stark contrast to its surroundings — and is chained to a tree or to a lamppost, as if to signify that their owner will someday return to ride it. The truth is, the bike’s owner has been killed in a Massachusetts bicycle-car accident. Usually, surrounding the white bicycle are flowers, flags, handwritten notes, and a small plaque to memorialize the killed victim.
Working behind the scenes of these makeshift memorials are people who are affiliated with www.ghostbikes.org. According to their website, Ghost Bikes are memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit while riding a bicycle on the street. These memorials serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street, and serve to showcase cyclists’ right to safe travel. This isn’t a local phenomenon: Ghost Bikes lists 26 countries where they are located, including Poland, Austria, Ukraine and New Zealand. The first ghost bikes were created in 2003 in St. Louis, Missouri. Right now there exist more than 500 ghost bike memorials that have been created in more than 180 locations throughout the world.