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SDSU Bicycle Advocacy Group Remembers Fallen Cyclist

Evening Edition

Above: Students at San Diego State remember a bicyclist who was killed riding on a dangerous road that many bike riders are forced to use. We hear more from KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge, who knows, first hand, the hazards of Montezuma Road.

Many San Diegans may not be familiar with what a “ghost bike,” is, but for bicycle commuters like Forrest Brodsky, the term is a somber sign of another fallen cyclist.

On Wednesday April 18, an unidentified cyclist was struck and killed by an SUV on Montezuma Boulevard near San Diego State University.

“One of the first things that went through my head,” says Brodsky, a junior at SDSU and president of a bicycle advocacy group on campus called The Bike Stand, “was how many of my friends take that route to and from school daily.”

Montezuma, a four-lane road with speeds often in the 60s, is the most direct route to San Diego State from west of the campus.

When members of The Bike Stand heard about the accident they immediately got in touch with other cyclists they knew to make sure everyone was safe.

The identity of the cyclist was revealed on Thursday to be Charles Raymond Gilbreth, 63. The group decided to do something about it.

“None of us personally knew Mr. Gilbreth. But we wanted to make sure he was remembered,” says Brodsky.

A local bike shop donated a bicycle and the students made a ghost bike as a memorial for Gilbreth.

A ghost bike is a bicycle, usually the one that belonged to the cyclist that was killed, painted all white and chained to the location of the accident—serving as a chilling reminder for cars and cyclists alike that a cyclist lost his life there.

The Bike Stand got other SDSU students to participate in painting the bicycle and then ceremoniously chained it to a pole in the intersection of Collwood and Montezuma—just east of the accident location.

Brodsky says, “it’s sad that it takes something this drastic to spark that thought, that I do have to drive at the speed limit, or I have to be aware of something other than cars on the road.”

Others say we need more than awareness. The bike blogosphere has been alive with calls for city officials to find a way to calm traffic on Montezuma. For now, flowers have been placed in memory. And car travelers can see Mr. Gilbreth’s ghost bike.

Vieo by Katie Euphrat

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 20, 2012 at 9:24 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

This is a moving tribute, it's nice to see these fine college students remembering this man.

I really hope Gilbreth's tragic death can lead to some safety precautions to be implemented on this busy road.

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Avatar for user 'joelprice'

joelprice | April 21, 2012 at 8:35 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for doing a story on this and including video. My condolences to the Gilbreth family.

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Avatar for user 'semsd'

semsd | April 25, 2012 at 12:55 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

We need to put pressure on San Diego city government to make "San Diego Americas Safest City"
Let's start by forcing traffic laws Under California vehicle code all vehicles including bicycles trucks cars, motorcycles etc. are considered vehicles and their operators be that they're called drivers or riders, need to obey traffic laws.
The systemic problem is that vehicle operators are not held accountable…therefore they're going to continue to practice bad, unsafe habits. It doesn't mater which group is more to blame. the problem is with both
I am also pointing out that the bicycle or motorcycle will always lose against a car. We all need to obey the traffic laws so that we can share the roads safely and be America's Safest City!
Talk to your friends family and coworkers, write, email and call let us all demand a safer city on the roads and streets.

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