Friday, April 20, 2012
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