Yesterday, we reported that the Sanitation Department had proposed a removal of the approximately 67 “ghost bikes” scattered through the city in memorial to those who’ve died in cycling accidents. However, according to the Daily News, the city has had a change of heart after an outcry from friends and families who have suffered this loss.
The original plan would have stickered the ghost bikes with a 30-day removal grace period in September. After that, the bikes would be removed and destroyed by the city no matter their condition.
The new plan is a little more reasonable. The Sanitation Department told the Daily News, “A memorial bicycle (ghost rider) will only be removed … if the memorial bicycle meets the derelict bicycle criteria. That means if the memorial bike is in bad shape — missing tires, handlebars, or pedals — it still may be clipped from its post.”
Lizi Rahman, whose son was killed in a cycling accident on Queens Boulevard, told the Daily News, “All day, I have been thinking, they are taking a part of my son’s memory from me,” she said.
This was not the first time that ghost bikes have come under attack. According to Ghostbikes.org, city officials threatened to remove Andre Anderson’s memorial in Far Rockaway, but did not follow through when family and community members rallied to maintain it.
“Ghost bikes can last a long time if there is community and family support for them,” the website says.
Ghost bikes are not only meant to memorialize victims of cycling accidents — Ghostbikes.org and StreetMemorials.org both want to raise safety awareness in all the people who share the street and to urge the city to improve and follow through with street safe policies. According to Ghostbikes.org, there were 24 cyclist deaths in 2005, 18 in 2006, 25 in 2007, 26 in 2008, and 12 in 2009.
Currently, there are no rules for discarding bikes locked on the street indefinitely, and there will still be a public hearing on the subject on July 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at 125 Worth Street, Room 819. If passed, bikes that fall under the derelict criteria will be stickered and removed come September.