In 2003, a Ghost Bike project was launched in St. Louis, Missouri after a man watched as a driver hit and killed a bicyclist. He later put a white-painted bicycle on the spot with a sign that read "Cyclist Struck Here." Passing motorists began paying attention to the haunting bikes, so the man asked for friends to help him place 15 more ghost bikes in various parts of the city that had seen bicyclists killed by careless drivers.
The bikes are meant to serve as small memorials for bicyclists that were killed or seriously injured on the road by a motor vehicle. The bicycles are painted white and set up as roadside memorials. The white bikes are often old and banged up and typically attached to nearby stop sign or light pole.
Friends and families of bicyclists killed in accidents on the Missouri's roadways have taken to placing these white ghost bikes at the location of the terrible accident. The bikes serve as eerie reminders of the damage a car can do to those just out for a ride. The ghost bike memorials are not just St. Louis phenomenon, but are popping up all around the world, with one website (GhostBikes.org) listing some 600 of them in more than 100 U.S. cities and nearly two-dozen countries.
Overall, hundreds of cyclists die and thousands more are injured in accidents each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 618 cyclists were killed and 52,000 injured in crashes with motor vehicles in 2010 alone.
Bicycling can be dangerous, but cyclists should not have to pay for other people's mistakes on the road. The NHTSA provides several important tips for those out for a bike ride. First, control your bicycle. About half of cyclist accidents are single rider crashes. It's important to learn how to properly control your bike by starting and smoothly stopping it. Second, know the rules of the road. In every city in Missouri a bicycle is considered a legal vehicle. As such, you are required to obey all traffic laws, signs and signals. Ride in the direction of traffic; never ride against traffic. Finally, remember that helmets serve as your last line of protection. Make sure you are using a bike helmet that properly fits your head. Also, if you're riding while it's dark out, reflectors that are attached to the rider as well as the bike can be a lifesaving addition.
As an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney, I can tell you that it's critically important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you've been injured in a bicycling accident. Call the police and have an officer complete an official accident report. Finally, if you're able, try to get pictures with a cell phone or a camera. The more proof you have the better you'll be able to prove the extent of your injuries later on.
For information on how to protect your legal rights if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, call one of our Missouri car accident attorneys today at 314-863-0500.
Source: "'Ghost bikes' are haunting reminders of dead cyclists," by Peter Schworm, published at Boston.com.
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