Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ghostbike in Pacific Palisades

Ghostbikes mark the location of bicycle fatalities. The phenomenon began in St. Louis in 2003, when a witness to a fatal accident marked the location with an abandoned bike painted white, and a sign saying "Cyclist killed here."

Temescal Canyon Boulevard is a broad, sloping street that rises up from Pacific Coast Highway linking Will Rogers State Beach to Temescal Canyon State Park. Visibility is good on Temescal, and the bike paths are clearly marked on the side of the road.

Despite this, on December 22, 2013 at 9:15 in the morning, a car hit and killed James Campbell Rapley, an Australian tourist. The driver was 19 years old and drunk. Unlike many of these terrible accidents, at this one the driver stayed at the scene.

Like the roadside shrines seen on highways, ghostbikes are treated differently in each state and municipality. On a stretch of PCH that runs through Santa Monica, a memorial to a young woman killed by a hit-and-run driver last July was removed after only a few days by Cal-Trans, the State Transportation authority.

James's bike has been allowed to remain. How long that will last, I don't know. Ghostbikes are a stark reminder - don't drink and drive, don't text and drive, and - please - share the road.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Very sad. Good post, Aunt Snow.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Such a tragic story.
We used to have several ghostbikes here in my town, but when I went to photograph them for a post, they were GONE.