Deaveon Davis rode his bike to work almost every day. He was biking to his girlfriend’s house to get his car keys one early morning in March and he was struck and killed by an SUV at the corner of Linden Ave and Glen Road in Brighton. His friends and family were devastated.
The cycling community in Rochester decided to take action. There have been too many cyclists killed by cars in our community. The installation of a Ghost Bike serves two purposes. The first is to honor and memorialize the dead. Deaveon’s family gathered to pray at the corner where he was killed. His name was written on the white ghost bike. The second purpose of this installation is to raise the level of awareness of cyclists on the road. We need to learn to share the road and look out for cyclists. Drivers are distracted by cell phone notifications, trying to text and drive, trying to make calls and drive, and a myriad of other little things that use up the instant they need to avoid a fatal collision. Since we don’t have bike lanes, we tend not to expect to see cyclists on the road, especially at multi-lane busy intersections.
In the Netherlands, the pedestrian is King, the cyclists are queens, and the car comes in as a lowly commoner. Bike lanes are everywhere and they have their own stop lights.
Most people ride their bikes to work, school, the store, and even to the golf course. For all the months we were there, I never saw an accident. Drivers are vigilant.
I officiated at the installation of the ghost bike for Deaveon. I have done countless funerals but the devastation of his friends and family was intense. They were still trying to fathom how a young man with everything going for him in the prime of his life was gone. His life was snuffed out in a matter of seconds.
My son rides a bike to work because it’s fun and he’s trying to help save the planet. I worry about him. I would love to see our community embrace this wonderful mode of transportation. If you want to help in this endeavor, check out Reconnect Rochester. https://reconnectrochester.org/
6 thoughts on “Ghost Bikes”
My SO and I are avid cyclists living in the finger lakes. We no longer do road riding for this reason only trails. I’ve been called names and been subjected to gestures by passing motorists. It’s unfortunate that in the beautiful are we live in I’m afraid to do something I love. There are many Amish in the community I live in and pray for their safety as they travel by horse and buggy
How sad that people behave so badly and take away the joy of riding a bike. I pray for the Amish too! I pass them in their buggies and I hold my breath. I go slowly and give them a wide birth. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Our Highway Code here in the UK has recently been changed to protect cyclists and pedestrians, and also to raise the penalty for those who use the handset of their mobile phone while driving (a frequent cause of accidents). In our area there are often flowers and crosses left by the side of roads marking the place where cyclists have lost their lives. Hoping and praying that a change in the law will make drivers more aware and careful.
Glad the code was changed. We have to continue to talk about it so people become more aware. Thanks for reading my post!
Julie, thank you so much for this post about ghost bikes. In 1975 when I returned to Rochester after college, I did not have a car. My Raleigh Grand Prix got me everywhere. Chuck and I have been cyclists, avid and not so avid, since the late ’70s. Your post allowed me to reflect on the number of friends we have lost over the years. Andy and his friend who were ultra marathon cyclists killed during a 24 hour race by a drunk driver. Emily who was killed by a woman who “didn’t see her.” Bary who was hit by a drunk driver on Father’s Day afternoon and who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. Nigel Hester, who we never met, but who was killed on the A9 in Scotland. A viaduct over which we rode on our latest trip to Scotland was renovated in Nigel’s memory. Chuck and I now mostly ride rail trails.
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It is difficult to come back from a “Bike Culture” in the Netherlands to the US where people find bikes a problem. I’m glad that we have Reconnect Rochester that advocates for cyclists. Thanks for reading!