Sunday, February 22, 2009
We've all seen roadside shrines. They mark the place where a fatal accident has taken place. These makeshift memorials have their roots in a pioneer tradition - when someone died on the trail, the family would be forced to bury them on site, mark their grave, and sadly move on.
This "death on the road" tradition's latest incarnation is the Ghost Bike. It began when San Francisco artist Jo Slota spray-painted junked bikes. Cyclists soon appropriated this idea to mark the place where a cyclist was killed in an accident - a haunting warning to both motorists and cyclists.
Memorials make the invisible visible, and Ghost BIkes remind us of those who are no longer here. But these streetside memorials also make the dangers of everyday life visible. Be mindful, they seem to say. A modern day memento mori.
Click here to see the New York Times photo essay on Ghost Bikes.