Winner! The New York City Ghost Bike Project

Awarded $750 grant at FEAST #13, April 14, 2012

The New York City Ghost Bike Project

Ghost Bike

Since 2005, at the site of every crash where a bicyclist is killed, we install a Ghost Bike.  Bicycles are stripped of extraneous parts, sanded and painted white.  Each bicycle is installed below a silk-screened aluminum sign that bears the words: Cyclist Killed Here.  With this act, we make visible a tragedy that would otherwise disappear.

The physical construction of Ghost Bikes is laborious.  Because we only use bicycles that are otherwise too damaged to restore, parts are difficult to remove and rust is common.  Each Ghost Bike requires three cans of flat white spray-paint, one of primer, five sheets of sandpaper, three feet of chain and a padlock.  It costs, on average, $30 to construct one Ghost Bike.  Last year, the Ghost Bike Project installed 17 Ghost Bikes in New York City.

After seven years of constructing and installing Ghost Bikes, the project now has a critical lull in volunteers and funds.  We are at risk of fading away. The few remaining volunteers believe the only way to reignite the project is to gather the hundreds of people who have ever been involved with the project and brainstorm.  We propose bringing together the surviving families and friends who have had a relationship with the project, members of the bicycling community and past volunteers, for a public gathering this summer. With the assistance of outside facilitators and a survey for those outside of New York, we will invent ways to sustain this emotionally difficult and labor-intensive project.