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Ghost Bikes remind us that safety is important

If you recently visited Craig Street, Bloomfield, or even walked remotely nearby campus, you may have noticed the recent occurrence of painted bicycles dedicated to bicyclists killed or struck by a vehicle.

These memorials, old bicycles painted white with signs affixed to their sides reading “Cyclist struck here,” serve as solemn reminders that automobiles and bicycles do not always share the road as they should.

The bikes are part of Ghost Bike Pittsburgh, a project dedicated to creating public awareness about aggressive riding and aggressive driving. So far, four bikes have been placed around the city.

Yet the Ghost Bike project is not unique to Pittsburgh. Eight projects have started across North America in cities including Edmonton, Canada; New York, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; and Kansas City, Kan.

Ghost Bike Pittsburgh should be applauded for its efforts to alert the community to the dangers of aggressive driving. However, we hope the project does not over-victimize cyclists. It isn’t always the person behind the wheel who is driving aggressively; sometimes it is the person behind the handlebars.

Though we certainly appreciate the Ghost Bikes message, we hope our city won’t need any more of them. While the project increases community awareness about the need for better cyclist/driver road etiquette, it doesn’t inform the public of how to prevent accidents in the future.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s laws about road cycling and get tips about how to keep both drivers and cyclists safe, go to PennDOT’s BikeSafe website (www.dot.state.pa.us/BIKE/WEB/index.htm).