Wellesley police ordered Ghost Bike removal

Ghost Bike WellesleyThe Ghost Bike that appeared over the weekend to memorialize cyclist Alex Motsenigos at the Weston Road/Linden Street spot where he was killed in an accident over the summer was removed at the request of the Wellesley Police.

“Items cannot be stored on public property,” according to the police department, which says Chief Terrence Cunningham spoke to the person who put the white bike there. The police are still conducting accident scene reconstruction investigations as well, so would prefer the area be unobstructed.

Such Ghost Bike removals are not uncommon, with communities citing the bikes as being obstructions as well as possible driver distractions. There’s also consideration for the family/friends of victims, who might not want to see such a reminder every time they pass by.

For example police in Denver allowed one Ghost Bike to stay for 30 days, but required it to be removed after that because it was blocking a public way on the sidewalk. Ghost Bike proponents there said the bike was not only a memorial for a cyclist killed in a hit-and-run incident, but served as a reminder that the case had not been resolved. Policies differ on Ghost Bikes around the world, from New York City to San Diego and to Australia to Northern Ireland.

Ghost Bikes have disappeared or been taken apart in some communities by thieves who want the parts.

Ghost Bikes are said to have started popping up in 2003, first in St. Louis, as a way to remember the lives of cyclists killed in road accidents and to encourage awareness of road sharing.

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9 Comments

  1. Jason
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The Wellesley PD should be ashamed of taking down this memorial for this man. This is very insensitive and a disgrace. If they are in fact concerned about the feelings of the family, they should check with them. This isn’t a “storage” issue. It is a memorial.

  2. Ethan Fleming
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    If they are going to take this shrine down then they should take down all the shrines devoted to people who have died in car crashes as well.

  3. Vineyard Worker
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Ghost bikes stress death, period. There is no “Go Slow” perception coming across as one drives by a ghost bike display. In fact, the display itself causes an additional impact to an already congested location. Do we really want drivers to look at the display or do we want drivers to drive carefully? Do we really want “physical” deaths commemorated throughout our community environments? It seems as if the life is negated and death is displayed prominently. Maybe the lights should be adjusted? The blinking red is not really a good fit for such an area.

  4. Sharon
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the police should devote more time to bringing charges against the driver who hit him and left the scene rather than removing a memorial to someone who didn’t deserve to die.

    • Tresore
      Posted November 15, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I agree with your comment 100% Its been three months and nothing seems to be getting done by the PD.We need answers???

    • Vineyard Worker
      Posted November 15, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Who do you know personally, that deserved to die? Should we provide “ghost examples” of the means of death of all those lives we believe have been cut short, accidentally, all throughout town? Someone is misdiagnosed and dies. Should we place a “ghost stethoscope” in front of the home where they passed? Are “ghost bikes” primarly sensitive to the feelings of the family of the loved one lost, or the comradery of cyclists.

      • Dulles
        Posted November 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Aw c’mon @Vineyard Worker — we’ve all seen ad hoc memorials for people who were killed in car crashes. It represents tragic death that could have been avoided. Call it empathy, nostalgia or foolishness, some of us are deeply, personally moved by visual reminders. Someone felt strongly enough to procure a bike, take the time to prep it, and secure it at the site where Alex was killed. Sure it was within Wellesley Police’s right to take the bike down immediately, but it was a lousy thing to do. If you’ve lived in the area a long time, compare and contrast with the long-standing ad hoc memorial on Baker Street in Newton, which was left up for years.

        • Vineyard Worker
          Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          No such thing as a death that could have been avoided. When someone is called Home, they are called Home. Condolences to the family.

          • dsf
            Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            You can’t be serious? An untimely death from a distracted driver is all part of the ‘master plan’? People like you scare the hell out of me…

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