Recently, Austin’s KVUE news ran a story about ghostbikes in Austin. The white bikes are chained to telephone poles and street signs to mark a spot where a bicyclist was killed in a car wreck. I found this particularly interesting since the most visible bike is only a few blocks from our office, and I had never known what the bike signified.
Car wrecks involving bicyclists has long been a problem. In 1896, the first recorded car wreck occurred when a New York City driver hit a bicyclist. The problem has grown so that now Texas experiences over 3,500 bicycle deaths per year, with a large portion of those involving children ages 5 to 15.
Because Austin is such a cycling oriented city, it has more than its share of bicycle/car accidents. Though, at least from a bicyclists’ point of view, there is little justice for those cyclists injured in auto accidents.
Fortunately, Austin is trying to do something about bike safety. Last fall, a bicycle task force made a report to the city detailing potential action that the city could take to decrease the risk of bicycle accidents.