Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I have driven past this roadside memorial many times only vaguely remembering its story. On this day I stopped to take the picture, drawn to the white bike in white snow and long shadows. Once home I searched for the back story.
On March 22, 2006 Bohdan Kulakowski, 63, a well respected Penn State Professor, was struck by a van and killed while riding his bike. Thomas Fry, the 51 year old driver was not speeding or DUI. He had been diagnosed with degenerative eye disease but had not been told he should not drive. He told police he may have taken his eyes off the road for a second and never saw the bicyclist. Kulakowski was wearing a helmet and had reflectors on his bike. It was a tragic accident. Kulakowski was an avid biker who rode to work most days. Fry was charged with vehicular homicide but was only sentenced to 5 years probation.
What I discovered in this search is that what I thought was an impromptu memorial to a friend is part of a larger project called "ghost bikes". It is an effort to raise awareness of these all too common accidents and the need for better accommodations for bikers on our roads. The project is coordinated by ghostbikes.org. The website gives methods for creating the all white bike and instructions for installation. A map shows locations of over a hundred such memorials.
These are from a web search: