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What are 'ghost bikes' and why do they matter?

"Part memorial, part protest." That's the best way to sum up the meaning of a ghost bike. Painted white and chained to a stationary object at the site where yet another cyclist lost their life in a traffic accident, these bikes are, at once, a form of street art, a call for change and a place for people to grieve their lost loved ones or fellow cyclists.

The practice started in St. Louis in 2003 and has become a global phenomenon in the years since. Once quickly removed by the local authorities (as soon as they were noticed, anyhow), these silent testaments to shattered lives are now likely to be treated with the reverence associated with other roadside memorials.

Advocates wish that bicyclists would just be treated with the same sort of respect. It can be incredibly difficult for bicyclists to safely navigate city streets. Many modern cities were designed with only larger vehicles in mind -- not pedestrians or cyclists. In an era where cycling is becoming more common -- or necessary -- that's a big problem.

Recently compiled statistics show that fatal bike accidents in California are on the rise, and that reflects the general trend around the nation. Between 2016-2018, there were more fatal bicycle accidents in this state than in any similar period since the 1990s.

All cyclists deserve to be safe when they're on the road. But nothing a cyclist can do can force drivers in passenger vehicles and trucks to slow down, stop tailgating and share the road the way that they should. If you were injured in a bike accident or your loved one was killed, it's important to find out as much as you can about your right to compensation.

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