Ghost bikes act as a reminder to drivers

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- If you’ve ever driven by a bike painted white and parked near an intersection you’re not alone. Ghost bikes are there to grab your attention, and the memorials serve as a reminder to drivers that they are sharing the road with bicyclists.

“There have been so many motor  vehicle and cycling accidents in Arizona because it’s such a popular place to cycle that I think people are just trying to bring awareness to that. It can be life ending or life changing,” said Scott McKeon, an avid cyclist who has had friends hit by cars while they were riding bikes.
According to the website Ghostbikes.org, there are hundreds of ghost bike memorials set up around the world. The site lists several memorials in Phoenix.
A ghost bike has been placed at the intersection of University and Ashe Ave. in Tempe for 24-year-old Christopher Volpe. The ASU junior was killed when his bike was struck by an SUV in 2010.
Tommy Richardson, a Phoenix lawyer, said there are thousands of collisions between bikes and motor vehicles in Arizona each year, and that many of those collisions could be avoided if people were more familiar with the law.
“In Arizona, for the most part, the driver should count on the bicycle rider having the right of way,” said Richardson.
Richardson said bicyclists can also be confused, because bike riding laws can change from city to city.
“Scottsdale has an ordinance that does not allow bicycles on the sidewalk in certain places, and that’s a little different from Phoenix,” said Richardson. “In Tempe you have to ride with the flow of traffic on the sidewalk, and there’s no law like that in Phoenix.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 618 bicyclist deaths in 2010.