Alvaro Olsen Ghost Bike Memorial in New York City

Alvaro Olsen memorial

I recently came across this poignant Ghost Bike memorial in NYC for 54 year-old Alvaro Olsen who was killed by a truck while riding his bicycle on April 16, 2008. A Ghost Bike is a memorial for a bicyclist who is killed on the street, usually by a motor vehicle. The website pays tribute to many of these memorials around the world.

Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.

The first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, and they have since appeared in over 150 locations throughout the world. For those who create and install the memorials, the death of a fellow bicyclist hits home. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks; it could just as easily be any one of us. Each time we say we hope to never have to do it again — but we remain committed to making these memorials as long as they are needed.

photo by Scott Beale