Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ghost Bikes come to London

As many Londoners are aware, Caleb Losier was killed at the age of 21 while commuting on his bike on the morning of November 12, 2008. I work near the tracks at Egerton and Brydges, and rode through the scene of that accident on my usual morning commute. The officers blocking the road gestured from inside their car that I could ride through by going around the scene on the sidewalk, which I did. At that time there were police cars blocking off the street, some police tape, a parked fuel truck, an ambulance and some police officers, and I didn't think much about it or stop to find out any more.

When I got into work my co-workers told me a cyclist had been killed, and some people repeated their admonition that I be careful as I ride this winter. I reassured them that I am always careful, and told them not to worry, and that the cyclist had probably done something risky that I would never do. I learned later that I was totally wrong. Caleb was a regular bicycle commuter who did nothing out of the ordinary. From caleblosier.com:

"Video surveillance reveals that the fuel truck came to a stop on Egerton Street for the railway crossing arms, and a light colored car and then a dark colored vehicle came to a stop behind the fuel truck just as the crossing arms lifted. The cyclist rode passed these vehicles on the right and was beside the truck when it turned," said London police Sgt. Tom O'Brien, Traffic Management Unit...

The coroner advised that Caleb was doing everything right and that there was nothing he could have done to change the course of the collision.


London's first Ghost Bike memorial is now found near that intersection:

I am very familiar with that particular spot; I ride through it twice a day in the winter time. It is very rare to see any sort of vehicle other than a clearly marked CN pickup truck turn into the rail yard there. I can easily visualize how this tragic set of circumstances unfolded in such an awful way, and I find that I have no particularly useful observations to make about them; instead there's just a sadness that it happened.

There are some who point to an incident like this and say that it is obvious that cyclists have no place on our busy streets. There are others who might use this tragedy as proof that the streets must be made safer for cyclists. What I know is that cyclists will keep riding and that drivers will keep driving, and that neither are overjoyed to be sharing the road. My hope is that the ghost bike dedicated to the memory of Caleb Losier will remind us all to put ourselves in the other's shoes as we travel together each day. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Losier family. Take care, everybody.


Related Links:

Free Press Article
GhostBikes.org Entry
Caleb's Memorial Web Site

3 comments:

Steve A said...

I'd be interested to hear how a year has changed your views on this.

Rantwick said...

Steve - Hmmm. I think I'll have to percolate on that a bit. It may prompt a post, I'm not sure.

Simone L. said...

R.i.P Caleb Losier, my cousin. I have missed you. D:

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