Ghost bikes are a new twist on the white crosses we’ve come to see along our highways and at dangerous intersections, marking the spot where people died.
Mourners take old bikes, paint them a stark white, and erect them near the spot where bicyclists are killed. Sadly, two ghost bikes now appear on 26th Street at Westend Avenue.
The bikes, plus a hand-made wooden case in the foreground, are a tribute to Edgar “E.J.” Juarez, 30, and Jayson Kilroy, 28, who died Aug. 6, 2008, as they were riding north down 26th Street with three friends. The victims suffered massive internal injuries when, Colorado Springs Police say, Barbara Thomas plowed into them in her pickup truck. Here is a mug shot of Thomas.
Police say Thomas was driving under the influence of an illegal cocktail of morphine and barbiturates when she turned into the oncoming bicyclists. She goes to trial March 2 on charges of DUI and vehicular homicide.
Friends of the victims created the roadside shrine to Juarez and Kilroy.
Jon Csakany built the wooden case to hold photos and mementos of the men. Chris Fiedler designed a stencil with both of their names and painted it on the asphalt at the site.
The ghost bikes replaced the white crosses that normally highlight such a memorial.
Here is a closer look at the wood case Csakany built to honor his friends.
There is an assortment of bike-related items at the shrine:
Here is a www.FlashEarth.com map of the area where the bikers were killed and the memorial now stands. It is south of U.S. Highway 24 and a popular route for bikers on their way to Gold Camp Road and Cheyenne Canon.
Neighbors say they were not surprised by the wreck. They have long feared bikers would be killed because of the speeds reached by drivers and bikers alike as they fly north down 26th Street. Mix speed with the funky diaganol intersection at Westend Avenue and you have the makings of a tragedy.
Below is a look at the intersection, facing north toward U.S. 24.
Neighbors say speed humps, a flashing caution sign or speed indicator, and a stop sign are needed to prevent future tragedies.