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Ghost bikes are descansos (roadside memorials) that remind us of cyclists killed by vehicles. Although the New Mexico Department of Transportation documents more than 100 deaths of bicyclists in New Mexico since 1989, only 10 ghost bikes haunt Albuquerque’s streets. The Duke City Wheelmen Foundation installs ghost bikes when a friend or family notifies the group of a death. Jennifer Buntz, the group’s founder, says the Duke City Wheelman began memorializing fallen comrades in 2010. For more information on the individual memorials, how to install a ghost bike or to get involved, visit dukecitywheelmen.org. (EK)
Ghost bike commemorates fallen comrade
The Duke City Wheelmen Foundation will dedicate a ghost bike to Dan Montoya, Saturday at 9 a.m. The memorial will take place east of I-25 on Tramway.
The ghost bike commemorates Montoya's fatal crash with motorist Bruce Wickensburg on May 12. Wickensburg says he lost consciousness behind the wheel, according to the accident report.
Montoya, 54, a well-known member of the bicycling community, worked for Honeywell Aeronautics as a senior electrical engineer until his death. He is survived by his wife Deb Rivera, relatives and friends.
Jennifer Buntz, founder of the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation, will say a few words at Saturday's dedication about Montoya and bicycle advocacy efforts around the city. The event is open to the public.
Since its start in 2010, the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation has installed 12 ghost bikes throughout the city. The Albuquerque City Council passed a law last March protecting the ghost bikes as descansos, or roadside memorials. The foundation receives donated bikes for volunteers to sandblast and spray-paint white.
Another dedication will take place July 30 for Matt Trujillo, a cyclist who was killed in an unrelated car crash on May 12.
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Thanks to Tom Nayder, Robert Masterson and Geoffrey Anjou for some of today’s fine news stories.
This week, the news section talked about ghost bikes, memorials constructed around the state to mark the spot where a cyclist was killed by a vehicle. One went up in Laguna for the young activist who was riding across the country to raise money for breast cancer research.
The all-white bikes first began appearing in St. Louis, according to this site, but they've been installed across the country. They're reminders to drivers that we need to be aware and considerate of cyclists.
But many municipalities remove the ghost bikes. New Mexico's seen it happen. That bike in Laguna was removed by the state's Transportation Department. It was later re-erected after one activist found her way through some red tape. New York City is considering a adding a rule to the books on the "removal of derelict bicycles."
The problem, some say, is that the bikes are not treated as descansos, or traditional roadside memorials. Alibi.com ran a special websclusive article by Patrick Lohmann this week about the fight to keep ghost bikes in New Mexico.
A Question of Descansos
The city and state have gone back and forth on whether they will allow ghost bikes to stand. Jennifer Buntz, president of the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation, champions the memorials for cyclists killed by motorists around the state.
The Ghost Bike in Laguna
John Anczarski, 19, was cycling across the country with three friends to raise money for breast cancer research. The University of Colorado student began his trip in Pennsylvania and was heading for San Diego. He was 10 days from his destination on June 21 when an SUV in Laguna, N.M., ran him off the road. He suffered head trauma and died the next day at UNM Hospital.