Installation of the two Ghost Bikes

From Eric Iwersen:

The bicycling community came together recently to honor two cyclists killed in separate, unrelated accidents in Tempe during May. Chris Volpe was killed May 10 when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike at University Drive and Ash Avenue. A week later, bicyclist Jay Fretz was struck and killed at the intersection of McClintock and Alameda drives.

Memorials for each of the cyclists included installation of a “ghost bike” – a bicycle that has been painted solid white – near each of the accident locations. A well-known practice by cycling communities internationally, the ghost bike serves as both a memorial and a reminder of the potential dangers bike riders face.

City of Tempe staff have been working together with the bicycling community for decades to make Tempe a bicycle-friendly community. Following these two accidents, members of the Tempe Bicycle Action Group and other bicycling advocates have contacted city staff and elected officials to express concern and advocate for continued efforts to increase bicycle safety.

Tempe encourages community members to participate in planning bicycle facilities and outreach efforts, and has a number of ways people can be involved, including the Transportation Commission, which is comprised of Tempe residents (several of whom are bicyclists), and the Commission’s Multi-modal Planning Committee to facilitate community dialogue and input on bicycle/pedestrian projects and issues.

Over the last 14 years – since passage of Tempe’s transit tax – the city has emphasized multi-modalism and creating a balanced transportation system with connectivity between transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Improvements include on-street bicycle lanes, multi-use paths, streetscape and traffic calming projects. Tempe now has more than 170 miles of bikeways throughout the city.

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