HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — 22 white ghost bikes sit on display on the State Capitol steps in remembrance of the 22 bicyclists killed while riding last year in Pennsylvania. Ross Williard, a member of Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg, believes the pandemic has played a role in the numbers rising from 16 deaths in 2019.
“Like all other major cities in Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia leading the way, we had more bicyclists going to work because they were afraid to go on the bus or in the subway,” Williard said. “At the same time, drivers had empty roads and they would look up and say ‘gee I can make all the lights’ and they were speeding faster. So put the two combinations together and we had more bicyclists and walker deaths.”
Organizers of the memorial hope that it can serve as a reminder for drivers to watch out for bikers.
According to Williard, the ghost bikes are originally placed individually at the site of the bicyclist’s death. Then, on the third Wednesday of May each year, they total all of the crashes and place them on the steps.
“It acts like a barometer to see how well Pennsylvania is doing on bike safety,” Williard said.
The ghost bikes will be on display for 24 hours. As a part of the remembrance, a Ride of Silence will take place worldwide at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Those who participate in Harrisburg will begin at Camp Hill Borough Hall and ride to the memorial. Flowers will be placed on each individual bike.
“All of us have to do our part. Bicyclists obey the law. Drivers don’t drive like you have radar,” Williard said. “Then for our cities to build infrastructure that is more bike-friendly and car-friendly. We can all do our part, but education is the most important part.”