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Memorializing Fallen Cyclists: Willens Law Offices to Donate “Ghost Bike” Racks

CHICAGO, June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – When a cyclist is killed by a motor vehicle, the tragedy resonates through the bike riding community. Bicyclists recognize that they could be the next victim of driver carelessness. A tangible expression of grief often appears at the location. Like the white crosses we sometimes see on highways, the bike accident is memorialized – only cyclists use an empty bike frame or even the twisted wreckage itself. Painted all-white, these "ghost" bikes are placed as a remembrance and a warning.

Unfortunately, there are some who don't respect the memorials. In the Chicago area especially, some ghost bikes will be removed from street signs and light poles by the city, while others have been stolen outright. To address this issue, and to show support for our city's cyclists, Willens Law Offices has offered to donate bike racks to be placed near the location of bike collisions that have resulted in the wrongful death of the cyclist, giving both a solid structure to lock ghost bikes to, and for use as a regular bike rack, while remembering cyclists that have passed.

To take advantage of this offer, readers are encouraged to contact Willens Law Offices. One bike rack per a fatally injured cyclist will be available for incidents within Chicago during 2013.

While the primary purpose of the ghost bikes is to honor the victims, they also serve to educate and raise awareness about bike safety. They serve as a dramatic reminder that, yes, it can happen – it happened here to motorists and bicyclists alike.

Most motorists have no idea the danger they represent innocent cyclists. A sharp right turn around a corner, opening your door into a bike lane (called "dooring"), or a moment of inattentiveness, and a cyclist is sideswiped, injured and sometimes abandoned. The motorist drives away, perhaps unaware anything even happened.

Ghost bikes originated only a decade ago in St. Louis, Missouri. There are now over 500 ghost bikes all over the world, most of them in major metropolitan areas where traffic is heavy and the laws that protect cyclists are unknown, unenforced or simply ignored.

"We have several important laws in Chicago that allow cyclists and motor vehicles to share the road safely," said Matt Willens, whose firm handles bicycle injury and death cases. "Drivers are legally required to check for passing cyclists before opening their doors, drivers are not allowed to drift into bike lanes, and vehicles are not permitted to pass a cyclist when making a turn. We hope, at a minimum, our contribution will raise awareness of what happens when these laws are not followed."

The donated Ghost Bike Rack, a beautifully crafted piece of street art, will be painted white and donated to friends or family of the accident victims. It's a reminder that the consequences of neglecting bike laws are truly devastating – and sometimes, regrettably, deadly. If you or a loved one has been struck by a motorist while on a bicycle, please contact our firm at 312-957-4166 or use our online contact form to take advantage of this offer, to ask questions or if you have been a victim of a bicycle collision and would like to speak with a lawyer who handles bicycle injury and death cases.

Willens Law Offices
30 North La Salle Street #3450
Chicago, IL 60602

Matthew Willens of the Willens Law Offices
Chicago
Phone: 312-957-4166
Fax: 312.726.4776
Email