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Removing My Ghost Bike.


About a year ago, a beloved member of my community was killed by a motor vehicle while riding his bicycle one morning on a sidewalk along the city’s central highway.

The victim was an avid cyclist, a husband, and father of an 18-month old baby.

The loss was tragic. Emotional wounds ran deep. And healing will take time.

To honor his life, a local cycling club hung a white bicycle at a telephone pole in front of the business where the accident took place. These ghost bikes (or ghost cycles, white cycles) serve as a memorial to cyclists who are killed by a motor vehicle. The tradition began in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003 and is now practiced in countries all over the world.

Once erected, these ghost bikes are meant to stay indefinitely. And so it is with the one that hangs in my community, along with the beautiful bouquet of artificial flowers which are attached to the post near the bike’s back wheel. 

When driving past, I do, indeed, remember this dear man when my eyes are drawn to the white metal frame and spoked wheels. On days when the sun is high, the ghost bike takes on the look of a darkened silhouette. Or a spectral appearance when shrouded by low-lying rain clouds.

I completely support erecting memorials such as this and believe they should stay put. But at some point, I’d let the ghost bike haunt me with another subtle statement. And it’s this:

Someone (in this case, a motorist) screwed up. Royally. So don’t ever forget.

It makes me shudder to think… do I do this ghost-bike posting within my own soul? 

I mean, when I’ve made mistakes (anywhere from tiny unmentionables to those most regrettable), do I somehow feel the need to be reminded of it over and over and over? Is the ghost bike I’ve hung really nothing but an unnecessary memorial to my dead, ‘old man’?

God states…

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

And since I died with Christ, I am also happily resurrected with Christ. Death was swallowed up in victory. 

Once I’ve done the dastardly thing, committed the transgression, there’s no ghost bike needed. Otherwise, that spectral frame would only crowd the pre-existing, wooden cross of Calvary that reminds me of my freedom from the guilt of sin. Even the sins I’ve not yet committed. Because I imagine there are a few more transgressions I’ll commit before I breathe my last.

And when I do, I’d rather draw my eye upward to the One who hung on the cross than some eery visual that perpetually haunts me about my failure.

You hanging ghost bikes?


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