Towards Ghosts that Last

I see in the media that Ottawan’s were treated to the dubious spectacle of both another ghost bike (out on Hunt Club Road) and its first ghost pedestrian, on Woodroffe near Knightsbridge.

The ghost bike concept is a good one. The ghost bike, started as a guerilla action and now gone establishment, reminds subsequent passers-by of the fragility of life and to be careful for cyclists. On a road verge, the bike might remain for months (eg Bronson at the Canal) but is less welcome in front of an office building (eg Queen Street near Metcalfe) or doesn’t fit the bureaucratic mindset of organizations like the NCC (very short-lived memorials at POW bridge or Sliddel).

The ghost pedestrian, installed by Councillor Holmes recently, is timely and overdue. I won’t hazard a guess as to how long it will last in place. I saw it on Woodroffe on Monday and yes, it will spark conversation from some passers by well into the future.

In Boston last week, I came across this ghost bike that solved a problem I didn’t realize existed. Hidden a bit behind the ghost bike itself, is a much smaller metal cut-out that commemorates the person at the scene of death.

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It has the name of the “accident” victim and date of birth/death. At first, I misread it as the date of death, ie when hit and killed. It is attached to a tree beside the intersection with a ribbon. It could easily be removed, like the ghost bike itself attached by a sturdier bike lock chain, should someone wish to do so.

But what if it was attached to the tree permanently, loosely nailed to the tree with a minimally-harmful spike? Or attached to a nearby sign post, or to its own stake?  When the ghost bikes are long gone, and pedestrian manikin has disappeared, the lesson also disappears. A smaller scale permanent marker might be suitable for a long term aide mémoire.

What do you think?


PS: I much prefer something attached to a post, that would be more visible than a small brass plug inserted in the sidewalk, like below. A “dangly” item would be visible to some motorists, especially if idling near an intersection.

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2 thoughts on “Towards Ghosts that Last

  1. What I think is worth nothing. It is how JIMMY WATSON with his 2% tax freeze will stand for this useless killing and MAMING OF PEDESTRIANS. It is the ones that are injured for LIFE .that I grieve for. May Watson have mercy on those injured people souls. They will remember it every day for the rest of their lives Take it from someone whom is wheelchair bound. JOHN WOODHOUSE Co-chair of Walk Ottawa.

  2. Let’s look at the last month…then, let’s look at the the last year or two; it’s disgusting; bridges & way-warding in one decision or another. I have asked this question to many; “Did Jim Watson have a lobotomy in T.O.?” Beforehand, he may have been considered a well-respected individual. All of a sudden, he became someone we do not like to claim.
    look at Landsdowne, unfair competition, oh, that would be Toronto.

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