Do Ghost Bikes Help or Hurt?

At the bike summit on Saturday, there was an interesting comment in the “Why People Don’t Ride” session.

Ghost Bikes scare people.

The white bicycles, placed at locations where riders have been killed are (as I understand it) intended as a combination memorial and reminder to our leaders that we need to make conditions safer.

But the implication from the person making the comment was that they remind people that they can get killed riding a bike.

Yes, I know that it’s getting safer every year, and you can get killed riding in a car as well, but the question still remains. In the context of getting more people to ride, in the trade-off between goading improvements in safety and scaring potential riders, are Ghost Bikes a net positive or a net negative?

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