Ghost Bikes

This chilling yet beautiful ghost bike video was created by Sam Scott-Hunter, a photographer from London, England. He’s given permission to Critical Mass Houston to promote his message, please share.

Ghost Bikes from Sam Scott-Hunter on Vimeo.

From Sam:

I’d seen Ghost Bikes all over London over the years, but in the run up to making this film, I lived near a large roundabout in East London, very close to the Olympic site, and there were a couple of ghost bikes there which I would pass all the time.

I’d heard about the deaths, and I’d thought a lot about photographing them, but I didn’t know how I could do justice to these memorials. Then I thought the time lapse technique would help capture the rushing of the cars, which is really important. Although the film is made up of thousands of still photographs, each photograph on its own lacks that relationship between the speeding traffic and the stillness of the memorial.

So I started, and I spent many, many, cold nights, standing out on the streets, taking lots and lots of photographs, which were edited together into this film.

I’d like to think I did it in the spirit of the ghost bikes themselves – it’s meant to be visually arresting, to get people’s attention, and point out what happened there. I think they’re important.

Listening to London news and traffic reports, you’d think a death on the road was only an inconvenience to everyone else. But it’s the most terrible and tragic thing that can happen, and I think there should be memorials and warnings and reports that reflect how horrible a thing it is. But it’s the nature of a big city that people evolve a numbness to these incidents, me included.

I think the horror of these tragedies should be expressed to other people, but its very difficult to vocalize this without aggressive confrontation, or making the other person switch off entirely. Ghost Bikes are one way making people aware of what happened.

I’m not a fundamentalist cyclist. At the moment I drive my car more than I cycle, and I use the tube more than that. It seems that whatever mode of transport is being used, people in the city can be unpleasant to each other, and distanced from the harm they do to others. In a minor way, that might be people on a crowded tube train not making room for other people to get on, and in the most extreme way, it’s drivers not really caring if they knock someone over. It might be in a sudden flash of anger, or a subconscious carelessness that’s built up over time. But cars and lorries are incredibly dangerous machines to be careless with.

That’s why ghost bikes, and any other roadside memorials are important for people unconnected to the person who died, because road users forget, and they need constant reminders of the dangers.

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