Story Behind ‘Ghost Bike’ Memorial For Grand Junction Bicyclist
If you drive past the intersection of 7th Street and Mesa Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado, you'll spot a white bicycle on the northeast corner.
What's the message behind this "ghost bike" memorial?
Cyclist Killed In Accident on August 3, 2022
The memorial is for Grand Junction's Douglas Sorter, a cyclist who was killed near the intersection. According to the Daily Sentinel, the accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
Douglas Sorter, 67, a 1980 graduate of Colorado Mesa University, and a 2021 recipient of the Colorado Mesa University Distinguished Alumni Award, was well known throughout western Colorado due to his work with STRiVE.
A Somber Memorial
Visit the intersection of 7th Street and Mea Avenue in Grand Junction, and you'll see a bicycle, completely white, chained to the street sign on the northeast corner.
These memorials are referred to as "Ghost Bikes." If you look at the bike at the intersection, you'll see a sign with a web page and a QR code. These are for the Ghost Bikes webpage.
According to ghostbikes.org:
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.
Origin of These Memorials
The act of placing these bikes at the scene of accidents began in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2003. Since then, over 630 "Ghost Bike" memorials have appeared in over 210 locations around the globe.
As of the morning of Tuesday, August 9, 2022, this Grand Junction memorial has not been listed on ghostbikes.org.
Reaction From Grand Junction
Local cycling enthusiast and bike shop owner Chris Brown posted on Facebook on Monday, August 8, "Always sad to see this on the road. By tradition, cyclists will set up a ghost bike on the side of the road when one of theirs goes down." He added, "RIP Doug Sorter. It looks as though you had a great ride."
It is unknown how long this memorial will remain at the site. I strongly encourage you to visit the intersection at 7th and Mesa Avenue in Grand Junction. It's a touching, thought-provoking memorial for a Grand Junction icon.