Thinking allowed — 05 March 2009

They are becoming a familiar sight alongside many British roads. More than 100 old bicycles painted white and chained to lamp posts and railings have sprung up at ‘danger-spots’ over the past year.

Dubbed ‘ghost-bikes’, they have been put there to warn motorists approaching dangerous bends to look out for cyclists and, in many cases, have been left at locations where riders were killed.

The UK campaign was started by road safety campaigner Steve Allen after his friend James Foster was struck by a drunk driver doing 55mph on a 30mph road as he cycled in north London. Angry at what he believed to be a lenient sentence, Steve set off on a quest to highlight the dangers for cyclists on Britain’s roads.

Mr Allen established a United Kingdom branch of Ghost Bikes a group that operates in 43 countries. Picking up the bikes for a pittance from landfill dumps and scrap metal merchants he painted them white in his back garden. Now more than 100 of them are to be found in London, Oxfordshire, Manchester and Brighton, although local councils have removed many of them.

One of the white bikes is on a junction in Hackney, North London. It was erected in April after the death of cyclist Anthony Smith, 37, who was crushed by a lorry.

CabbieBlog for once does not have much to say, just it’s a pity these selfish drivers that I see every day on London’s roads didn’t for one moment think what these bikes mean. Keep up the good work Steve.

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