Caltrans Dislikes Ghost Bike Memorials that Honor Bicyclist’s Lives

Last May, Nick Venuto was killed when riding on the bike path that parallels State Route 56 when a driver lost control of her SUV while speeding and flipped over and onto the bike path instantly killing Venuto who was riding by at that moment. As is the custom around the country, riders wishing to honor a dead rider’s life and memorialize it placed a ghost bike on the flimsy chainlink fence that separates the bike path from SR-56 – the fence that did nothing to save Venuto‘s life.

Now, I just learned that Caltrans is forbidding any memorials being placed on the flimsy fence separating the bike path from State Route 56.

The note states:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) sympathizes with your loss and understands your efforts to remember your loved one with this roadside memorial, but the state law prohibits such monuments to be placed alongside the roadway for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. Please contact the Caltrans Public Information Office at 619-688-6670 as soon as possible to make arrangements for the removal of this memorial. If no contact is made with the office by 7-20-12, we will remove the items and store them for up to 30 days at one of our maintenance offices for your pick up.

I have contacted Seth Cutter, our bike/ped coordinator to ask for some clarification on this notice and will post an update when I hear back from him.