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Ghost bike

on April 1, 2009

I was recently riding down Powell Street towards Emeryville and noticed a ghost bike on the corner of Vallejo Street. This is one of the first ghost bikes I’ve seen in Oakland. I did some research and found out it was for Matthew Sperry, a musician who was killed by a distracted driver while riding his bicycle to work on June 5, 2003.

When Matthew was killed there was a public outpouring of grief. There were protests, memorial concerts and someone put up this ghost bike on the corner. His family doesn’t know who put it there, it just appeared.

Ghost bikes are bicycles that are painted all white and usually are covered in flowers and have signs or small plaques about the person who was killed. They are locked at the site of the crash and serve as memorials and reminders that a cyclist was killed in that spot. The first ghost bike was put up in St. Louis, Missouri and now they are all over the U.S.

Nearly six years later, Matthew’s ghost bike still sits on this corner reminding us what happened here. These are some photos I took:




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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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