Monday, November 24, 2008
A few days ago, Jon and I were driving through Midtown and saw a Ghost Bike. It was white, covered in frost -- a stark sight. I hadn't known it was there, but quickly realized that this was a memorial to a young man whose name I didn't yet know. I found out later it was placed at the intersection after a memorial ride, attended by about a dozen cyclists who then dispersed into the wintery night.
There's no name on the bike. But it was placed there in memory of Jonathan Johnson. According to the local paper, Jonathan was struck by an SUV on October 20th as he rode his bike through the intersection of 40th Avenue and C Street. It was during the early morning commute. He was 19.
I didn't know him, but I did learn that he was the oldest of six kids. Anyone who has lost a sibling suddenly, tragically and so young can relate to the grief that this is causing them. As his brothers and sisters mark life’s milestones, they will hopefully grow into adulthood and lead satisfying lives while Jonathan will be forever remembered as he was. Nineteen.
Today I stopped by the site and stood near the bike as cars zoomed past or stopped at the intersection. Nobody asked me what I was doing, what the bike meant. Maybe they knew. Maybe they weren't curious enough to ask. As I crossed the street back to my car, the walk light came on and two cars made right turns in front of me before I could step off the curb. That's Anchorage. We must be ever vigilant.