A Very Moving Tribute


This is a tribute to the bicyclist who was hit and killed by a garbage truck back in July. I was moved by the fresh flowers in the basket.

It did make wonder though, I know there are folks who complain about the teddy bear tributes that go up from time to time when a youth is shot and killed. You see them sometimes on Sherman Ave. or upper 14th Street among other locations. There is even a blog called Washington’s Other Monuments that documents these memorials. It is also a very moving site.

Do you think there are folks who complain about the tribute photographed above? (It’s located near La Tomate on Connecticut Ave.)

35 Comment

  • Are you trying to stir the pot here, PoP? I dont think anyone would mind this tribute, to say the least.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    No, I’m honestly curious.

  • i was in a major accident last week at sherman and irving where a guy ran a red light at full speed and crashed into me while i was driving across irving, totaling both vehicles. i want to put up a huge sign that says, “Hey you!! Don’t run the red light. I was almost killed here by someone doing exactly what you’re doing.”

  • i think its beautiful

  • A moving and beautiful memorial.

  • Well there’s this, which is still looking nice after so long, then there’s the teddy bears that are duct taped to a light post, and they have been rained on and are deteriorating. Equally moving in either case, but one still looks respectable, one looks like garbage.

  • I’m with alaaro. these “ghost bikes” (they are in place all across the US) are designed to be tasteful and powerful in the long term. not just deposited and abandoned to the elements.

  • I think the memorial is moving- don’t get me wrong. I drive past it every day and it always reminds me to be careful around bikers. However, at some point the old bike becomes trash and not a memorial. It’s been up there for 9 months. I can definitely see an argument that it’s time to go.


  • I generally find all of these monuments a little silly and self-aggrandizing — “my grief, and the wisdom it brings me, is so profound that I must express in public for you to see” — but think they’re fine. That’s part of the city, right?

    But, even this bike should have a pull-by date. Probably soon.

    Essay question — compare these type of memorials with the spray-painted “RIPs” found on alley walls all over town.

  • saf

    I have issues with all of these sorts of memorials.

    Yes, put it up for a while, if you must. But only for a while. After that, it becomes an unsightly danger.

    And yes, that goes for bikes, stuffed animals, etc.

    And as for graffiti memorials, those are always objectionable, unless they are on the painters’ own property.

    In general, I find public grief inappropriate.

  • For me – it’s not the public grief – what I don’t get is placing a memorial at the spot where a person dies. I would want to be remembered and memorilized where I lived. Like those memorials on the side of the road – just morbid to me.

  • I wonder if the bike still works. How much longer do you think until someone steals it?

  • I work a block from the bike. Definitely not worth stealing.

  • For the short term, I have is no problem with a temporary memorial that last several weeks. There seems to be a trend towards more permanent memorials in the city and along highways. We live in a society that has been and will be around for a long time with millions of people passing through in space and time. I bet if memorials were placed around every public place that someone was killed in the past 100 years, either intentionally or accidentally, the city would look like a massive graveyard. People live and die and we need to move on.

  • Well said MovinOn

  • I agree with saf here. I’m actually surprised this bike is still there and really don’t see the point after all this time. If you must save it, move it to a graveyard where it belongs.

  • They could take a page from the Vietnam memorial, where flowers and unit badges and such are removed every night at midnight I think, catalogued and stored somewhere, treated with respect, etc. Just a thought. They teddy bear and flower memorials get simply gross and macabre after a month or so anyways, like Pet Sematary stuff.

  • They could take a page from the Vietnam memorial, where flowers and unit badges and such are removed every night at midnight I think, catalogued and stored somewhere, treated with respect, etc. Just a thought. The teddy bear and flower memorials get simply gross and macabre after a month or so anyways, like Pet Sematary stuff.

  • I do not like these things.

    Aren’t graveyards where the memorials are supposed to be? I mean, that’s what graveyards are, places to build monuments to your dead loved ones.

    I know this sounds cold, but I don’t really care about your grief, I have my own.

  • The point is not so much for people to put their grief “on display”, but to tell everyone who passes that someone died, on that street, in that space, doing something that thousands of people do every day. It could have been anyone. But it was her.

    If it has any practical purpose at all, I think it reminds bikers, motorists, and pedestrians to be careful.

    Of course, it will be gone eventually, because nothing is permanent. But I feel like the real reason people protest such memorials is not because “it’s an eyesore” or it’s “been there too long” but because it reminds them of their own mortality.

  • There is a memorial just like this in Park Slope in Brooklyn. When I saw the pic, I thought it was the same bike. This seems more appropriate than a teddy bear and liquor bottle shrine.

  • It hasn’t been stolen because, like most ghost bikes, it’s unrideable – flat tires and no chain.

    As a bike commuter who rides by the ghost bike several times a week, I like to see it there. There’s only one of them in the entire city – it’s not like they’re clogging the streets – and it reminds us all to slow down and be careful.

  • Value as a memorial: negligible. Value as a reminder for road safety (to bikers and drivers alike): infinite.

    I say let it be until D.C. improves its traffic laws.

  • One of the reasons this particular memorial may still be up is that there has yet to be any resolution to this killing. All the publicly released info point to a trash truck driver simply driving into a bike lane, running over & killing this woman. The driver stayed on the scene but I don’t believe was charged or arrested. How this wasn’t a case of vehicular homicide or manslaughter is a mystery to me. I guess this is what we get for having a police dep’t that fails to enforce traffic violations in any real capacity.

  • I’m a 300+ day bike commuter and I’m with KKenyon and 2b3s – it’s just not about this particular woman, although what happened to her (while in a bike lane) was grisly and really sad, but to remind drivers and riders to be careful.

    btw, did anyone ever hear what happened to the driver of the garbage truck that killed her?

  • I believe the driver, Marco Rosendo Flores-Fuentes of Falls Church is still employed by KMG trash hauling.

  • I am not persuaded that the bike serves any value as a reminder. Aren’t we all scolded enough times, every day, that the value of the scold is diminished almost to non-existence?

    I am certain that the bicycle affects my driving and my children’s cycling (and my children’s driving) not at all.

    [I have no idea if it signals any progress in the investigation, but the other Sunday the cops were out, with a trash truck parked within paint marks which seemed to represent where the truck ended up on the day of the accident, with cameras and tape measures and such.]

  • i’m a bit suprised that so many are against these memorials.

    has anyone ever been hurt by these shrines?

  • Ordinarily these are aesthetically objectionable. In this instance, however, it is a reminder of a gross failure by the MPD, and terrible negligence on the part of the driver. It’s is serving its purpose in that a few dozen people are talking about it, and it’ll be even better if some of us put pressure on MPD and local officials to explain what they’ll do to prevent similar crimes from being committed in the future.

  • Just to pick up the who’s at fault issue, I believe she was in the trucks blind spot and it turned over her. Sure, she was in a bike lane, but hanging out in the blind spot of a truck is just dumb riding. I know there are lines painted on the road, but the laws of physics are immutable. Do you blindly cross a road as a pedestrian even if you have the right of way? No. Whenever you drive, are you not aware that at any moment things can go wrong? Why should it be different on a bike? Sure, you have the right to be on a bike, but that doesn’t mean no problems or errors might occur, in this case the rider got killed. I hesitate to blame the truck driver, honestly. I’ve ridden in the city for years, and self righteous bikers who believe they can survive a game of chicken with motor vehicles just need to learn how to ride and be aware of things like trucks.

  • I’ve driven large trucks, buses and emergency vehicles in the city for years. Even back to the ’70’s most large vehicles have blind spot mirrors. Either this driver didn’t have them adjusted correctly or didn’t bother to look at them.

  • Are you willing to bet your life, literally, that the drivers are checking those mirrors, and that you are clearly visible? Or perhaps its better to hang back a bit and let the massive truck do its thing. Just saying…

  • Or maybe Pennywise, everyone, occasionally has a momentary lapse in attention. Only usually, we get to walk away from it, and we remember to be more careful the next time. She didn’t get that chance.

    God, what the hell is the point in assigning blame to a dead woman?

  • Pennywise, i’m the first to complain about rude, reckless cyclists in town. I’m also a big advocate of “riding scared” and assuming that no driver ever sees you. she was a rookie, but she was sticking to the bike lane, the way a rookie should.

    a driver of any vehicle accepts MUCH larger moral and legal responsibility when getting behind the wheel. driving in an urban environment means crazy shit is happening all around you, so you must exercise greater caution.

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