Thursday, February 22, 2007

Picture by Visual Resistance
Small article in this weeks Time Out NY about memorials and Ryan Nuckel of Visual Resistance who has contributed art to cyclists killed.

Time Out New York / Issue 595: February 22–28, 2007

A small tribute brings the issue of pedestrian safety to the fore. (p. 8)

Every year hundreds of New York pedestrians are struck and killed by cars. But if Ryan Nuckel of Visual Resistance, a public arts organization that agitates for traffic safety, has his way, these deaths won't slip away like yesterday's headlines. In January, the group put up its first memorial for a slain pedestrian- a simple white dove shaped sign marking the death of Peter Hornbeck, run down by a driver at Park Avenue and 96th Street in 2004.
The marker is a follow-up to the group's "ghost bike" project, which began in 2005 when they placed a painted white bicycle on the corner of Warren Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope to commemorate the death of 28-year-old cyclist Liz Padilla, killed by a truck. Since then they've installed 25 of these homages throughout the city.
Initially, the ghost bikes were simply a gesture of remembrance. But according to Nuckel, "they've become a focal point for people's anger, a symbol for the need for bike safety and alternative transportation."
Like the ghost bikes, the dove memorials state the person's name and date killed. Additionally, they include the number of pedestrians killed the previous year. (There were 170 in 2006.) Nuckel believes most of these deaths could have been prevented if the city had exercised stricter enforcement of traffic laws or made infrastructure changes, like adding concrete bollards to curbs.
The work really hit home for Nuckel in December, when close friend Eric Ng was killed while riding on the West Side bike path. "A drunk driver was actually on the path," he says. "All of a sudden, I wasn't doing this for strangers anymore." -written by Daniel Derouchie


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