KATY, TX (Covering Katy) – White bicycles, completely white—tires, frame, seat and handlebar can be seen chained to a tree, maybe a sign post along the streets in Katy and Houston. The bicycles are part of an international effort, Ghost Bikes, in which Houston and Katy are part of. The bikes recognize the victims of fatal bicycle accidents.
One of the Ghost Bikes in Katy is in memory of Larry Lott, killed March 30, 2009 after being struck by a car at the intersection of South Fry and Shillington. Counting fatality markers on the map found at shows over 50 bikers have lost their lives on Houston streets, including Katy.
Richard Tomlinson, who lives in Silsbee, is a member of the Houston cycling community and a big part of the Houston Ghost bike group. He spends his own money to memorialize fellow cyclists.
“I try to find the least objectionable piece of structure to attach it to, somewhere that won’t interfere with traffic or city work,” he says. He gets the bikes from area cycling shops and from private donations. Some people have bikes in their garage they no longer ride or that have been damaged, but they want them to go to good, sobering use.
Each bike is stripped of its chain and gears, things that could get pulled off by people passing by. He paints them with white spray paint in his backyard. He welds the bikes so that they cannot be driven in case someone removes them from where they have been installed.
He’s not responsible for all the ghost bikes in town, but says he’s done most of the work. He says some friends and families of loved ones who have died while cycling prefer to do it themselves, and some don’t want the bike memorial at all, for various reasons.
All the bikes he’s installed have a sticker with his contact information so families can reach him either about removal or any other questions they might have.
He’s not worried about city workers tampering with them or removing them as the mayor assured him that city workers will not tamper with the bikes.