The Sanitation Department has quickly reversed itself on a plan to remove all of the approximately 50 Ghost Bike memorials locked up around town. The original removal plan was part of a larger initiative to clear the sidewalks of derelict, broken down bikes that have been locked to city property (street signs, etc.) and forgotten. Those bikes would still be targeted under the proposal [pdf], but late yesterday the Sanitation Department issued a statement saying that a "memorial bicycle (ghost rider) will only be removed... if the memorial bicycle meets the derelict bicycle criteria."
In other words, if the Ghost Bike has not been maintained and is missing parts, it'll be carted off. But most of the Ghost Bikes seem to be well maintained by the deceased cyclists' loved ones (although sometimes they do get damaged). "Somehow ghost bikes are being integrated into that policy of removing abandoned bikes, and the reality is that ghost bikes aren't abandoned," said Caroline Samponaro of Transportation Alternatives, before the Sanitation Department's reversal.
Today marks the four year anniversary of the death of Dr. Carl Henry Nacht, who was killed when an NYPD tow truck made a sudden turn onto the Hudson River Greenway, where he was biking with his wife Mary Beth Kelly. She regularly visits the Ghost Bike memorial at 38th Street and the West Side Highway, and tells the News, "It was the last place my husband and I were fully alive." And she tells CBS2, "The same thing could happen to someone else and the bike also serves as a reminder of that—pay attention, notice, you may feel that you are safe but this is dangerous."