ghost bike

It is hard to talk in front of a ghost bike
because it means that someone died

someone died due to dangers that could be prevented
with better infrastructure
but also
with taking care of each other

if you are sitting in a car
you are 

you are isolated and safe
compared to pedestrians, cyclists, and,
we guess we have to say it,
you are quite safe

you don’t know how good it feels to have the wind on your skin
and you don’t feel the heat of the city streets in summer

but you also don’t know how bad wind and rain combined are
and you still feel your fingers and toes in winter
and for sure
you will not feel that little heart attack when a car passes by you
way too close with
full speed,
puffing exhaust in your face

and you don’t know how your legs shake
after a cars door flies open right in front of you
on that shitty narrow bike lane next to parked cars
and you only got away because
you’re used to anticipating 
the thoughtless actions
of car drivers

we all know how that feels like
but we also know that

riding a bike can be the best thing in the world
and we would never not ride a bike

especially in a city
where we would have so much more space
without cars
and less air pollution
and less noise pollution

riding a bike is maybe the best thing in the world
even if people tell us that it is dangerous

even if there are a thousand cops 
annoying us for a missing reflector
and for not sticking to the rules
that were made for cars

but cyclists are also part of the traffic
some might say
and yes we are

still, we do not ride a ton of metal
with 100 kilometers per hour

we cannot bring that much harm
but are punished anyway

it’s our fault that we’re getting runover by cars,
if we are not wearing a helmet
it’s our fault that cyclists are hated,
if we run a red light

and they say
we have to be quiet and respectful first,
and a well-behaved example for society
to deserve to be listened to

that maybe politics will make compromises
that the streets will be more safe
even though this safety concept is based on repression

fuck that
women, gays, queers, intersex, non-binary, trans, migrants, people with disabilities have heard that too many times already

don’t get us wrong
we do appreciate the small changes,
but it’s almost like they always come with conditions?

Traffic safety, for us as cyclists,
won’t happen by conforming to the rules
(sometimes that doesn’t even save us from the cops)

we get safety through knowing our limits and those of others
and through taking responsibility for our actions

but also
we can never be perfectly safe

so why is there so much blaming and discussion about
whose fault it is
and why are only the most tragic accidents
worth a discussion?
because it just fits in this political climate:
it is a social climate of hate
caused by rightwing politicians
and attention-grabbing media

of course it feels better
if it’s always someone else’s fault

and we ask them
what are you afraid of?
are you afraid of losing your privileges?
are you afraid of being in the minority?
or is it because you only ever ask: “what’s in it for me?”
and don’t know the value of community

we think that a ghost bike
is a nice way to commemorate the person on that bike

and we also think that taking the road together
being in the critical mass, being loud and visible together
is a good way to create awareness for cyclists
even if it sometimes might create some hate

but as we said before already
fuck that
as non-conformists we’ve been confronted with hate a lot

we have the right to the road
we have the right to be safe
we have the right to be mobile
we have the right be loud and nasty