To memorialize accident victim Eugene Thornburg and call attention to road safety for bicyclists and motorists, his family will give the town a permanent “ghost bike” to be installed outside the town’s Public Safety Building.
Thornburg, a 61-year-old Wayland resident, was one of two bicyclists killed in accidents on Lincoln roads last summer when he was hit by a car near the intersection of Routes 117 and 126. A memorial service with a temporary ghost bike was held at the scene in September 2016, but keeping it permanently at that site wouldn’t be safe because of traffic concerns, Police Chief Kevin Kennedy said at the June 12 Board of Selectmen meeting.
After an investigation, no criminal or civil motor vehicle charges were filed filed as a result of the accident. However, the town established a seven-member Cycling Safety Advisory Committee earlier this year to develop recommendations for improving cycling safety in Lincoln.
“Ghost bikes” are old bicycles that are stripped down, spray-painted white, and locked to a sign or parking meter close to the site of a fatal bike accident. The bikes are usually installed anonymously by a fellow cyclist, though members of the bicycling community sometimes hold ceremonies at ghost bike sites to commemorate the dead cyclist.. The first ghost bike appeared in St. Louis in 2003 and the movement has spread internationally as a way to raise awareness about bicycle safety and sharing the road.
A member of Thornberg’s family is fabricating the ghost bike, which will be installed along with plantings in the fall. It will also bear a plaque saying “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
“When he rode his bike, that’s kind of how he went. Any chance he had to go out there on his bike, that’s where he was, said Thornberg’s widow Patrice Thornberg.
Selectman James Craig thanked family members for “working with town to turn this tragedy into something we hope can educate.”