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#1 2013-02-03 20:12:19

ggw
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 35
Website

White Bike

White bike desecrated

Who originally placed the bike?

This white bike subject is topical to Bicycle Austin because it commemerates Debra Prokop who was commuting to work when a pickup truck at a 4 way stop ran over her.

The white bike was found today (Feb 3, 2013) in Waller Creek about 60 yards from 44th & Ave G where it was locked to the fence around the Shipe Park Pool. The lock was on the ground where the bike had been attached. It was open.

I dredged the bike from the creek and put it back, but the lock is surely defective so I left it there. A tennis player said the bike was in its proper place yesterday, Saturday.

I want to get in touch with the one who put the bike there and arrange for securing it again before next Saturday night.

George Wyche
g /at/ cjwyche.org
458-9709

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#2 2013-02-03 21:26:17

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
Website

Re: White Bike

Thanks for posting about this.  I'm sorry I don't know who placed the white bike.  Actually, I've never even seen it, but I always notice the paint in the middle of the intersection.  I've pointed it out to others as well.  Anyway, I hope you find out who placed it.

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#3 2013-02-03 23:10:41

ggw
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 35
Website

Re: White Bike

FWIW I was the one painting the sign in the intersection. Wish I was a better artist, but then I knew it would be about the art, and not about Debra.

I painted it because I came upon the accident about 30 seconds after it happened. I'll go to my grave with the image of her laying, inert, in the middle of Ave. G, with people with phones to their ears and hurrying to her body, and me turning to see the guy sitting on the pavement next to his pickup truck saying over and over, "I didn't see her".

I had some very significant deaths in my close social circle in 2012, and it caused me to wonder at my repainting Debra's commemoration every year (more when it would become defaced). I knew Debra Prokop through our memebership in Hyde Park Neighborhood Association. She was not a close friend.

When the city of Austin repaved all the cross streets in Hyde Park a couple months ago I decided that 10 years of mourning, however shallow or deep, is enough. I don't want "mourning" to be a signficant part of my remaining life.

I am content to see a more institutionalized monument like the White Bike maintained by a wider community. I would eventually have a guilty conscience if I did not take action on this desecration. I worry about a 66 year old guy navigating down the banks of Waller Creek, jumping into the water at dusk, hauling the bike out, pushing it up and out, carrying it the 60 yards back to where it had been. I made no plans, sought no help... just acted like I might have back in 2001. There are a lot of things that I believe will have to stop.

In the talk about the trial bicycle lane just off Kinney, with the pylons to encourage more cycling, Ben Ware, et. al. interviewed cyclists coming and going. One guy was classified as one for whom none of extra amenities mattered one whit. It described me to a T as I've cycled since 1965; cycle to where I need to go; don't need help (don't reject it either), and am no longer within the range of sensitivity to "new to cycling" to be able to be relevant in a conversation. I don't like it.

I'll do a little web searching for White Bike. Bicycle Austin is the only cycling oriented forum I visit..  'cuz you got it all! :^)

PS: No one showed further interest in my last post about how misbehaving cyclists in heavy traffic genuinely make motorists fearful. The exact cause of (that particular) fearful event is soon forgotten, but the gut of the motorist's body does not forget... it gets associated with cyclists. It is an issue worthy of consideration. But I, at least, have seen none of it.

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#4 2013-02-03 23:33:12

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
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Re: White Bike

Oh my god, I didn't know you'd witnessed the death.  That's horrible.  I'm glad you made the effort to memorialize her with the painting, and it's understandable why you don't want to keep doing that forever.

I've always wondered about that collision.  Did the driver stop or not?  Because either he blew the stop sign, or he came to a complete stop and then SOMEHOW DIDN'T SEE THE BICYCLIST after stopping?!  The former seems more likely.

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#5 2013-02-04 19:54:07

ggw
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 35
Website

Re: White Bike

The red pickup truck was past a straight line formed by the 44th street south curbs. It wasn't so far into the intersection that another vehicle would have to swerve to negotiate 44th.

More detail than that I cannot remember.

I did not see Debra get hit. I came to the intersection from West 44th. Saw the guy sitting by his truck, heard what he said, looked north, saw Debra on her back with her arms and legs making a star pattern in the middle of the road, and dead. It seems to me that Debra had been knocked off the bike and she rolled to her resting place, which is many yards down hill to the north from where I stood. There was a woman with a phone to her ear and she was hurrying toward Debra from the North and was about 10 feet away. There was a man just to the east of that woman. There was other activity farther away. I think I recall noise, it may have been shouts.

Reports later said that the bike was under the truck. I don't even remember seeing the bike. But since I saw Debra riding on other occasions, I would have known that she had been on her bike. Those details, I guess, just didn't seem important once I realized it was Debra and she wasn't moving. I do remember wishing that she was just hurt.. unconscious. I really felt utterly powerless.

As I mentioned earlier, at this late date I don't really want to dwell on it. Her 2 childern are adults now. I never saw them again after the memorial in Shipe Park somewhat later.


AND, today after I got home, the Ghost Bike was taken again last night, but it wasn't in the creek this time. I haven't located anyone who knows how the bike came to be there. The investigation is young.

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#6 2013-02-24 00:10:02

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: White Bike

Today I saw a new ghost bike across the street where the previous one was.
Now it is in the northeast corner of 44th and G.

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#7 2013-02-24 10:26:19

ggw
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 35
Website

Re: White Bike

I first saw it yesterday, Saturday morning, 2013-02-23. There was a road bike on its side chained to the fence approximately where the previous Ghost Bike was. That might explain the change in location. Since this is being done anonymously (or at least this forum is out of the loop), it might be moved when the road bike is gone?

Michael Crider has suggested that double chaining/locking of it will aid in preventing its removal. (Its still there today!)

There is a "U" lock on it. Anybody got a spare cable + lock? I'll contribute $5 toward a 2nd lock if nobody does.

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