While the state legislature and other pro-Confederate factions are passing laws and holding rallies to protect monuments to slavery,(Hillsborough, 2 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 8, boy howdy!) one cranky guy in Durham (shaking fist at the clouds) wants ghost bikes removed.
Three ghost bikes in Durham commemorate the cyclists who died at those spots when they were hit by a car: Kent Winberry on Duke University and Chapel Hill roads, Seth Vidal on Hillandale Road and Joshua Johnson on University Drive.
Last year Durham City Council passed a roadside memorials policy, which states an altar, ghost bike or other commemoration in the right-of-way can be removed by the General Services Department if it poses a safety hazard or if someone complains. Note that it takes just one control freak to trigger the process.
Well, that someone has complained—Durham resident Khalil Nasir—whose email exchanges with the city (they’re public record), indicate he’s on a power trip to eliminate the bikes, even one that had been removed weeks ago.
“It is a tremendous eyesore to pull up at the light and see a white bicycle attached to a pole with artificial flowers and with a giant ant pile growing around the bike,” he wrote. “As a city we need to continue to make beautification projects such as new subdivisions and commercial developments and not seeing these bikes throughout the city.”
Mr. Nasir, if you’re scrutinizing an ant pile while stopped at a traffic light, you’re part of the road safety problem. And if you think new subdivisions and commercial developments are less visually intrusive than a ghost bike, then we suggest you move to Cary and become the president of your homeowners’ association. But careful, we hear even Cary has ants.
Reasonable people have started a petition at change.org asking the city to amend its policy to prevent one grumpy cat from spoiling the whole litter of kittens.