WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A ghost bike was installed on the eastbound roadside of 23rd Street between the Humane Society and Airport Boulevard as a memorial for a cyclist who was killed in that area a year ago.
Dashiell (Dash) Titus Parker was riding his bicycle home from work one evening in 2018 when he was hit and killed by a large trash truck.
His family hopes the memorial installation will bring awareness to bicycle safety and the need for drivers to share the road.
“My son was using his bike for transportation to and from his place of work,” said Parker’s mom and activist Shelly O’Rourke. “I’m installing this ghost bike in his memory, but also as a reminder that it is important to pay attention to the road when behind the wheel, whether in a personal or commercial vehicle. If I can do anything to prevent this loss for another mother, I will, and I hope to bring more attention to bicycle safety not only here in Wilmington, but throughout North Carolina.”
Ghost bikes are somber memorials to bicyclists who have been hit and killed while riding on the street. A bicycle is painted white and placed adjacent to the crash site, accompanied by the rider’s name and other information.
“It’s supposed to be a reminder that we need to share the road but also something that is encouraging for those of us that do cycle. A way to remember that person,” said family friend Christi Cardenas.
GhostBikes.org states, “Ghost bikes serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.”
A group of family members and friends gathered as the bike was installed. They then placed flowers by it and passed out orange ribbons.
“Dash was larger than life. I always said the barometric pressure dropped a few degrees every time Dash walked in the room.”He usually greeted you with a great big hug, often sweaty because he was biking a lot, but he made you feel special. I think that’s what the family wants to carry forward with. Its an unspeakable tragedy to lose a child. It’s unspeakable. But if we can take anything positive from it, one promoting bicycle safety,” said Cardenas.
Switchin’ Gears, the nonprofit bike shop where Parker often had his bikes repaired, donated the bicycle to be used as a ghost bike in his honor.
The family also announced the launch of a nonprofit to be named “Dash Loves You” to continue his love of photography and teaching children how to document their world.
“It’s in the very beginning stages. Dash Loves You is a non-profit that is just being organized and we would love to hear from people who are interested in helping with that," Cardenas said. "The goal is to start a foundation that will be able to teach children about how to use cameras and how to document their lives outside of social media, in a very different way.”