This man, David Mathews, placed the newest ghost bike memorial in the USA this morning for a “fallen rider” named Andrew Whitlock who was killed by the driver of a motor vehicle in Atlanta just three days ago. You may pass it if you go to the Georgia Aquarium if you visit Atlanta. It’s near the corner of Ivan Allen Boulevard and Luckie Street. Andrew used to commute by bike just three miles from downtown Atlanta to Georgia Tech. I ride this route often.
David runs a nonprofit organization named BikeFriendly ATL, which arranges all efforts to create and place ghost bikes throughout the Southeastern United States and which relies on donations and volunteers. He told me he never has bikes already painted white, that he simply can’t, that he won’t. He hopes he will not need another one. But then he does. He is the angel who appears after hell happens.
I was about three riders behind David a couple of years ago on Georgia Rides to the Capitol Day to advocate for safer roads for all. He had on the jersey today that I viewed that day during the entire ride. At first it left me speechless. Today, it makes me want to keep speaking out.
RIP, Andrew Whitlock. The entire bike community carries your tragedy forward with the intention of one day achieving effective, enduring change. And thank you, David Mathews, for riding in honor of those who have taken their final ride.