The white bike placed by Bricycles at the scene of James Danson
Hatcher’s death has been removed. The Council told Bricycles that "The
police were of the opinion that this bike was a potential distraction
to other road users… and contacted the City Council requesting that
the ‘ghost-bike’ be removed on safety grounds." The Council added that
their policy allows roadside memorials to be left by the roadside for a
maximum period of twelve weeks from the date of the collision.
However such safety concerns and the 12 week rule appear to have been overcome with the roadside memorial to PC Jeffrey Tooley on the A259 in Southwick who tragically died there in 1999. The Head of Sussex’s Road Policing Unit, Supt. Steve Barry participated in a roadside memorial service here on 25/4/09, which included the distracting sight of a bagpiper in full regalia and the laying of a wreath by the Police Federation. Bricycles is deeply sympathetic to the bereaved family and colleagues, but is very disappointed by the hypocritical actions of the police with regards to these two tragic cases.
Bricycles strongly disagrees that the stationary ghost bike with its discreet sign presented any road hazard at all. On the contrary, drivers on this road should expect to see cyclists, runners, or walkers at this popular beauty spot. The real road hazard at this junction is created by speeding motor vehicles which should be slowed down, but no action has been taken about that.
Brake, the road safety charity, say that flowers and other memorials "provide a stark reminder to others of the consequences of bad driving".
A representative of James Danson Hatcher’s family commented: “My family and I want the bike put back because the bike acts a reminder to motorists to slow down”.
Bricycles has written to the City Council, Roadpeace and CTC to raise these concerns.