State Department Of Transportation To Remove Ghost Bike Memorial To Wellfleet Teen

dot – WELLFLEET — Drivers traveling on Route 6 in recent weeks will surely have seen the ghostly white bike propped against the guardrail south of the intersection with Cahoon Hollow Road.

The bike is a memorial to 16-year-old Miles Tibbetts, who was hit in the early afternoon on Aug. 17 as he biked across the highway near there. Rescuers took Tibbetts to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis and then to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, but he died from his injuries, the police said.

Now, two friends, Walter Rowell, 16, and Ray Rowell, 19, both of Wellfleet, have painted a men’s racer bike white and locked it to the guardrail west of the spot where Tibbetts was hit, inspired in part by the international “Ghost Bikes” campaign to honor people injured or killed on their bikes.

This week, state Department of Transportation officials plan to remove the bike because they say it is a driving distraction, a threat to visibility and a safety hazard if a car were to hit the bike, and because there have been complaints about the bike.

The grandparents of Tibbetts and the Rowell family, however, want the bike to stay.

Absolute A+ decision making from these state officials. It is nice to know that we have such smart people in charge of our roads.

Seriously though, how does nobody at the Department of Transportation point out how terrible this idea is when they are discussing it? I don’t care about policies, protocol or how many old pricks with nothing better to do complain about this bike. When 16 year olds die and their friends and grandparents place a tribute to them on the side of the road you simply do not fuck with it. These 16 year old kids have been forced to learn to cope with both the reality of their own mortality as well as the death of a loved one their own age. They are dealing with these simultaneously, for the first time in life, and at an age when neither should be a worry yet. I’m going out on a limb and saying maybe you should bend the rules about bikes on the side of the road in this case?

It is just amazing that people in positions of power can have such a lack of common sense and decency. Let me map it out for the officials of the Department of Transportation. You want to know when the perfect time to remove Miles Tibbetts ghost bike tribute is? Whenever the Rowell boys and Grandma and Grampa Tibbetts decide it is time.


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Comments 4

  1. Thank you, Hippie, for this article supporting my sons and all of us who have lost a dear presence in our lives … one of the young ladies who knew Miles Tibbetts started a petition to MA DOT to Save the Ghost Bike that is nearing its goal of 1000 signatures; see

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