A white ‘ghost bike’ commemorating a 19-year-old cyclist killed in Bath has been removed ahead of a council deadline for removal. The bike had been chained up on Midland Bridge Road since Jake Gilmore’s death in November 2013 but the council recently ordered its removal, citing complaints from members of the public.
Gilmore was riding home from his job at the Lamb and Lion pub in central Bath when he was hit by Raymond Isherwood’s Volkswagen Golf.
Isherwood drove to nearby Royal Victoria Park and covered his car with a plastic sheet to conceal its smashed windscreen and dented body, then walked to his flat.
Gilmore suffered serious head injuries and later died at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.
Isherwood later pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years in jail.
Last month Bath & North East Somerset Council said that the removal of the ghost bike was in line with an initiative being piloted by a number of local authorities across the UK regarding roadside tributes to people who have lost their lives in collisions, as well as bikes used for advertising purposes or ones that have been abandoned.
Cycling UK said that it could not find any evidence of a nationwide policy regarding roadside memorials, and that the approach taken tends to depend on the individual local authority involved.
Gilmore’s parents, who live in Chard, Somerset, said that it should be up to the citizens of Bath to decide whether or not the bike should stay.
The deadline given for removal was Monday, but the Bath Chronicle reports that the bike disappeared on Saturday, with Twitter user GhostBikeBath claiming to have taken it as a result of the council's "sad threat".
Jake will never be forgotten
— Ghost Bike Bath (@GhostBikeBath) April 1, 2017
Regarding the bike’s mooted reappearance, GhostBikeBath added that they had been told that the council, “have trumped up some ‘policy’ that they are allowed for 30 days.”
A council spokesman said:
"We are currently undertaking a six-month trial (through to June 2017) to remove bikes such as these and those used for illegal advertising following complaints from members of the public concerned that pedestrians could trip or knock into them. The trial is similar to those adopted by other local authorities.
"The council received a complaint last July about the bike being messy with brown and muddy flowers. This follows other comments about roadside memorials, which led to the policy being drafted.
"We are sympathetic to the use of bikes being used for memorials but we ask that they are removed within one month. They can be returned to mark anniversaries, but must be removed after 30 days."