Artist responds to angry reaction to white bike installations

Screenshot from 2014 video profile on Dr. Nik from Observer Media Group / YouTube

“It wasn’t my purpose to create anger… I never anticipated negativity from this until now.”

– Dr. Nik

The reaction in the community to a dozen or so white bikes that have been installed around northeast Portland has been strong and swift. Ever since our first story about them, people have reached out to share how the bikes trigger sadness because they look like ghost bikes. The bikes evoke even stronger emotions because they are small bikes and many people assume a child was hit and killed in a traffic collision whenever they see one.

Since our story yesterday that uncovered the mystery of who’s behind the bikes — an artist who goes by Dr. Nik (that’s his stage name, his real name is William Pearson) who just moved to Portland in September — we’ve been deluged with hundreds of comments both on here and on Instagram. The vast majority of the responses to Dr. Nik’s peace project have been negative. Many people expressed anger that he knows what ghost bikes are, yet still decided to continue with his project. Others accuse him of appropriating a piece of bike culture for his own pet project. Some people have threatened to remove the bikes altogether.

Here’s a sampling of the comments:

Dear new Portlander, please respect symbols we find sacred, cease immediately and take down the ones you’ve put up

Don’t occupy bike parking indefinitely, mimic ghost bikes, then call it art. If peace is your goal, read the room and try a different approach.

I sincerely thought a child cyclist died near moda center, this is so disrespectful to the real ghost bikes honoring folx whose lives have been lost while biking. I hope these are removed.

First time I saw one was in front of Boise elementary and I found it incredibly alarming. I thought I’d somehow missed a child being killed on a bike in my own neighborhood. Pretty quickly figured out it wasn’t the case and was relieved.

“I’m an artist. Don’t tell me how to paint my pictures.” Plenty of artists steer away from plenty of mediums out of respect, it doesn’t make sense to knowingly abuse the concept of ghost bikes like this

Yeah, this isn’t love. This is ignorance. Ignorance to trauma, pain, and the overwhelming amount of death vulnerable roadway users face.

I spoke to Dr. Nik again today to make sure he was aware of the strong reactions to our story (he wasn’t, he hadn’t been online at all yesterday). When I explained how his work and his comments were being received by many people in our community, he became concerned.

“Would you consider changing the color?” I asked. “Yes, I will consider it,” he replied.

“The last thing I want is somebody to get angry. I don’t want that. It wasn’t my purpose to create anger… I never anticipated negativity from this until now. And I definitely don’t want that,” he continued.

Dr. Nik said he’d welcome anyone who wants to repaint the existing bikes. He plans to continue his project and install many more bikes around town in the coming weeks and months; but from now on he’ll decorate them similar to how he did them in his former hometown of Sarasota, Florida. When I came across his bikes in that city they were painted bright colors like neon green and pink.

He said the next bike he paints will be polka dot.

I believe Dr. Nik means well, but perhaps didn’t fully appreciate the cultural and cycling dynamics that exist in Portland. He’s new to town and seems to really loves bikes and creative activism just like many of us do. Hopefully folks are willing to give him another chance! Learn more about Dr. Nik in this September 2022 news profile from a Sarasota TV station (where he says, “Portland doesn’t know what they’re in for”), on his personal website, or in the video below:

UPDATE, 1:23: KGW picked up the story and it appears to confirm that Dr. Nik will relent and remove the white bikes.

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Hotrodder
Hotrodder
8 days ago

Soft hardware store chain, police apathy, and an underground community with unlimited access to battery powered angle-grinders tells me that “Florida Man” will be missing a goodly portion of his public art installation, sooner rather than later.

But, that could be part of the art! Where will they end up? Under the Ross Island Bridge? NE 33rd and Marine Drive? Powell Blvd? Vancouver? Next to Dante’s?

I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled, and pictures will be taken.

kookcommando
kookcommando
8 days ago
Reply to  Hotrodder

Lefty rhetoric about direct action that will inevitably be taken by someone else is soooo tired and boring.

Hotrodder
Hotrodder
8 days ago
Reply to  kookcommando

Lefty rhetoric? Ha! What a laugh! It”s an observation, kookoocoochoo. Nothing is safe on the streets in Portland, I seriously doubt this installation will be any different. Personally, I have no intention of removing, repurposing or repainting his work, but there is a fairly large subculture of ‘off-the-grid denizens’ who’ve decided what’s mine is ours, and they’ll surely find ways to liberate the doves.

And I like to take pictures of stuff that’s not where it should be. It’s my kink, I guess.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
8 days ago

Fair enough, glad he is willing to adjust. Thanks for staying on this story Jonathan

Granpa
Granpa
8 days ago

You only get to make one first impression

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago

I don’t know where to begin. I am a little horrified at the intolerance shown to the artist. The eagerness to destroy Dr. Nik’s work was surprisingly widespread and eager. I wasn’t sure if those expressing harm were simply being keyboard commandoes or they really felt entitled to destroy what they didn’t like. It really seems to be something unfortunate where the tolerant think themselves that until they are not.
ps. frequent reader, infrequent contributor

Frank Perillo
Frank Perillo
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

I’m not surprised. Folks have shown how quickly they can pull down statues.

Chris I
Chris I
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Have you ever lost someone to traffic violence?

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Is that a rhetorical question, or are you looking for a way to shut down and dismiss my viewpoint?

Chris I
Chris I
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

I’m just curious. Hoping you can understand that the sight of a child’s bike painted as a ghost bike is horrifying for many of us, and often due to personal trauma.

And I think it’s fair to recognize that unsanctioned art in public spaces belongs to all of us. We can do with it as we see fit. Maybe we just have a different artistic interpretation.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Since when has unsanctioned art in Portland of all places been an issue?? I have indeed lost loved ones to traffic violence and to all kinds of other violence. That doesn’t give me the right to hound some artist because their art reminds me of tragedy. Also, your statement that public spaces belong to all seems to imply it’s okay to destroy things you don’t like, but others might. A very slippery slope.

Paul H
Paul H
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

First rule: assume good faith until that assumption is disproven. I don’t think it’s fair to assume everyone knows our secret handshakes and anything that elicits a negative emotion is doing so intentionally and maliciously.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

I have. I sure didn’t want a public display put up for them in the location they died. It’s hard enough going by that area as it is, I sure wouldn’t want an over-the-top reminder of their passing.

PacificSource
PacificSource
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

I lost someone to traffic violence in 2020 and I fully agree with Jakeco’s comment.

dwk
dwk
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

If a graffitti “Artist” sprays his “art” in a public space do people have right to remove it?
I personally would not take down the guys bikes but if someone wants to do that it is just as much an act of personal “art” as the person who put it there.
This is not commissioned public art and is not protected by the first amendment or anything else and should not be.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  dwk

They only distinction I see is that the peace bikes are original and creative works of art while the graffiti artist is defacing someone else’s creative work and so is really just a common vandal.

PS
PS
8 days ago

This will set people off, but a city covered in graffiti is just as it should be. People will use NIMBY as a pejorative, but have an expectation that the people who were here before this guy get a say in how things stay the same. Or worse, he must do some sort of cultural analysis before participating in the culture to make sure he assimilates correctly. Of course in any other context, the desire for assimilation is incomprehensibly awful. Ghost bikes are sacred, but if you wear a helmet to try and not have one for you, well you’re part of a “cult” and making cycling seem more dangerous than it is. This guy didn’t know he was in the accelerated program for a master’s class in PDX hypocrisy, but he just got a doctorate he probably didn’t want.

kookcommando
kookcommando
8 days ago

The Public: Your art has been a public disservice actually
Artist: I will do whatever I want because I’m an artist

Guy really thought he was playing 4D chess. Too high concept for plebs to understand.

Anthony
Anthony
8 days ago

The bikes photographed in the stories appear to be really high risk bikes for theft. They’re already rattle canned for goodness sake, 50% of the work is done for the standard bike thief. I don’t think anyone should stress about these bikes. With no intervention from the commenters on this story they will be of short presence for their original location.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  Anthony

Again, a desire for destruction for a creation you don’t like and an attempt to put down and lessen the person’s art by demeaning it.

Chris I
Chris I
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

No desire is present in his comment. It looks more like an observation to me. Do you see the words “I hope” or “I’d like to see” anywhere?

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

How are they “high risk bikes for theft”?? Once one starts with a statement like that it’s hard to believe they are not rooting on some direct action bike theft to prove their statement correct.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Are these bikes owned by someone who cares about them, is Dr. Nik coming back eventually to retrieve them? Or has he abandoned them? If they are abandoned, then if anyone removes them, aren’t they essentially picking up litter for recycling?

In a more perfect world, might not the city be expected to remove these bikes from the public racks? Or hire a nonprofit to do the same?

For people who need to use the racks, this “art” more resembles tagging or graffiti of public infrastructure than public abstract art.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Hi David,
I don’t recall seeing a timeline for the peace bikes in either article and don’t know if Jonathan asked about that. As far as the public racks go, I’ve seen plenty of partial bikes and other things linger for quite a time in them and don’t know why the peace bikes would be fast tracked for removal. Also, if “civic volunteers “ took it upon themselves to take them in for recycling then that would be a personal decision they would make and I’d hope they would be honest with themselves on the actual reason they were destroying art.

Not so artsy maybe
Not so artsy maybe
8 days ago

Can’t they do their “art” at home or in a gallery, like everybody else?

Sheyla
Sheyla
7 days ago

It seems their “art” has worked exactly as intended: it generated controversy.

Coming soon to a gallery near you…

PNWPhotoWalks
PNWPhotoWalks
8 days ago

Thank you for following up on this matter, Jonathan. I saw a few of the bicycles on my photowalks in NE Portland and was curious about them. I snapped a couple, but was reluctant to post the images because I knew from your reporting that they weren’t ghost bikes.

Even though I now know what the bicycles represent and that the artist intends to use different colors and designs, I don’t plan to post any of my photos of his work. I don’t want any misunderstanding.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  PNWPhotoWalks

Are you self censoring your art because you don’t want to be attacked via the internet? I’m not sure what misunderstanding you mean. That you don’t want people to think you support his work by spreading it or that you don’t want a few people to think there has been a sudden rash of fatalities?

PNWPhotoWalks
PNWPhotoWalks
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

With one quick web search and one click after that, you’ll see that I’m not an artist. My “photos of his work” are the two images I already snapped, and I think it’s fair to say that there could still be misunderstandings about those.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  PNWPhotoWalks

One doesn’t have to be an artist to make art. Again, what is the nature of the misunderstanding? I’m truly curious.

PNWPhotoWalks
PNWPhotoWalks
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Let me try again. The two photos I snapped are among the white “peace bicycles” that we’re discussing. If I post my two images on my site or Flickr and don’t provide an explanation or context, I think someone could misunderstand what they represent.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  PNWPhotoWalks

I do understand now, thank you for your perseverance!!

PNWPhotoWalks
PNWPhotoWalks
7 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

I apologize for my poor wording in my original post. It was helpful for me to have our discussion, and it’s been instructive for me to read through the comments on BP’s website and Instagram account.

Over the years, I’ve taken photos of “ghost bikes” throughout the metro region on my walks. Although I tagged the photos accordingly, I didn’t add any explanatory verbiage. Now, I think I should. And the timing is good since I’m currently in the process of posting many Portland metro active and public transportation photos on Flickr. 600 are currently public, and by the end of this month I’ll have ~1,000 total. Here is a link to the album in case you’re interested.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/memcclure/albums/72177720304697518

As you’ll see, in addition to ghost bikes, I also have quite a few photos of “bike art” in various forms (racks, sculptures, murals, etc.). Finally, if you (or anyone else) happen to see any photos that you think I should remove, please let me know. I try to be careful about personal privacy, which is why I don’t geotag my photos and seldom capture people’s faces.

jakeco
jakeco
7 days ago
Reply to  PNWPhotoWalks

Wow! You have a great eye! Your photos really make me feel more positive about Portland. I would say you are an artist 🙂

JF
JF
8 days ago

That anyone thought ghost-bike-as-art was a good idea — wow. But part of making art is/can be eliciting a reaction. He sure did that. Maybe not the one he was hoping for . . . .

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  JF

I’m pretty sure they are “peace bikes” and not “ghost bikes”.

qqq
qqq
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

The artist meant them to be peace bikes, but apparently wasn’t aware that white bikes along roadsides have a well-established meaning (google “white bike meaning”) as ghost bikes that memorialize people who have died cycling.

Saying “ghost-bike-as-art” is accurate, even if the artist didn’t intend them to be ghost bikes, because white bikes along roadsides have come to mean ghost bikes.

It’s no different than if he’d used any other symbol to mean something other than its commonly understood meaning.

Sheyla
Sheyla
7 days ago
Reply to  qqq

“Ghost Bikes” are merely another “art” project. It just so happens that the message is one that resonates with the bike community, or at least more so than a tired old plea for Whirled Peas.

Realistically– outside the BikePortland mental cocoon, mind you– I’d be surprised if more than 10% of the people who pass by every day know what the intended meaning of a Ghost Bike is.

Over the years I’ve seen them stripped of parts, stolen and repurposed (despite the notion that they’re supposedly undesirable worthless bikes – another fallacy), so it’s obvious that some folks haven’t gotten the message, or simply don’t care.

Yet the bikes sit there for years, decaying in the elements, occupying street parking that the living could have used. They’re rarely maintained in any sense. Soon they’re just more visual pollution in a city that’s overflowing with trash.

HJ
HJ
8 days ago

I’m glad he is going to change them. The idea was great, and the ones in Sarasota look fun, it was just the wrong choice of color.
I look forward to seeing the more colorful editions popping up.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  HJ

Wrong choice of color? According to who? It seems the artist thought they were the perfect color for peace bikes.

qqq
qqq
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Yes, the artist DID think that. Then–from the article–when he was told that painting them white confuses them with ghost bikes for many people, he said he will consider changing to another color, and also said his next bikes will be polka dot.

So, the artist seemed to appreciate being told about the confusion, said he didn’t intend to cause that confusion, and plans to change his artwork to avoid the confusion. He doesn’t seem to be seeing this in the censorship/control/they were perfect/etc. terms that you seem to.

jakeco
jakeco
7 days ago
Reply to  qqq

Dr. Nik from the article “The last thing I want is somebody to get angry. I don’t want that. It wasn’t my purpose to create anger… I never anticipated negativity from this until now. And I definitely don’t want that,” he continued.”

He wasn’t responding to any perceived confusion, he was responding to the anger people were having towards him that Jonathan was telling him about. By calling the anger directed at him confusion you seem to be rewriting the article. Because of the anger and then Jonathan’s question on a different color we can’t be sure if we was feeling coercion, fear or if he indeed thinks a different color is acceptable for his peace bikes. The polka dots do sound nice though.

qqq
qqq
7 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

I didn’t say the anger was confusion, I said that his using a symbol that has a specific meaning to many people (white bikes along roadsides) to mean something else was confusing.

And no, we don’t know why he seemed open to changing the color for his next bikes. I’m guessing he wasn’t feeling fear or coercion. The most likely reason to me is the obvious one–that he didn’t want to confuse anyone with what the message of his art was.

I also think you’re overstating the level of “anger”. Especially after hearing his thoughts in this article, I don’t think there’s much anger being felt by anyone. Jonathan told him about people’s concerns, he was amenable to changing the color (which he didn’t have to be) and now he can continue with his art in a way that makes his message clearer–a good outcome all around.

jakeco
jakeco
7 days ago
Reply to  qqq

If you have access to Instagram you might want to check out the article there. A lot of anger. Also, going by his own words, he was feeling a lot of anger directed at him.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago

I’m getting the impression that there is an undercurrent of censorship and desired control of others in many of the comments. I literally fought overseas for freedoms back home and I’ve seen those freedoms taken advantage of by protesters, rioters and bad actors. I’ve had to remind myself freedom allows others to do things I might not personally appreciate or like. It is very unpleasant to hear (well, read) a clarion call for a newcomer to Portland to have their work/art shunned, destroyed or declared not wanted. The artist wanted to spread peace in a way he thought could help. And that’s it.

Chris I
Chris I
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Unless you fought in World War II, your efforts didn’t do anything to guarantee our “freedoms back home”. Thank you for your service, but let’s be realistic here. The Iraqis and the Taliban were not a threat to our Democracy or our civil rights.

All I see here is a lot of commentary, which is of course protected by the first amendment. The only people who are going to destroy these bikes are the usual suspects that steal bikes in Portland. Those chains are not going to stop them.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Unfortunately you’re right. I did fight for freedoms overseas but we still have the TSA, all kinds of other alphabet agencies, our politicians at all levels considering themselves sacrosanct and we’re desperately fighting over scraps of freedom that come our way.
As for the bikes, I’m still not convinced the regular suspects would bother with them.

dwk
dwk
8 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

I am not sure you understand what freedom is? This is not private speech or art that is being censored (not sure anyone actually called for it to be torn out?)
People did not approve of it for various reasons.
I am ambivalent but I think the Graffitti model applies. This is graffiti to many people, the artist put it put it out there and people can disapprove or disassemble if it is the pubic sphere.
That is free speech.
Your “Art” in the public space is not a right.

jakeco
jakeco
8 days ago
Reply to  dwk

A lot of things are graffiti to a lot of different people. Several commentators seemed eager to destroy the bikes because they feel their interpretation of them is the correct interpretation and that of the artist less so. Our freedom to coexist continually teeters on the edge and your freedom to do something because you can get away it is not actually freedom, it’s anarchy. Why destroy or disassemble when you don’t have to? I’ve seen actual anarchy and it is not as enticing as you might think.

Gunter Fritz
Gunter Fritz
8 days ago

A new resident Dr. Nik has experienced the intolerance and rigidity of thought frequently exhibited in Portland by people who think they are welcoming, accepting and liberal minded. Personally, I have found Portland to be the most intolerant city in which I have ever resided, There’s something to be said for welcoming and kindness. In the Rose City it seems to be mostly preaching and virtue signaling from people who moved here from what I’ve seen, Dr. Nik I think you’re great, Please continue to do your thing despite the haters.

Frank Perillo
Frank Perillo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunter Fritz

Your comment is spot-on Gunter. Couldn’t have said it better in regards to this city.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
8 days ago
  1. Obviously some people were triggered by the resemblance to ghost bikes – but I’d wager there’s a lot of art out there that’s triggering.
  2. The analogy to graffiti is pretty apt – but some graffiti rises to the level of art so …..
  3. Any property owner is well within his rights (and is, in fact, *required*) to remove graffiti from their buildings. If any of these bikes on racks on privately owned property, the property owner actually has every right to remove them.
  4. They take up spots on bike racks, and if this were Amsterdam where racks were universally full, that would be an issue. If any of these are in racks that regularly fill up, the public is well within their rights to remove them.

In other words, like much of the issues in the world, not the simplest issue.

Also, the only way these things are at high risk for theft is if they have saleable parts – he likely didn’t spend the money on bikes that are worth much. I expect a few to be vandalized (because, human nature) – including repurposed by graffiti artists, but many will remain for quite a while.

Granpa
Granpa
7 days ago

The Kerfuffle may be the”art” and the white bikes are merely the nose-tweaking trigger for Portland’s performance-art response.

Sheyla
Sheyla
7 days ago

This abandoned property is monopolizing much-needed bike parking and as such, it should be removed. Here’s the thing, though: I feel the same way about “Ghost Bikes”.

Unless you personally knew the individual that a ghost bike is memorializing, you’re just participating in political theater, flogging the memory of the deceased to further your personal agenda.

But at the end of the day it’s all public property being monopolized by inappropriate use. The performative component of this is deluding yourself into thinking a rotting, crudely painted kids bike is doing anything for world peace or bike fatalities.

blumdrew
blumdrew
7 days ago
Reply to  Sheyla

I mean ghost bikes are often put up by family and/or friends of victims. And I dunno “flogging the memory of the deceased to further your personal agenda” is a wacky way to put it. I’m sure that the victims of traffic violence would prefer to not have been killed, and it’s a bit rich to assume that it’s somehow tainting a memory by memorializing the place they were killed. Is a cross on the shoulder of the road (memorializing a car crash fatality) also in appropriate? A statue commemorating the death of a labor organizer? What about a policeman? The world is filled with memorials to various people for various reasons, distilling it down to public property being monopolized to inappropriate use is a bit shortsighted.

Dave (Not Here)
Dave (Not Here)
7 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

ghost bikes are often put up by family and/or friends of victims

To the contrary, they’re usually placed by activist groups who have no connection with the deceased’s family.

Is a cross on the shoulder of the road (memorializing a car crash fatality) also in appropriate?

No, in my opinion it is not.

Fred
Fred
7 days ago

Weird – I can see all of Sheyla’s comments, even though they are “Awaiting for [sic] approval.” I disagree with Sheyla, BTW: Ghost bikes provide an important public reminder that EVERYONE – drivers as well as cyclists – needs to slow down and be careful and look out for others.

Skip Spitzer
7 days ago

Dear Dr. Nik. Welcome to Portland! I hope that you will change the color of your white bikes and not simply be amenable to others doing it. Ghost bikes mean a lot and may even be helping to save lives–definitely not something to undermine. Mistakes happen. So does restoration, sometimes.

Jenny the Bike gal
Jenny the Bike gal
7 days ago

What is next? Will the commenters of bike portland be calling for the burning of art and books that offend them? Seems more like the ethos of the Taliban then people who call themselves “liberal”. (Remember the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan?)

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Chopwatch
Chopwatch
7 days ago

Get him to admit to the ones he’s done. Report him to RID Patrol ridpatrol.oregonmetro.gov for the ones he admitted to and accuse him of dumping bulky garbage. If luck works out, they’ll be marked “remove it be removed” sign by Metro and he’ll get fined.

For the ones he hasn’t explicitly admitted, get PBOT to remove them after 72 hours have elapsed using the form: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/parking/report-abandoned-bicycle

jakeco
jakeco
6 days ago
Reply to  Chopwatch

Are you being sarcastic??

Chopwatch
Chopwatch
6 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

No. You can’t just start deploying whatever the hell you want out into public space.

The city wasn’t ok with e-scooter company doing it.

Can I spray paint what I think is art on a mattress, a sofa or some other thing I don’t want anymore and display it on the planting strip in front of YOUR HOUSE, because I say it is art? I wouldn’t complain if you were to dispose of it at your expense.

jakeco
jakeco
5 days ago
Reply to  Chopwatch

I’m glad you posted. Some of the other commentators thought I was exaggerating the levels of anger and toxicity I was seeing in the earlier conversations and you’re demonstrating that perfectly.

Moyzt
Moyzt
5 days ago

If I strew a bunch of collected trash around public spaces and call it art, it makes the case to justify the garbage to remain throughout the city. I will never look at garbage around the city the same way, or even more confused. People don’t have to agree on how the art makes us feel, but it is unequivocal that ghost bike memorials are sacred. If “Dr. Nik” knew about the ghost bikes prior to his pieces, that just makes him unconscionable.

jakeco
jakeco
5 days ago
Reply to  Moyzt

It is not unequivocal that ghost bike memorials are sacred. They might be to you, but you’re not everyone. And again, Dr. Nik was making peace bikes. I have yet to see a ghost bike with plastic birds on them and peace signs. The only similarity is the color.

Moyzt
Moyzt
5 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

If it is sacred to one person, then it is unequivocally sacred.

Moyzt
Moyzt
4 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Art is not death.

qqq
qqq
4 days ago
Reply to  jakeco

Color isn’t the only similarity. Besides being painted white, ghost bikes are placed by roadsides in public places, and they’re often decorated. These have literally EVERY visible characteristic that defines ghost bikes, and nothing to clearly say they’re NOT ghost bikes.

And it would be one thing if bikes were painted white all over for other reasons, but they’re not, at least not that I’ve ever seen. If “ghost bike” were on a dozen reasons why a bike might be painted all white, so many people wouldn’t assume they were ghost bikes.

There’s a sculpture made of a pile of kids’ bikes near Powell’s Books on W. Burnside. I’ve never heard of anyone mistaking that for ghost bikes, despite it being there for years in a highly visible roadside location. But if it were painted all white, it would be mistaken, because the white paint has become to mean “ghost bike” for so many people (even if many or even most people don’t have that association). So I’m glad the artist sounds open to changing the color.