Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

'Ghost bike' roadside memorial to cyclist disappears

The white bike was parked opposite the part of Tamaki Drive where 27-year-old cyclist Jane Bishop died after a collision with a truck. Photo / Dean Purcell
The white bike was parked opposite the part of Tamaki Drive where 27-year-old cyclist Jane Bishop died after a collision with a truck. Photo / Dean Purcell

Friends of a cyclist killed on a notorious stretch of road as she swerved to avoid an opening car door are begging for the return of their memorial at the spot where she died.

British nurse Jane Bishop died in November on Auckland's Tamaki Drive. She was cycling home when a motorist opened his car door, forcing her to pedal out in front of a truck.

After she died a large white "ghost bike" appeared across the road from the accident site, and became a place where her best friends went to remember her.

The bike was chained to a post by an unknown person and appeared to be part of an international movement to commemorate fallen cyclists.

Miss Bishop's friend and fellow nurse Laura O'Keefe said she often went to the spot to lay flowers in memory of her friend.

She said the bike was there at the weekend, but it was gone by Tuesday.

"I'm flummoxed and quite upset," she said.

"She was buried in England so it's not like we have a cemetery or a grave to go to and reflect. It's our memorial for her, and a reminder to other cyclists and road users that someone died there."

Calls to the council and Auckland Transport revealed they had not removed the bike.

Mrs O'Keefe said it had probably been stolen, but hoped it had been taken as a joke resulting from the way it was decorated for the Rugby World Cup.

"She was English and she loved her rugby. She had tickets to all their World Cup games and this would have just been the most amazing time for her.

"Last week we took the flowers off the bike and put red ribbons on it - for England. We'd put flags on it but someone stole them. So maybe someone doesn't understand what the bike is there for and has taken it as a joke. They probably think it's really funny."

Mrs O'Keefe did not blame the person who took it if that was the case, but still wanted the ghost bike back as it had huge sentimental value.

She got married in May and Miss Bishop was to be her bridesmaid. On the day of the wedding, which was in Britain, a friend in Auckland put flowers at the bike so Miss Bishop was still part of the celebrations.

- NZ Herald

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