Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 2

Part 1 is at this link if you missed it. The short version is I and a few folks are reinstalling a bicycle that’s a memorial for a woman killed while working on her bike in the bike lane in December 2019. Her name was Merry “Cookie” Daye. This is the rest of the story.

Previous posts are linked here (Austin Bicyclist Death #4…) and here (Silent Ride of Remembrance).

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 1

Two years ago almost at this time, a woman tragically was killed by a hit and run driver. He was never caught. Her mistake was having her bike trailer break down in the middle of the night and trying to fix it in the bike lane. She was a woman named Merry Daye who lived on the streets of Austin, Texas. Thousands of others still are without housing, thanks to the unaffordable rent and other reasons that cause this situation for so many worldwide. After her death, I organized a ghost bike and memorial ride. Her family came and spoke, and the TV news covered it. Recently, someone liberated the bike from the tree by the church. I live nearby and noticed. So this bike is back in the story of my bicycle journey, and with it, Merry.

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Silent Ride of Remembrance for Merry “Cookie” Daye: ¡Presente!

The rain stopped, clouds parted, and the sun came out on a winter Saturday in Austin. Fifty or so bicyclists gathered underneath the Browning Hangar, the first of its kind, a now refurbished WWII era structure built with wooden trusses. A sense of history was fitting for the somber purpose: to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of Merry “Cookie” Katheryn Daye. She was the fourth Austin Cyclist to die in 2019 in a crash, in this case a hit-and-run with a truck. We rode slowly and quietly to the crash site and had a gathering, and then returned. It was a fitting event.

The tragedy still hurts for the family members and strangers alike who didn’t know her but felt the pain and loss, even indirectly. This gathering was a step toward healing, community and preventing further senseless deaths. Perhaps, some justice will come out of this. That is why I initiated the idea for this ride and facilitated conversations to make sure it happened. At the end of the day, while the ride was a success due to no incidents and some media coverage, Cookie is gone. And that is just wrong, and it hurts. But her memory lives on.

[POST IN PROGRESS, MORE PHOTOS LATER]

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Ride of Silence to Ghost Bike for Jessica Rae Saathoff: ¡Presente!

I’ve titled this sad post the same as the ride for Anthony John Diaz, because it was very similar. A bunch of people show up at a pre-arranged place, they chat, there are some announcements, and the ride begins without people speaking unless needed for safety. The group rides around East Austin with leaders stopping car traffic or the riders as needed, and eventually it arrives at the scene of the victim’s death. There is a bike painted all white: a ghost bike. Somber words are spoken, people reflect, and the ride continues. It then ends at a park after about 10 miles, where people are thanked and more words are spoken. It’s sad, and it’s supposed to be, like a funeral procession. But now what?

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