The ghost bike installed at the corner of Harvey Avenue and Dillworth Drive in memory of Ernie Gabbs, who was killed in a collision with a semi-truck on Aug. 12, 2019. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

‘Ghost bike’ memorial installed where Kelowna cyclist was killed by truck

Ernie Gabbs, 69, died at the corner of Dillworth Drive and Harvey Avenue on Aug. 12

Last weekend, a group of cycling advocates installed a memorial for a cyclist who was killed in a collision with a semi-truck.

Ernie Gabbs, a 69-year-old Kelowna resident, died at the intersection of Dillworth Drive and Harvey Avenue on Aug. 12, while riding his hand-cycle, a modified cycle for those who have lost the use of their legs.

Ernie Gabbs (Springfield Funeral Home)

Members of the Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition, a cycling advocacy and education group that has been around in Kelowna since the late 90s, set up the memorial on Aug. 18. Gabbs’ ghost bike marks the group’s fifth since it started placing them in 2015.

“We take a bike that has lived out its life and we paint it all white. We then install it at the location where the person lost their life in a way to be visible as a memorial to try and bring awareness to what’s happening on the road,” said Landon Bradshaw, former president and current member of the coalition.

READ MORE: Kelowna dog ‘Alice’ to get surgery thanks to BC SPCA crowdfunding

READ MORE: Kelowna man charged with killing wife and two daughters returns to court

Bradshaw, a stranger to Gabbs, recalls Gabbs riding past him earlier that morning.

“He had just ridden by me about an hour and a half before (the collision) happened,” said Bradshaw.

Gabbs lost the use of his legs in a workplace accident in 1992. The bike he was riding was a bike he’d had for over 20 years, the first hand-cycle he bought after his accident.

At the installation of the memorial on Sunday, the same day as Gabbs’ funeral, Bradshaw said there were around 100 people there, including Gabbs’ friends and family.

Bradshaw said as he was bringing the bike to the memorial location on a cargo trailer attached to his bike he was met by 30-40 cyclists who met up and rode with him.

“I was in front with the ghost bike and it was really moving to see the number of people in the parking lot waiting for us to arrive,” said Bradshaw.

“A lot of times we’ll have just a few people show up; never more than 10.

“His widow thanked me for putting this together so she feels like she has someplace to come and be a bit closer to him.”

One of Gabbs’ family members donated a wheel from the bike he was riding that day, which is also now part of the memorial.

Bradshaw shared some advice for motorists to be more cautious of cyclists on the roadway.

“One of the tricks that I’ve learned—and passed on to my daughter—is counting the cyclists that you come across,” said Bradshaw.

“When you begin looking for cyclists you start seeing them.”


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Lake Country approves 5.88 per cent property tax increase

The average home assessed at $711,000 will have to pay an extra $123 per year

Kelowna to introduce new strategy for community education about supportive housing

The model seeks to enhance community engagement, accessibility and transparency

GoFundMe campaign started for young Kelowna girl in need of service dog

Alena suffered from an in utero MCA stroke, that affected most of the right side of her brain

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Gas drops below a dollar per litre in Penticton

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Pawsative Pups: You have a new puppy, now what?

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Sewer service planned for South Okanagan community of Kaleden

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen plans to extend Okanagan Falls system into Kaleden

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read