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.

Just Posted

Veterans honoured at Lake Country Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembrance day event in Lake Country was one of five ceremonies that took place across Central Okanagan

Hundreds attend downtown Kelowna Remembrance Day Ceremony

People gathered to pay respect to 240 Kelowna residents and two million Canadians who have served /or are serving

Five Remembrance Day ceremonies getting underway across Central Okanagan

Hundreds anticipated to attend ceremonies in West Kelowna, Kelowna, Peachland, Rutland and Lake Country

Mother and child reportedly trapped inside vehicle in Kelowna collision

Two vehicles collided at Harvey and Burtch intersection

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Coquihalla, Okanagan Connector drivers cautioned due to freezing rain

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Summerland council considers change to meeting schedule

Proposal calls for afternoon session and 6 p.m. evening session for regular meetings

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read