'Ghost bike' stands where College Station woman died, cyclists hope to raise awareness

A white bicycle memorial has been placed where Alannah Ritch died. Her boyfriend visits the site often and leaves roses.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - A white bicycle marks the place where a Texas A&M student lost her life after being hit by a city garbage truck while riding her bicycle.

The accident happened in September and 21-year-old Alannah Ritch died at the scene. 

It's a place Clayton Niemietz visits often. It's the place where he lost his girlfriend.

"I just kind of collapsed," said Niemietz. " I just didn't believe it or anything. I just couldn't believe it could happen to her."

A white bicycle is now chained to a stop sign at the intersection. 

"It's a ghost bike. So that means that a cyclist was killed here in a car accident," said Niemietz. 

The bike was there by another member of the cyclist community. 

The wheels are white, the handlebars are white, and the bike's chain is white. But the roses Niemietz places on the bike are red. 

"I do that because when I was dating her, every week I gave her a rose," he said. "So every week I still give her some roses just to keep that going."

Even though the bicycle is where Ritch's life ended, it's more than just a memorial. Niemietz says it highlights a problem. 

"A lot of cyclists, they don't get a lot of attention on the road," he said. "They just kind of get mauled around."

He wants to see bike lanes installed on the road where Ritch died and other roads around town as well.

In the meantime, the roses will keep coming. 

"Maybe they'll think about the way they're driving or something," he said. 

The City of College Station says the council has authorized the city manager to settle a claim brought on by the Ritch family. The amount is not to exceed $250,000. 

However, the city says the agreement has not been drafted or signed. 

 

(© 2016 KAGS)


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