Memorial to honor bicyclist hit by car ordered to be removed by City of Durham

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Memorial to bicyclist hit by car ordered to be removed by City of Durham
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A memorial to a bicyclist struck by a car has been ordered to be taken down by the City of Durham after someone complained to the city.

DURHAM (WTVD) -- A memorial for a cyclist hit by a car has been ordered taken down by the City of Durham after someone complained.

Friends and family members of the cyclist, Seth Vidal, are upset. They're hoping the city will reconsider.

Seth Vidal
Courtesy: Eunice Chang

Click here to read our previous stories.

The memorial is a bike painted white and adorned with flowers. Similar "ghost bikes" are used as memorials for dead cyclists across the country. The one for Vidal is chained to a speed limit sign on Hillandale Road near Interstate 85. It marks the spot where Vidal was hit.

Now, the clock is ticking on the roadside memorial for the Red Hat developer who died in 2013. The City of Durham has ordered friends and family members to take down the memorial by Sept. 4.

The city ordered the removal of two other ghost bikes and the one honoring Vidal after someone wrote in to complain about all three.

According to city policy, memorials have to be taken down 45 days "from the date it was brought to the city's attention." But Vidal's friends said the bike is a symbol of free speech.

Click here to read the city's policy on memorials.

"This is our way of saying loud and clear to the community 'We don't like what happened here,'" Gaila Goodman, Vidal's friend, said. "For somebody to want us to take it down because it makes them feel uncomfortable or because they think it's an eyesore, as far as I'm concerned, is a bogus reason for taking it down."

Friends and family members are asking the City of Durham to reconsider the rule.

"I would just really like to say Durham, to the City Council, to please think through this policy that you've adopted," Carrie Anne Orlikowski, another friend of Vidal's, said. "Your policy requires that this be a nuisance. This fella hasn't even, I think, seen this bike. Could we please at least have the city make a determination before you take it down?"

Vidal's friends and family members say the ghost bike serves as a reminder to share the road. They shared why Vidal was such an avid cyclist.

"He was a full time cyclist," Orlikowski said. "He got really concerned about cars and their impact on the world, and decided that cycling was a way for him to be a better citizen, and he jumped in with both feet, like he did with everything in his life."

Click here to read more about a memorial ride for Vidal.

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