‘Ghost bike’ memorializes fallen bicyclist

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Personal Injury News

Article Date: 7/22/2010 | Resource: MLG

‘Ghost bike’ memorializes fallen bicyclist

NEWPORT BEACH – — A bicycle painted white and decorated with flowers stands on Spyglass Hill Road to memorialize Michael William Nine, a bicyclist who died there last week in a crash involving a stakebed truck.

The 43-year-old from Santa Ana participated in a bicycle group rides every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. They ride a 35-mile set route beginning at Kean Coffee in Tustin and going to Irvine and Newport Beach.

Nine’s younger brother, Jerry Nine, said his brother’s love for cycling emerged when he was in the Navy. Michael Nine had two young children and a wife, he said.

“He had so many friends and family that really loved him,” said Jerry Nine, 40. “He was a very active person and he lived his life.”

The driver of the stakebed truck, Jose Luis Huerta Mundo, 38, has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence for failing to obey a traffic sign prohibiting a left turn, according to a complaint filed Wednesday by the Orange County District Attorney. He was also charged with driving without a license.

Mundo was detained last week on an immigration hold after police determined he had been previously deported. He’s in custody at Central Men’s Jail, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website.

Ghost bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street, according to ghostbikes.org – a site that informs the cycling community about safety and ghost bike locations.

“A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque,” according to the site.

“They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.”

On Thursday morning, Newport Beach police gathered with city staff around the ghost bike memorial for a briefing about the incident.

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Jeffrey Marquart