Geoffrey Bercarich. (Photo: Miguel Arenillas)

Topics: Justice, March 2022 | Interview

This advocate places ghost bikes at sites where cyclists have been killed

Geoffrey Bercarich sees the memorials as a place of caution but also a show of solidarity with fellow cyclists


Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists is best known for placing white-painted bicycles – ghost bikes – at the location where a cyclist has been killed in the Greater Toronto Area. The non-profit group is volunteer run, currently led by Geoffrey Bercarich, Joey Schwartz and Jun Nogami.

Geoffrey Bercarich has been putting up ghost bikes for 15 years.


I see bike memorials as creating a landmark, like a lighthouse. It’s a place of caution but also a show of solidarity with fellow cyclists. People all over the world understand what they mean when they see them. I would consider ghost bikes shrines. And now we’ve created this community of likeminded people that really needed these memorials and who are committed to safeguarding the memorials that exist.


When I install a ghost bike, it’s often in an area where traffic is so congested and aggressive you can actually taste the gasoline and the fear in the road. You need to use a tactile approach when you’re creating a memorial. It creates a sense of history and recognition from people. And looking to the future, I can’t change the laws, a lot of older advocates are never going to change the laws, but young people can, and putting a bike on a sidewalk feels like a direct way of reaching out to them.


I would like to see laws imposed penalizing motorists for their disregard of life. I think people get off way too easily. If you’re getting behind the wheel, you’re taking up a heavy weight of responsibility. And being tired, being drunk, being distracted shouldn’t be an excuse. Court cases are very biased against cyclists. If you drive a car, and you injure someone on a bike, chances are the driver has significantly more means to defend themselves in a court of law than the cyclist does. I see it all the time. People back in the driver’s seat after killing someone. I think seeing actual consequences for their actions would put the fear back in motorists.


This interview first appeared in Broadview’s March 2022 issue with the title “Geoffrey Bercarich.”

We hope you found this Broadview article engaging. 

Our team is working hard to bring you more independent, award-winning journalism. But Broadview is a nonprofit and these are tough times for magazines. Please consider supporting our work. There are a number of ways to do so:

  • Subscribe to our magazine and you’ll receive intelligent, timely stories and perspectives delivered to your home 8 times a year. 
  • Donate to our Friends Fund.
  • Give the gift of Broadview to someone special in your life and make a difference!

Thank you for being such wonderful readers.

Jocelyn Bell



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.