Mount Prospect holds firm on removing 'ghost bike' memorial
Mount Prospect officials listened to a request this week to refrain from removing a "ghost bike" memorial from a crossing where a cyclist was killed earlier this year but in the end stuck to their decision.
On Tuesday night, a member of the Mount Prospect Bike Club board, speaking on behalf of the club, asked that the memorial be left at the crossing at Central Road and Weller Lane to promote safety.
"We feel that it's an important message to the community," said Ewa Weir, one of more than 60 members of the 40-year-old cycling club.
To address concerns that the memorial may be a distraction to drivers, Weir suggested the village push it back "a little bit further away from the road."
Mayor Arlene Juracek responded, "We understand your viewpoint. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to come."
The ghost bike was placed at the crossing this summer after 55-year-old Joni Beaudry was struck and killed by an SUV while riding her bike in the crosswalk June 9. The vehicle drove into the crosswalk despite a flashing yellow beacon, which Beaudry activated, alerting drivers that a pedestrian or cyclist was crossing.
Residents have since questioned the safety of the crossing and called for installation of either a beacon that would turn red or a bridge.
Last week, Beaudry's widower, Eric Jakubowski, said he also believes the ghost bike memorial should remain at the crossing.
The ghost bike was installed by Janet Leet, who said Beaudry was on her way to her club, Sub5 Performance Center in Arlington Heights, when she was killed.
"She never got there," Leet said. "I had asked her how she was getting to my club on her bike. She told me she had a very safe route," specifically naming that crossing.
Village Manager Michael Cassady said, "Our ordinance does require it to come down after 90 days. We're beyond that."
He said the village had been trying to persuade the people who created the memorial or Beaudry's family to remove the memorial.
Leet said she's received a phone call from Mount Prospect Police Chief Tim Janowick saying he wanted her to remove the bike because of the local ordinance.
"I told him I would not remove it and that he needed to contact Eric (Jakubowski) about it," she said.
She said she wanted the ghost bike to remain until conditions at the crossing change.
"When you're standing there and you see that ghost bike there, you're a lot more cautious crossing that intersection than you are if it's not there," she said.