- Tower Hamlets
Family and friends of singer Shivon Watson, who died while cycling to work three years ago, were left feeling hurt after Hackney Council ordered them to remove a ‘ghost bike’ which commemorates her life.
The removal notice, which was attached to the bike memorial at the roundabout between Lauriston Road and Victoria Park Road last week, devastated the public and those close to the victim.
The notice read that the owners of the bicycle had seven days to unlock it from the railings.
Watson, 28, a successful musician and dedicated charity worker, was crushed between the railings and a tipper truck as they both attempted to turn left on the roundabout.
Her mother, Annette Darch, was dismayed to discover that someone had complained about the memorial. She said: “We heard rumours that it might be taken away when we went up for the anniversary (March 10) but everyone around there is so happy for it to stay.
“Just one person has complained apparently. They should not do it, and it would have been nice to have been consulted.”
Ghost bike memorials can be found all over the UK, they are respected not only by family and friends of the loved ones but by the cycling community who view them as a solemn reminder to drivers and the public about road safety and the vulnerability of cyclists.
Chris Park of the National Cycling Charity, said: “It must be terrible for family and friends who want to preserve the memory of her and to have that wiped out and possibly taken away.”
“The bikes serve to motivate people to campaign for better road safety and remind them of lives lost on the road. There should be a way of working with the family to have the ghost bike retained.”
The bike has still not been removed, despite the 7 day notice expiring at the end of last week.
Since receiving complaints against the removal, Hackney Council has issued a statement saying: “In practice we only seek to remove temporary memorials where we have received complaints, as in this case, or where memorials are not maintained or pose a risk to safety. Although the seven-day notice period has expired, we will not remove the memorial until we have discussed this with the family.”