Ghost bike pays tribute to cyclist killed on highway
IT STANDS by the side of the road, a spectral reminder to drivers and riders alike of the fragility of life, the vulnerability of cyclists and the location where a much loved and respected man lost his life.
Starkly white, the Ghost Bike which stands between the Pacific Hwy and Tamarind Dve, is a quiet yet stark symbol to all those who pass by on two wheels or four, to take extra care on our roads.
It has been placed there as a tribute to Hans Nico Battaerd who was killed when an elderly male driver at the wheel of a 4WD struck him while cycling home to Tintenbar from a training ride with the Ballina Masters Cycling Club on 23 November 2016.
On Saturday a short ceremony was held and prayer offered by the Reverend Richard Brown, then Mr Battaerd's wife Cheryl attached some stickers bearing her husband's nickname Oscar to the bike.
Ms Battaerd was accompanied by two of her husband's cycling friends and it was the first time she had visited the site since she learned the news of his death.
Visibly moved, Ms Battaerd said she hoped that other road users would consider their own and other's safety.
"I hope everyone remembers to take care," she said.
She said she appreciated the work that had gone into the ghost bike and that it was an appropriate reminder of a man whose love for life and his family and friends was a great as his smile, as large as his heart and as enduring as his spirit.
Ms Battaerd said she felt grateful to the support from the wider cycling and general community for their marvellous support.
"People have been marvellous," she said.
The untimely death of the 59-year old struck a deep chord which has rippled and continues to affect those far beyond that of family and close friends.
His passing has touched people within the cycling community across the state and around the country.
Created by Mr Battaerd's former club mates, brothers Andrew and Mark Downey from the BMCC, the ghost bike was constructed from a donated frame.