Wellesley Police Don’t Get It

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 14

I reported this summer about a fatal hit and run in Wellesley, seems the police there are clueless when it comes to what a ghost bike is.

As The Swellesly Report, reports:

Ghost Bike WellesleyThe Ghost Bike that appeared over the weekend to memorialize cyclist Alex Motsenigos at the Weston Road/Linden Street spot where he was killed in an accident over the summer was removed at the request of the Wellesley Police.

“Items cannot be stored on public property,” (Editors note: Emphasis added) according to the police department, which says Chief Terrence Cunningham spoke to the person who put the white bike there.

“Items can’t be stored in public” Are you fucking serious?! I can’t imagine a more insensitive response to a memorial for a fallen cyclist. They didn’t even leave it up for a full week. Boston will sometimes take a ghost bike down, but they usually leave it up for a long while before they do.

The Wellesley police department clearly has no idea what it is doing, and thinks this is just some sort of trash to be picked up. Perhaps we should all contact them and let them know they are mistaken.

This poor man was hit and killed in broad daylight and as far as I know they still have not charged the driver with the crime. Maybe we should tell them we want to see more done to prosecute the killer, and less time spend removing ghost bikes.


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9 Responses to “Wellesley Police Don’t Get It”

  1. By Matthew Clarke on Nov 14, 2012 | Reply

    [email protected]

    Dear Chief Cunningham,

    I am writing to express my concern about the removal of the ghost bike at the site of Alex Motsenigos’ death. The bike was a fitting memorial to a man who was cut down in the prime of his life while riding his bike on our public roadways. While the WPD may have the luxury of viewing ghost bikes as mere “items” that are unlawfully “stored” on public property, the ghost bike was, in reality, doing more to promote the safe sharing of public roadways than the pathetic “investigation” that that the WPD is conducting into the cause of Alex’s death. I suggest that when the ghost bike is replaced by another one like it that the WPD reconsider its ill-informed decision to remove it. I am a a cyclist who regularly commutes in the town of Wellesley where I work. If the goal of the WPD is to protect and to serve, please understand that I will feel more safe and better served knowing that the WPD’s officers are out patrolling our streets and bringing closure to those affected by Alex’s death, instead of removing unsightly “items” that serve as reminders of the Department’s shortcomings.

    Thank you,
    Matthew Clarke

  2. By William Furr on Nov 15, 2012 | Reply

    Dear Wellesley Police,

    I’m very sorry to hear that you requested the ghost bike memorial for the cyclist who was killed this past summer.

    http://theswellesleyreport.com/2012/11/ghost-bike-memorializes-wellesley-cyclist/

    Would you please spend less time removing memorials to those killed in traffic and more time prosecuting the careless drivers that kill the citizens whom you have sworn to protect?

    Regards,–
    William Furr
    Boston, MA

  3. By Tom on Nov 15, 2012 | Reply

    The Ghost Bike on Morrissey Blvd. in Dorchester disappeared about two weeks after it was placed in memory of a bicyclist. I don’t know if Boston or somebody else took it down, but I wish it had stayed up longer as a reminder to cars and bicyclists to be careful.

  4. By Dotbiker on Nov 15, 2012 | Reply

    WRT Morrisey Ghost Bike: No public official admitted to taking it down. A Dotbiker found it once with the lock cut and the bike set by a trash can. He replaced it but didn’t have a lock. A day or two later it was gone. We checked with everyone. Either the family or a friend of the driver took it down. Since more flowers have been put up since the bike was taken down, someone connected to the driver would be a suspect. Hopefully it wasn’t the driver unless he was out there on foot…

  5. By Fenway on Nov 15, 2012 | Reply

    Not everyone understands the concept of a ghost bike and I have on occasion seen them being used as transportation by those in local shelters. To some people the desperate need for a means of transportation outweighs the immorality of stealing a memorial bike.

  6. By Brian on Nov 15, 2012 | Reply

    Hmm. I wonder if it’s legal to remove this:

    “Whoever wilfully destroys, mutilates, defaces, injures or removes a tomb, monument, gravestone, … or other structure or thing which is placed or designed for a memorial of the dead … shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by imprisonment in the jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.”

    A ghost bike sounds an awful lot like an “other structure or thing which is placed or designed for a memorial of the dead.”

    From MGL Part IV, Title I, Chapter 272, Section 73: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Section73

    Now, I would understand that this probably wouldn’t apply if it were actually in the way of anything. But being placed between a utility pole and the curb? It’s not in the way of anything, and it’s a memorial of the dead.

    Not likely to be fruitful, but I thought it was interesting to point out.

  7. By Wandering_Woman_On_Wheels on Nov 16, 2012 | Reply

    The driver (Michael Ahern) who killed the cyclist (Doan Bui) on Morrissey Blvd. was charged with drunk driving, one of the few to face the consequences of his mistake. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/09/17/man-charged-with-drunk-driving-in-fatal-morrissey-boulevard-crash/

    Pretty much all the other drivers seem to
    1. remain anonymous.
    2. remain uncharged.
    3. get away with manslaughter.

    This seems especially true for 18-wheel truck drivers and MBTA bus drivers who typically “didn’t see” the victim and/or “didn’t even know they had hit anyone”, as in the death of Kelsey Rennebohmon Huntington Ave. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/06/03/cyclist-killed-on-huntington-avenue-idd-as-bc-grad-student/ , the horrific death of Tanya Connolly in South Boston http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/09/17/bicyclist-hit-killed-by-18-wheeler-in-south-boston/, the death of MIT grad Phyo N. Kyaw in Cambridge http://www.boston.com/2011/12/28/bicyclist/spq7nIuIWK8EKrgMhFcqEO/story.html , as well as by the recent death of B.U. Student Chung-Wei Yang from Taiwan http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2012/11/16/cyclist-killed-boston-from-taiwan/Il2bVVUQHKl7QjqblC5shM/story.html .

    I’ve made a point to go find their names, because they seem to be so quickly forgotten, until the next cyclist is killed. They all, like Alex Motsenigos, deserve not only to be remembered and memorialized, but to have those involved their deaths held accountable. At the very least, we’d like to know the driver’s name and hear a public apology for the accident. My condolences to all the loved ones of these people. I know my own mother would be inconsolable if she had to hear such sad news about me.

    This is why, when coming and going from my home in Roslindale to J.P., if I have to ride on Hyde Park Ave., or any places with buses, trucks and fast-moving traffic that lack bike accommodations, I either ride on the sidewalk, or take the longer, safer, route through quiet side streets.

  8. By Matt Clarke on Nov 16, 2012 | Reply

    I just exchanged emails with the Wellesley police chief, who informed me that they removed the ghost bike at the request of the Alex Motsenigos’ wife.

    Also, the chief informed me that in addition to the case being “open, active, and ongoing” (as previously reported), the WPD expects the case to go before a grand jury.

    I’m not making excuses for the WPD. Just sharing news. Until now, I had heard nothing about a grand jury, so this is encouraging news.

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