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Ghost bike serves as a memorial to fallen cyclist - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Ghost bike serves as a memorial to fallen cyclist

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Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014 10:42 pm

GALVESTON — A stripped, white bicycle installed on the island last week will serve as a memorial to a beloved member of the cycling community and as a warning to motorists and cyclists sharing the road.

The ghost bike marks an area west of Jamaica Beach near the 19600 block of FM 3005 where a Houston man riding his bike on the shoulder of the road was struck from behind by a car on April 19.

Jon Trevelise, 68, sustained a traumatic brain injury and was rushed to the University of Texas Medical Branch. Trevelise never regained consciousness and died at a Houston hospice in May.

He is survived by two sons and his wife, Alexis Trevelise, who said she initially wasn’t sure she wanted to see the ghost bike on the side of the road.

“I didn’t know if it would be a good idea to be reminded of something so painful,” she said.

However, Alexis Trevelise said what happened to her husband could serve as a warning to drivers.

Jon Trevelise rarely rode his bike in Houston because of concerns about traffic, and preferred paths in areas such as Katy and Galveston, where the family had a house, Alexis Trevelise said.

In the months before his bicycle was struck by a vehicle, Jon Trevelise told his wife he was frequently seeing motorists who were texting while driving, or coming perilously close while he biked his usual 22-mile route on the island.

“The ghost bike can encourage other people to be safer,” she said.

Ghost bikes can be found throughout the world, with the roadside memorials marking spots where cyclists were killed. Dozens have been installed throughout the Houston area.

Jon Trevelise volunteered with several organizations and was a member of the West Houston Parks Board, which will dedicate a tree to his memory in September. He was a longtime member of the special children’s committee for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Trevelise was well-known among Houston area bicyclists and was a regular participant in the Tour du Rouge, a six-day bicycle tour from Houston to New Orleans that benefited the American Red Cross.

During this year’s tour in May, many cyclists wore wristbands with the words “Papa Trev” and other messages supporting Trevelise.

Mason Courtney, a bike mechanic and business owner in Houston, was acquainted with Trevelise, who was well known among cyclists.

The news of Trevelise’s death resonated with Courtney, who stripped and painted the bicycle that now stands near the site of the collision in Galveston.

“He was a lightning rod for so many causes,” Courtney said.  “I didn’t want it to be just another place on the map, and knew I needed to take on that responsibility.”

Automobile-bicycle collisions reverberate throughout the cycling community, he said.

“When something like what happened with Jon happens, it scares me to the point I keep off my bicycle and that is the thing I’m most passionate about,” Courtney said.

He compared the ghost bike project to the early days of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, likening the wheeled roadside memorials to crosses set up at the sites of fatal drunken driving accidents.

Various websites and maps track fatal collisions and ghost bikes installed throughout the country, and can be found through ghost


By spreading public awareness, the ghost bikes can help increase driver safety and cut back on the number of fatal collisions involving cars and bicycles, Courtney said.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Trevelise, a 68-year-old Friendswood woman who told police she pulled into the shoulder of the road to search for an address, was never charged.

Ghost bikes drive home the importance of safe practices on the road, Courtney said.

“Ultimately you will get advocacy and awareness out of it,” he said. “It’s a powerful message if you know what the message is.”

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.