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Ghost bike commemorates Medford cyclist's death

A Medford man was commemorated by a cycling community of strangers after his death from a bicycle crash Monday morning in Grand Junction, Colo.

Michael Snowden, 28, collided with a pickup truck driven by 59-year-old Grand Junction resident Stanley Kiser when Snowden attempted to cross an intersection on his bicycle after the light had turned red, police said.

Dave Ehmann, 59, of Grand Junction, was sitting in traffic on a three-lane, one-way street and saw the crash occur. He said the driver in front of him stopped to let Snowden pass, but there was no way Kiser, who was in another lane, and Snowden could have seen each other before they crashed.

"It was a horrible thing, but there was nothing that could have made it not happen," Ehmann said.

Snowden was thrown about 30 feet by the impact, Ehmann said. He and other witnesses attempted to help Snowden at the scene, including administering CPR, but Snowden died shortly afterward at a local hospital.

The Mesa County Coroner's Office determined that Snowden's death was accidental. Grand Junction police said they anticipate no charges being brought against Kiser, but are continuing to investigate.

Though Snowden wasn't a local resident, news of his death was shared on a cycling community Facebook page that provides information about road conditions, events and advocacy. Attempts to reach one of the page's managers, John Hodge, were unsuccessful. Facebook readers posted comments expressing sadness over the loss of a fellow cyclist.

A day later, cyclists placed a "ghost bike" at the corner where the crash occurred to commemorate Snowden. The bike had been displayed the last time a cyclist had been killed by being hit by a car near Grand Junction.

The ghost bike is an unmarked bike painted white, bearing a sign that identifies it as a memorial and "as a reminder to all, cyclists and drivers alike, that cyclists are vulnerable. It is hoped that it will remind cyclists that great care is needed around automobiles, and to inform drivers that they need to be extra cautious around cyclists."

"The cyclist killed yesterday was from Oregon, and he no doubt has friends and family who may also be affected by such a memorial in this far off place, and maybe it would help them through their grief too," read a post on Hodge's Facebook page.

Attempts to reach Snowden’s family were unsuccessful.

Reach reporting intern Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@mailtribune.com.