On West Street, a Cyclist Is Remembered at 'Ghost Bike' Gathering

Friends and family of Olga Evgleska Cook gather around a Ghost Bike on July 14, a memorial to the cyclist killed by a motorist last month at West and Chambers. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jul. 17, 2016

Family and friends gathered around a white, flower-festooned “Ghost Bike” near the corner of West and Chambers streets Thursday evening, July 14, to honor and remember a 30-year-old woman whose life met a tragic end last month at the nearby intersection.

“Cyclist Died Here,” a sign above the bike reads. “Rest In Peace.”

The cyclist was Olga Evgleska Cook, 30,  who was struck by a hit-and-run driver on June 11 as she rode south on the bike path along West Street. Mirza Molberg, a volunteer for the Ghost Bikes organization that installs the memorials at sites of cyclist fatalities, had delivered the bike earlier in the day. That evening it served as a centerpiece for grief and fond remembrance, the third such bike to be placed along the path this year, Molberg said.

Cook, a triathlete from Italy who had been living and working in the city for the past four years, was remembered as a woman full of life and happiness.

“She touched all of us,” one friend recalled. “You could be down, you could be out of it, she’d bring a smile out of you.”

“Olga always loved to eat, she loved travel, she loved making friends. Honoring her and keeping her name alive, that’s what all of us are going to keep on doing in life,” said her husband, Travis Cook.

The mourning for Olga was mixed with anger at the perilous conditions at the intersection, where bikes, pedestrians and turning cars all proceed on the same green light. City officials have said that they are now studying changes at the intersection that may include a right turn lane and changes to the traffic signal.

“Traffic is increasing, there are so many strollers and babies and bicycles, and it’s basically chaos here,” said Manon Chevallerau, a long-time Battery Park City resident who attended the memorial. “Unfortunately, this tragic event had to happen for people to open their eyes.”