I took the time today to stop and photograph this “ghost bike” memorial. I have passed it on the way to work for two years now, and finally figured out how and where to stop. Isn’t that the secret? Noticing, studying, planning? Making time to see things that you would miss otherwise.
The text reads “In memory of Michael Alexander Rivas who was killed while bicycling on May 16, 2012. by a distracted texter-driver who did not suffer any consequences for his actions. Texting and driving is against the law but is unenforceable.”
This is at 28th St. and Old Hickory Boulevard, in Old Hickory, TN, a suburb of Nashville.
I had initially tried to share information about this using Google maps, but the images weren’t that good for such a small thing. The first view is from March 2016, and the second is from December 2016.
The March 2016 images of this area were taken in a car travelling North on OHB, while the December ones were taken in a car travelling South. This bike does not show up clearly in the March images, and is too far away in the December ones. So I knew I had to do this myself.
I had to study what landmarks were there before the bike, so I could stop before it and walk to it. I needed a place to park my car – I couldn’t do it on OHB itself – too busy. Also, there were usually many cars behind me, so even slowing down to turn off the road was often difficult. Today was the day – I’d prepared, and there wasn’t much traffic. I also had left my home with a little extra time.
I did a little research online and found this from the blog of Genea Barnes, who has driven all over the US to photograph and document ghost bikes. She says there is only one in Nashville. This is it.
“The ghost bike I found was for Michael Rivas at 28th and Old Hickory St. After I had shot the bike, I noticed a woman changing the water that the flowers were in. I stopped and chatted with her for a few moments. She had known Michael, said he was around 30 years old, and she told me that his parents lived right around the corner if I wanted to go knock on their door. I chose not to, I felt it could be intrusive. I gave her my card, and she said if she saw them, that she would pass it along.”
Here is his obituary from the Tennessean newspaper:
RIVAS, Michael Alexander Age 31 of Old Hickory, passed away on Thursday, May 17, 2012 as the result of a tragic accident. Services to celebrate Michael’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2012 in the Chapel of Spring Hill Funeral Home, conducted by Pastor Keith Enko. Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon until service time on Sunday. Interment will be in Spring Hill Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Building Fund. Online condolences and memories can be shared with the family at http://www.springhillfh.com. Michael was born on August 17, 1980 in Nashville, the son of Dr. Alejandro and Beverly Ann (Branson) Rivas. He was a member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church. He graduated from Donelson Christian Academy and Middle Tennessee State University. Michael had worked in several restaurants. Michael was a very kind, loving and giving person who loved and was devoted to his family. He will be missed by all that were blessed to have known him. Surviving are his loving family, including his parents, Alex and Bev of Old Hickory; brother, Christopher and his wife Margaret Rivas of Mt. Juliet; grandmother, Mary Branson of Old Hickory; the light of his life were his niece and nephew, Emma Grace Rivas and Carter David Rivas. He is also survived by his extended family and a host of friends. Michael was greeted in Heaven by his maternal grandfather and paternal grandparents.
Here is his picture –
From his condolence book:
May 22, 2012 | Nashville, TN
“I worked with Michael at the Davidson County Election Commission. I fondly remember how he always had a smile and and upbeat attitude, everyday. When I think of him and his smile, he always made me laugh. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.” Carlatina Hampton
There were many other notes, but this one talked about him as a person, instead of just how sorry they were for the loss. I wanted to gain a picture of who he was. A memorial should show the person, not just the name and dates.
He lived at 3215 Lakeshore Drive, Old Hickory. This is about 5 blocks away from where the bike memorial is.
The house was bought 8-1-1981 for $90K but now appraises at $541K. It is a one-story stucco house built in 1960 and is 3,146 square feet, with 4 bedrooms and three baths. The land it is on is .87 acres and it has the lake to its back.
Here is information about his father –
Dr. Alejandro Rivas is a surgeon in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his medical degree from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and has been in practice for 47 years. He works for the Otolaryngology department of Vanderbilt University at 1215 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232. According to WebMD, he also sees patients at his home Monday – Friday 8-3. Here is the phone number (615) 847-4949, and here is the fax (615) 847-5396. He is affiliated with Tri-Star Skyline hospital and Vanderbilt. He is 72 years old, which means that he was around 36 when his son was born. He accepts multiple forms on insurance, and has a 5 star rating on “Healthgrades”
Michael’s mother, Beverly Ann (Branson) Rivas was born 03/02/1951 and is 66, which means she was 30 when Michael died. She is listed as a Republican.
Their marriage was announced in the Sunday, November 9th 1975 edition of the Decatur, Illinois Herald.
BRANSON-RIVAS Beverly Ann Branson became the bride of Dr. Alejandro A. Rivas in a Saturday afternoon ceremony at Pilgrim Lutheran Church. A reception followed at Cresthaven Country Club. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rick Calhoun Branson of 2480 W. Olive St. The groom is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Cesar Rivas of Rivas, Nicaragua. The new Mrs. Rivas is a graduate of MacArthur High School, Decatur School of Practical . Nursing and Parkland College. She is employed by St. Mary’s Hospital. Dr. Rivas is a graduate of National Institute Rosendo Lopez in Nicaragua and the University of Mexico Medical School in Mexico City. He is a resident (of) general surgery at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. The couple will make their home at 704 Berry Rd. in Nashville.