On March 19, 2013, 51-year-old Frederick Martinez of Flagler Beach was riding his bike on the side of State Road 100 toward home. He was riding in the bike lane, a distance before the bridge, when he was struck and killed by a work van. Palm Coast resident Robert Little, then 33, was at the wheel. He was cited with careless driving. Martinez’s daughter Tiffany Martinez has organized memorials in her father’s memory since even as she’s traveled wide and far and continues to do so, but always returning to the area. This month, to mark the eighth anniversary of losing her father, Tiffany created a “ghost bike” as a memorial, which she placed at the site of the crash, and wrote the following.
By Tiffany Martinez
The road trip continues. I decided to keep going until I find the place where I want to be a little bit longer. I am thinking Puerto Rico for some time then make my way through Central America. After a breakup with some dude, I knew I had to head to Flagler Beach because that’s where my dad’s last days were, and it would bring me some comfort. The anniversary is March 19, and I have always been wanting to do a ghost bike memorial for him.
I wanted to have the ghost bike up before Daytona Bike Week and St. Paddy’s day this so it could remind people to be aware of cyclist, pedestrians, and motor cyclist. My dad’s name lives on in Flagler beach and with me wherever I go. I contacted a friend and her family with whom I’m very close. They offered to do this with me. We poured our hearts into this ghost bicycle. I decked it out with some cool St. Paddy’s day decorations. It had to be perfect. The last holiday my dad and I spent together was St. Paddy’s day in Savannah, Ga.
Freddy, my dad, is flying high with the angels looking down with a huge smile, because the energy and love put into this bike makes it extra special. I wanted my dad’s bike to stand out like we always did, traveling together. Our bond is unbreakable, and I haven’t seen a relationship comparable to ours as father and daughter. There isn’t enough words in the dictionary to express the pain lingering in my heart.
It is insane to think I have never gotten an apology from the driver. I forgive him for my own reasons. I also found balance in placing the bicycle at the crash site, because my friend recently had a baby girl. The circle of life. Life and death. Watching the baby with her family: what a gift of life, what an angel. Everything happens for a reason.
We tossed flowers in remembrance of my father off the Flagler Pier and dined at my dad’s fav place, Funky Pelican. I laughed and cried because I was so grateful not to do this alone, and I had friends with me, but I still didn’t have my best friend, my dad. Over the last eight years I have become my own best friend, relying on the ocean for comfort and peace.
I do the best I can in life. I always feel closer to my dad when I am traveling, because that’s what we did together before I did it on my own. My father taught me how to live and enjoy life. Who would have thought with all the joy we had that his would end in striking pain?
Every day I miss his phone calls, love, reassurance, laughs and reasoning. During this road trip listening to the right tunes and pulling over to jump in the ocean is the only way I know how to live.
I also want to bring awareness to cyclist, drivers, pedestrians, and bikers. These pieces of machinery are dangerous. No one will ever understand until it happens to them. Life is a gift. Pay attention on and off the road. Don’t be distracted by so much in life. The power of love conquers all.
Follow Tiffany Martinez at the Amplified Network.