Further to my last post, Looking for Death Information - Thinking about Genealogy Sources , I'm currently reading Private Grief, Public Mourning: The Rise of the Roadside Shrine in British Columbia by John Belshaw and Diane Purvey. (Vancouver, BC: Anvil Press, 2009). I picked up a copy of this new book at Word on the Street in Vancouver last month.
Many of these memorials are, by their nature and construction, ephemeral, but these may also be sources of death information. These often very personal memorials which may be constructed and contributed to almost anonymously are not necessarily all roadside memorials, although those may seem to have the most attention. Memorials in parks or at residences are perhaps less likely to stay up for long.
And, in some jurisdictions in Canada, governments, with the assistance of MADD Canada, are placing permanent memorial markers at traffic accident sites.
Some, including the media in crime cases, are photographing these kinds of memorials, as these authors have done, so collections of today's personal memorial images and records may be available to future researchers.
Here are just a few links to collections and articles on-line
Roadside Memorials, Don Baccus.
"Crosses, Flowers, and Asphalt: Roadside Memorials in the U.S. South" by
Tom Zarrilli. Southern Spaces, published 19 August, 2009.
A Photo Journey of Mexican Roadside Memorials from the Surf-Mexico Guide to Surfing and Adventure Travel in Mexico website.
Folklore of Roadside Memorials, by psolis, Pablo Solis, at Squidoo.