A Ghost Bike for Mario Théoret


It was a fairly cold but sunny Sunday morning on October 20, 2013, when I cycled to Hunt Club and Merivale to attend the placement of a ghost bike at this intersection, where Mario was killed earlier this week. From the media, I gathered a truck turned right and didn’t see Mario.

Ghost bikes are usually placed anonymously, but friends of Mario decided to make it a public event.  I didn’t recognise many people, other than CfSC members  Peter Brebner (who made the bike seat covers for us) and Heather, who walked up to me  to thank Citizens for Safe Cycling for all the good work that CfSC is doing.

We gathered on a parking lot on the South West corner. There were hugs, and tears and smiles and stories about Mario. Then we walked to the actual corner where it happened and hooked up the bike on a light post. Several people put flowers at the bike.  I estimated about 80-100 people came out to pay a tribute to their bicycle hero. Here are a few impressions for those who couldn’t make it.

On my way to West Hunt Club I noticed this drain hole on Merivale. Mental note: email 311.

On my way to West Hunt Club I noticed this drain hole on Merivale. Mental note: email 311.

The little island to wait for the light is barely big enough for a bike. A family of four doesn't fit here.

The little island to wait for the light is barely big enough for a bike. A family of four doesn’t fit here.

A group of about 80-100 people gathered in the south west corner of the intersection.

A group of about 80-100 people gathered in the south west corner of the intersection.

Short speeches of friends: "I never got a change to thank him".

Short speeches of friends: “I never got a chance to thank him”.

A crowd gathered around the light post, close to where the accident happened.

A crowd gathered around the light post, close to where the accident happened.

The press captured the moments when friends put flowers at the bike.

The press captured the moments when friends put flowers at the bike.

Apparently, a radio station had an other event planned but quickly rushed to move the vehicle away after the memorial. Oops.

Apparently, a radio station had an other event planned but quickly rushed to move the vehicle away after the memorial. Oops.

More flowers.

More flowers.

Trucks like this make sharing the road a lot less attractive. Apparently, the  truck that killed Mario didn't even notice until another driver caught up with him further south to tell him the news.

Trucks like this make sharing the road a lot less attractive. Apparently, the truck that killed Mario didn’t even notice until another driver caught up with him further south to tell him the news.

Cat, one of Mario's friends gave a talk and was later interviewed by the press.

Cat, one of Mario’s many friends, gave a talk and was later interviewed by the press.

And there it is. The second one this year. On average 3 cyclists get killed in Ottawa every year.  Be visible, pay attention to the traffic around you, cycle defensive, signal and try to find the safest routes, even if they are somewhat longer.

And there it is. The second one this year. On average 3 cyclists get killed in Ottawa every year. Be visible, pay attention to the traffic around you, cycle defensive, signal and try to find the safest routes, even if they are somewhat longer.

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8 thoughts on “A Ghost Bike for Mario Théoret

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  7. Very sad…I wish I could have came for this.

    Looking at that picture of the tanker truck, I realized what a truly dangerous situation it would be when it turns right. Because it’s so long, it would be making a wide right turn at the last second. If a cyclist happens to be in the bike lane, and even only as far as one tanker-length in (out of the 2 tankers), a right turn initiated by the driver who didn’t see the cyclist would cause a collision because of the way the truck makes the turn. The last tanker would essentially be fixed in place for part of the turn, and then suddenly “cut-in” towards the cyclist, leaving the cyclist nowhere to go.

    I don’t know if that’s what happened in this situation, but it’s made me become aware of how really dangerous a right-turning truck is.

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