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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.