The brother and eldest son of Meryem Anoun, the cyclist killed in Rosemont last Friday, spoke to Global News in their first televised interview less than one week after the accident.
They insist they hold no anger towards the truck driver who ran over the single mother of three, but they hope drivers will pay more attention to the most vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists.
“We can’t expect people to be 100 per cent focussed on the road,” Meryem Anoun’s son Badr Jaidi said. “I’d say humanly it’s not possible we all have those small moments where we lose attention.”
But that split second when a truck driver didn’t see his 41-year-old mother crossing the intersection on Bélanger street at the intersection of 6th Avenue, is what cost his mother her life.
“The police came they said is your mom home, I said no they told me to describe her then after that they were like we need to have a minute with you.”
The 21-year-old is still coming to terms with the tragedy that struck his family on Friday and says his 18-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother are coping as best they can thanks to their large family.
“She left us with a big family. She has loving parents and loving brothers and sisters they love us like they loved her and we’re glad for that,” Jaidi told Global News.
His mother was running errands on her bike for her friend’s wedding the next day, when she was crushed by a dump truck.
“It’s quite ironic that wedding turned out to be a funeral,” Jaidi said.
Meryem Anoun was a Morrocan native who came to Montreal 15 years ago to give her children a better life.
“She made a lot of sacrifices for us,” Jaidi said.
“She gave us an education she worked hard for us to be where we are.”
Her son, an engineering student, says she was the most kind and compassionate person he’s ever known.
Anoun is also survived by her parents who immigrated just two years ago, and four siblings, including her younger brother who’s now the legal guardian.
“She was taking care of all the family,” her brother Yassir Anoun said. “When I arrived here she was the first one taking care of me from the airport to finding a job and even when I had my two kids, she was always there.”
He says his sister was the glue that kept the family together. But despite their devastation, the family holds no anger towards the truck driver.
“We cannot be angry about that because it’s like something that can happen to all of us,” said Anoun.
A white ghost bike will be set up Friday July 21 at the scene of the crash to commemorate the 41-year-old.
“I’m shocked and I can’t believe someone died again,” Gabrielle Anctil of Ghost Bikes Montreal said.
Four of Montreal’s six ghost bikes represent cyclists who were killed by heavy trucks.
“She was hit because a truck with huge blind spots is left driving in our city and we’ve known that problem for years,” Anctil said.
Many cycling activists are calling on Montreal’s city council to ban the most dangerous trucks on city streets, as some European cities have already done.
Jaidi hopes drivers will pay more attention to the road and he hopes people will remember his mother as a strong, selfless woman.
“I’ll remember her kindness and I’ll remember her smile her love. She had time for everyone but no one had the love she had for her children.”