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Ghost bike ceremony held in honour of dead Montreal cyclist

A ghost bike in memory of Meryem Anoun, who was struck and killed in Rosemont last week, was set up at the intersection of Bélanger Street and 6 Avenue. Friday, July 21, 2017.
A ghost bike in memory of Meryem Anoun, who was struck and killed in Rosemont last week, was set up at the intersection of Bélanger Street and 6 Avenue. Friday, July 21, 2017. Yannick Gadbois/Global News

A ghost bike ceremony was held in Rosemont Friday morning, to honour the memory of Meryem Anoun who was fatally struck while riding her bicycle one week ago today, at the intersection of Bélanger Street and 6 Avenue.

The 41-year-old single mother of three was out doing errands for a friend’s wedding when she was crushed by a dump truck at the intersection.

READ MORE: Cyclist killed after colliding with tanker truck in Montreal’s east end

A ghost bike is a bicycle painted white that is left at the exact spot where a cyclist died as a result of a road collision.

“It’s my mom that died here,” 21-year-old Badr Jaidi said.

A photo of Meryem Anoun can be seen on a ghost bike installed in her memory in Rosemont. Friday, July 21, 2017.
A photo of Meryem Anoun can be seen on a ghost bike installed in her memory in Rosemont. Friday, July 21, 2017. Yannick Gadbois/Global News

Four of Montreal’s six ghost bikes represent cyclists who were killed by heavy trucks.

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Organizers of the ceremony said the bikes stand as a constant reminder of the dangers cyclists face.

READ MORE: Mother of dead cyclist Justine Charland St-Amour still seeks answers months after the accident

According to Gabrielle Anctil with Montreal Ghost Bike, Anoun’s death was “evitable.”

“She was killed by a truck driver who didn’t see her,” Anctil said, adding that blind spots on a truck are a question of design.

“We can design trucks better,” she argued. “We can think about the way they circulate on the city streets.”

READ MORE: ‘I’ll remember her smile’: Brother and eldest son of cyclist killed in Rosemont speak out

But Friday’s ceremony wasn’t about placing blame, it was about remembering a lost one and hopefully bringing about change.

“People are assembling for her memory and are assembling to try and change things,” Jaidi said, adding it meant a lot to his family.

“If people are standing like this, I think it will send a strong message to the people that can change things, that have the power to do it.”

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Anctil also expressed hope the ghost bike would have a positive impact.

“We’re hoping it can serve as a reminder, as a way for us to learn from our mistakes and maybe grow together,” she said. “Put in place better regulations, better infrastructure.”

READ MORE: Foot rests for cyclists may soon be all over Rosemont

Newly-elected Québec Solidaire MNA for Gouinm, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, attended the ceremony as a show of support.

“I’m here today to say that as a party, Quebec Solidaire, is on the side of the all the people that are hurt today by the passing of Madame Anoun, and that we really are engaged in reflection on how we can make our streets safer for everyone.”

In a news release, Montreal Ghost Bike said that while trucks only account for four per cent of motorized vehicles on city streets, they are involved in 22 per cent of deaths.

READ MORE: Jeannette Holman-Price still fighting for safer trucks, more than a decade after daughter’s death

Nadeau-Dubois agreed the more attention needs to be paid to big trucks and it’s time to move forward on the issue of side guards.

“There’s a bunch of inquiries about the pertinence of having — in French we say des jupes — underneath the trucks,” he said.

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“I think that is also a reflection that needs to go forwards because those big trucks are costing the life of too many cyclists.”

That is something everyone in attendance could agree on.

“We don’t like setting up ghost bikes,” Anctil said. “We hope that we never have to do it again.”