Montreal cyclists took to the streets Wednesday night in complete silence to honour those who have died in accidents with vehicles and to promote improved awareness and safety on the roads.
This year’s Tour du silence is also dedicated in memory of Clément Ouimet, the 18-year-old competitive cyclist who was struck and killed when an SUV made a U-turn on Mount Royal last October.
Catherine Bergeron, Ouimet’s mother and a spokesperson at the event, said all Montrealers need to be aware of what’s happening around them on the road and play their part in ensuring a safe environment.
“We all have the rules, we have reglementation in place already,” said Bergeron.
“But I think it has to come from us as individuals every day as pedestrians, cyclists, drivers — everybody has to jump in, I think.”
The 7.5-kilometre bike ride began at 6:30 p.m. in Rosemont. It marks one of 23 bike rides happening across Quebec, including in Quebec City, Baie-Comeau, Drummondville and Sherbrooke.
It is also part of an international event to highlight the dangers of the road and the importance of protecting cyclists.
“We want people to remember the most important thing — it is prioritizing life,” said Bergeron.
Police across Quebec are also taking part in a weeklong campaign to promote awareness when it comes to driver, cyclist and pedestrian safety.
The Sûreté du Québec said the campaign is meant to remind Quebecers to abide by the law, but also to respect all road users.
Ouimet’s death prompts changes on Mount Royal
Ouimet’s death sparked calls from cyclists, drivers and politicians for better measures to protect those who bike alongside cars on Mount Royal.
The City of Montreal has since adopted a pilot project to close part of the mountain to through traffic during the summer.
Camillien-Houde Way, the popular training route for cyclists where Ouimet was struck, will be partially off limits to cars starting June 2 until October.
While the city is currently holding consultations over the pilot project, the Opposition and some Montrealers have criticized the plan, saying it limits access to the green space.
— with files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez