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Montreal ‘ghost bike’ honoring dead cyclist to be displayed in museum

Advocates said the ceremony was held to highlight the ongoing risk cyclists face, but also to recognize the safety progress that has been made.
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WATCH: Advocates said the ceremony was held to highlight the ongoing risk cyclists face, but also to recognize the safety progress that has been made. – May 2, 2021

One of the white commemorative “ghost” bikes installed around Montreal to honour dead cyclists will be displayed in a Quebec City museum.

A ceremony was held this morning to remove the bicycle honouring 33-year-old Mathilde Blais, who died after being struck in an underpass while riding to work seven years ago.

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Blais’ mother, Geneviève Laborde, was on hand as the bicycle was taken down and handed to the president of Quebec City’s Museum of Civilization, who says it will be displayed as a symbol of social change.

“Thanks to the actions of the museum, my daughter’s memory will live on” she said. “It’s a way to give sense to her death.”

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Karim Kammah, left, of Velo Fantome, hands a white bicycle to Genevieve Laborde, mother of Mathilde Blais, during a ceremony in Montreal, Sunday, May 2, 2021. Blais was killed at this spot in 2014 and the bike has been donated to the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Advocates said the ceremony was held to highlight the ongoing risk cyclists face, but also to recognize the progress that has been made.

They say Blais’ death spurred efforts to build the protected bicycle path that now runs past the site of her death. According to Vélo fantôme, the organization behind ghost bikes in Montreal, there are ten other bikes across the city. Two more will be installed this summer.
“We only take them down when the family is in accordance. There are no plans to take the others down because the infrastructure is not there.” Said Severine LePage, a spokesperson for Vélo fantôme.

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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante was present at Sunday’s ceremony. She took the opportunity to talk about the importance of designated bike lanes and compromising.

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“I think it’s about sharing (the road), having an open mind, seeing the benefits,” said Plante. “We don’t want more people to die”

Plante added plans to expand on the city’s bike lane network are already in progress in the Sud-Ouest, downtown and on Papineau Avenue.

Quebec’s automobile association says that between 8 and 11 cyclists die on the province’s roads each year.

–with files from Alessia Maratta and Elizabeth Zogalis, Global News

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