Memorial held to honour cyclist Mathilde Blais
Published Monday, May 5, 2014 1:58PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 5, 2014 6:44PM EDT
MONTREAL-- A white ghost bike now sits on St- Denis St, just under the railway overpass south of Rosemont Blvd.
The memorial was installed today during an early morning ceremony held to honour Mathilde Blais, the 33-year-old cyclist that was killed last week while commuting to work.
Blais was riding a Bixi and wearing a helmet when she was hit by a truck while riding under the overpass. She died instantly.
She formerly worked as a speech therapist at a downtown primary school.
Hundreds in the city came together Monday to remember Blais, and to call for action to have something done to make Montreal’s streets safer for its ever-growing community of cyclists.
“I think this is an event that is both extremely sad but extremely powerful,” said cycling activist, Gabrielle Anctil. “I really hope to see some change happen from this.”
Some cyclists voiced frustration with the dangers of Montreal’s streets.
“What is an 18-wheeler doing in the middle of a city at rush hour on a Monday morning?” asked cyclist Genevieve Dodin. “Maybe there should be a bylaw that prohibits big trucks, I mean huge trucks like this, from being around during rush hour.”
Some said it was an attitude adjustment that’s needed.
“We have to stop being mad at each other, “said cyclist Clayton Bailey. “Then the city has to gradually realize that bicycles are a very important system of transport.”
Since last week’s accident, police have offered what they refer to as “a short-term solution,” to increase safety on the roads.
Police officers have been given a directive not to ticket cyclists on sidewalks, provided they are not posing a danger to pedestrians.
Police have urged cyclists who use the sidewalks to do so respectively, and to help ensure that bettering the cyclist safety issue does not result in worsening the pedestrian one.
A longer-term solution is in the works, as the city’s current laws and infrastructure are being re-assessed.