Friends of a cyclist who was killed while commuting to work last week hope to carry on his legacy by fundraising for a non-profit organization he helped found, as well as renaming a mountain biking trail after him.
Mario Théoret, 38, died in a crash with a tractor trailer last week at a busy south Ottawa intersection.
Théoret co-founded Trips For Kids, a non-profit organization that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education for underprivileged children. He ran it out of his garage in Bells Corners.
Alan Shade, who knew Théoret for six years and helps out with Trips for Kids, said Théoret enjoyed sharing his passion for cycling, especially on mountain biking trails.
Shade and members of the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association want to formally name a trail Théoret helped create in Kanata's South March Highlands and Morgan's Grant after him.
It's called the M Line, and the association wants to call it Mario's Line instead.
'He never liked to take credit'
"That was Mario's trail. Mario picked the line on that and chose where it went and spent a lot of hours making that trail," Shade said. "But in the end he didn't want any credit for it, so it was just called M Line.
"He didn't like to brag. He didn't like to talk about what he had done ... He never liked to take credit," Shade added.
"That was Mario in a nutshell. He'd do so much but never take credit or want any fame or anything for it. He'd do it because he loved it."
Shade wants Trips for Kids to flourish but said donations are needed to help it survive.
Cat Weaver co-founded the Ottawa chapter of Trips for Kids with Théoret.
“There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to further [Trips for Kids],” said Weaver.
Théoret was also involved with the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association and volunteered with various bike-related charity events. He was also due to give his 74th blood donation next week.
"He was so quiet about the work that he did and we feel good that people will know what an awesome person he was," said Weaver.
Ghost bike memorial installed Sunday
More than 50 people gathered Sunday to place a white ghost bike near the scene where Théoret was killed Thursday.
Théoret was riding his bicycle east on West Hunt Club Road near Merivale Road as part of his regular commute to work when he was struck by a turning tractor trailer. He died at the scene.
A white ghost bike painted with the words, "In loving memory" and "RIP Mario" now sits near the intersection where he was killed.
Friends said Théoret had previously expressed safety concerns about the exact route where he died.
“He’d already contacted the City of Ottawa about safer cycling, specifically for his commute,” said Sandra Beaubien, who knew Théoret for almost a decade. “He was always optimistic that he would see the improvements.”
Attached camera to bicycle to capture bad drivers
Friends said Théoret worried about fast-moving traffic veering into designated bike lanes. For the past three weeks, he had even attached a camera to his bicycle.
“He had already captured quite a bit of footage on his daily commute. He showed me some of it,” said Cat Weaver, one of Théoret’s best friends. “Police do have the camera … they have watched footage from his commutes to work and they were shocked.”
Police won’t confirm a camera was found on scene.
The investigation is ongoing.