More than 50 people gathered Sunday to place a white ghost bike at the scene of the deadly crash in which 38-year-old cyclist Mario 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. Their investigation is ongoing.
Co-founded bike program for kids
Friends are remembering Théoret as “incredibly giving” and “relentless” with his community support.
With Weaver, he co-founded the Ottawa chapter of Trips for Kids, a non-profit organization that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education for underprivileged children.
Théoret ran the program out of his own home for the past five years.
“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.
“We just need to make sure the roads are safer too,” said Beaubien. “Nobody else deserves to go through this.”