Cyclist, 18, dies after colliding with SUV making illegal U-turn on Mount Royal
Laval cycling club teammates 'devastated' after Clément Ouimet suffered fatal head injury
The death of an 18-year-old cyclist, who was riding on one of the Montreal area's most popular training routes, has left teammates in the Laval cycling club he belonged to devastated.
The incident happened Wednesday on Camillien-Houde Way, on the descent between the lookout and Côte-Ste-Catherine Road.
Clément Ouimet was coming down the mountain just south of the belvedere lookout on Camillien-Houde when an SUV travelling ahead of him suddenly made an illegal U-turn.
He was unable to stop and hit the vehicle. The 59-year-old SUV driver was unhurt.
Ouimet suffered a head injury and was rushed to hospital, where he died late Wednesday night, police said.
Ouimet was part of the Espoirs Laval-Primeau Vélo cycling club.
One teammate, Édouard Beaudoin, posted on the group's Facebook page, saying he was "devastated, just thinking that one of my teammates died on his bike."
He said that the Camillien-Houde bike path was one of the young man's favourite spots to cycle
"Knowing that Clément died doing what he loves, it completely destroys me. No one should meet their death practicing their favourite sport."
Can the route be made safer?
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre offered his condolences to Ouimet's family Thursday morning.
"A death is one too many. An accident is one too many. And we have to take care of that," he said.
Coderre said he's putting together a working group to analyze the area to see if anything can be done to make Camillien-Houde safer.
Je veux qu’on évalue sérieusement que les ch. Camilien-Houde et Remembrance ne soient plus une voie de transit. ½—@DenisCoderre
Last night, Plateau borough Mayor Luc Ferrandez posted about the incident on Facebook, saying it could have been prevented but for the city's "inaction."
"Everyone knows the Côte Ste-Catherine and Camillien-Houde intersections are dangerous," he wrote.
Ferrandez suggested that parts of the road be blocked off to all vehicular traffic except for buses and bikes, compelling other motorists to take alternate routes.
"It's worth noting that more than 80 per cent of drivers who use the Mount Royal road (in fact, nearly 100 per cent during peak hours) aren't going to the park. They're simply looking for a shortcut."
Cyclists are planning a memorial ride for Ouimet Friday, starting at 3 p.m.
Riders are invited to meet at the intersection of Mont-Royal and Parc avenues, where they'll ride up to the parking lot at Beaver Lake accompanied by a police escort.
'We're really shaken'
Camillien-Houde Way is one of the most popular training routes in Montreal for serious cyclists.
Magali Bebronne of Vélo Québec said Ouimet was well known in the city's cycling community. His parents used to work with Vélo Québec.
"We're really shaken this morning that this has happened to such a young person, and we're personally touched because we also knew him," Bebronne told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
She said the incident shows "how terrible the consequences can be" when motorists carry out illegal manoeuvres on the road.
"U-turns are illegal at that point, and there's a reason they're illegal: it's because they're risky," Bebronne said.
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Drivers should exercise caution and check their blind spots for cyclists and pedestrians, she said.
"We need to be better aware of each other if we want to avoid these kinds of crashes and fatalities," Bebronne said.
With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak