'If you do nothing, we will continue to die': Cyclists call for better road safety

In a call for better road safety after the death of a young cyclist on Mount Royal earlier this month, cyclists took to the city streets to shed light on some of the dangers they face on a daily basis.

Montrealers take to city streets to promote sharing of the road, better safety measures

(Sébastien Desrosiers/Radio-Canada)

In a call for better road safety, cyclists took to city streets to shed light on some of the dangers they face on a daily basis.

"If we had a city that was better designed, we'd have a better cohabitation," said Gabrielle Anctil, the spokesperson for Vélo fantôme.

A group of cyclists toured the city on Saturday and stopped at sites where white memorial bikes are installed. The ghost bikes are placed at the site of where fatal road accidents occurred to honour the deceased.

The cyclists also staged a "die-in" at various intersections, where they acted out their deaths as if they'd been struck while biking, to bring awareness to dangerous driving and road violence.

The demonstration comes a few weeks after 18-year-old Clément Ouimet was killed in a collision with an SUV while riding on Camillien-Houde Way on Mount Royal. His death has sparked an outpouring of tributes and calls to make Montreal safer for cyclists.

The demonstration drew cyclists from across Montreal. (Radio-Canada)

With the municipal election looming, Anctil says she hopes that elected candidates make road safety and protection of cyclists a priority during their mandate.

"If you do nothing, we will continue to die," she said.

'We'll always be there'

As a city, Anctil said Montreal is designed based on cars and vehicular traffic, but that it comes at the expense of others on the road.

"We can avoid these deaths if, as a society, we prioritize the most vulnerable," she said. "Urban landscape that leads to deaths, that's something we have control over."

Cyclists say the city's design favours cars and vehicular traffic. (Charles Contant/CBC)

After his brother was killed while biking on St-Denis Street two years ago, Denis Carignan said it is important to teach all Montrealers about the vulnerability of cyclists and pedestrians.

"Today is also for awareness and to tell people 'Hey, we're here and we'll always be here,''' Carignan said.

Like Anctil, he hopes that more action will be taken up by elected officials.

"We're always so close to cars, it's very dangerous," he said. "There's not a lot that's been done."

With files from Radio-Canada and la Presse Canadienne