Montreal

Mother fatally hit by truck in Rosemont honoured with ghost bike ceremony

Friends, family and cycling advocates were among around 100 people who gathered Friday morning in Rosemont to commemorate Meryem Ânoun, a cyclist killed last week.

Cycling advocates want the City of Montreal to implement stricter rules on trucks with sizeable blind spots

Several dozen people gathered at the spot where cyclist Meryem Ânoun was fatally struck by a truck last week. (Matt D'Amours)

Friends, family and cycling advocates were among around 100 people who gathered Friday morning in Rosemont to honour Meryem Ânoun, 41-year-old cyclist killed there last week. 

A white ghost bike — made by Ghost Bikes Montreal, a cycling safety group — was installed at the intersection where the incident occurred.

The crowd placed posters and flowers on the bike, and sang songs to honour Ânoun.

According to police, a truck took a right turn at the intersection of Bélanger and 6e Avenue, where it struck Ânoun who was travelling on the same side of the street.

The ghost bike was made by Ghost Bikes Montreal, a cycling safety advocacy group. (Matt D'Amours)

"I'm touched to see that me and my family are not the only ones to react to what happened, and that people are caring," said Badr Jaidi, Ânoun's son.

"They want to change things." 

Advocates want stricter rules for trucks

Gabrielle Anctil, the founder of Ghost Bikes Montreal, suggested that the city should use a safety scale established by the city of London that rates trucks on how well a driver can see other road users directly, without the use of mirrors or cameras.

Gabrielle Anctil, founder of Ghost Bikes Montreal, helped organize Friday's ceremony.

"Blind spots on the truck are not inevitable. They are a design choice," said Anctil.

"We can do something to act to make sure that this death is the last one that happens."

Ghost Bike Montreal and Vélo Québec recently petitioned the City of Montreal to implement stricter rules on trucks, pointing to London, U.K., as an example to follow. 

In London, trucks have restricted access depending on the size of their blind spots and are rated on how much a driver can actually see.

Lower-rated and unsafe trucks will eventually be banned from London roads.

Montreal officials say the idea is currently under review and that they expect to have a decision about the proposal by the end of August.

A poster is set up to commemorate Meryem Ânoun. (Sebastien Desrosiers/Radio-Canada)

City says cycling is still safe

Marc-André Gadoury, a city councillor for the Rosement-La Petite-Patrie borough, attended the event by bike. He said cycling in Montreal is still the safest way to get around.

"The record is improving," added Gadoury, who chairs the city's advisory committee on cycling issues.

"In 2008, when the transportation plan was adopted, there was a target of reducing crashes with serious injuries and fatalities by 40 per cent. And that's been achieved," he said.

Ghost Bikes Montreal, however, say the improvements need to go further and address the dangers posed by trucks in the city.

"Mrs. Ânoun's death happened nearly three months after the city's transportation and public safety commission submitted their recommendations after holding a public consultation concerning the cohabitation of trucks and vulnerable road users," wrote Laurent Deslauriers, spokesperson for the organization in a statement.

"While they only represent four per cent of motorized vehicles on our streets, trucks are involved in 22 per cent of deaths."

This is the sixth ghost bike the organization has installed in the city of since it first formed 2013. 

That's the year Suzanne Châtelain, 55, was killed after she swerved into the path of a bus, while trying to avoid a van door that had been suddenly opened in her path, on corner of Du Parc Avenue and Saint-Viateur Street.

Of the six deaths commemorated by ghost bikes, two-thirds involved trucks, Anctil says.

With files from Matt D'amours