Montreal

Quebec cyclist aims to bike across Canada following death of his friend in road accident

Louis-Joseph Couturier is hoping to raise $20,000 for the organization Vélo Fantôme (Ghost Bike), which erects a white bicycle in locations where cyclists are killed in Quebec.

Louis-Joseph Couturier is hoping to raise awareness about cyclist safety

Louis-Joseph Couturier is hoping to raise $20,000 for the organization Vélo Fantôme. (Submitted by Louis-Joseph Couturier )

Louis-Joseph Couturier left the Gaspé on Nov. 14. He doesn't plan on returning home until he completes his goal of cycling all the way to Vancouver.

The journey covers 5,250 kilometres. If he continues at his current pace — 100 km/day — he should arrive by mid-February or early March.

"I wake up usually at 4 a.m. to start cycling when it's still dark and traffic isn't too bad," he told Radio-Canada. 

At night, he pitches a tent wherever he can.

"If it wasn't for the pandemic, I would have tried to take advantage of people's hospitality along the route. But in the current crisis, I can't really do that," he said.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions and the oncoming winter, Couturier felt his trip couldn't wait.

Following the recent death of a friend and fellow cyclist, who died in a road accident, Couturier decided to embark on a journey to raise awareness about cyclist safety in Canadian cities.

"I realized my own vulnerability and wanted to make a difference," he said. "Each death of a cyclist on our roads is avoidable."

Louis-Joseph Couturier decided to embark on this journey after a friend and fellow cyclist was killed on the road. (Kassandra Nadeau-Lamarche/Radio-Canada)

Between eight and 11 cyclists are killed on Quebec roads every year, according to data from the SAAQ.

Couturier is hoping his awareness campaign will help bring the public's attention to this issue.

"We made the choice to design our cities around cars. We can rethink this way of looking at our roads," he said.

He also wants to raise $20,000 for the organization Vélo Fantôme (Ghost Bike), which erects a white bicycle in locations where cyclists are killed.

With files from Radio-Canada's Sébastien Tanguay and Kassandra Nadeau-Lamarche

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