Ottawa

Ghost bike marks scene of city's latest fatal crash

Two Ottawa city councillors have chained a white-painted "ghost bike" to a railing outside City Hall to mark the scene of last week's fatal hit and run, the latest in a list they say is growing far too long.

'It could stay here as a reminder to us that we have a lot of work left to do'

Coun. Catherine McKenney stands beside the 'ghost bike' she and Coun. Jeff Leiper chained to a railing outside Ottawa City Hall, near the scene of Thursday's fatal hit and run. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

Two Ottawa city councillors have chained a white-painted "ghost bike" to a railing outside City Hall to mark the scene of last week's fatal hit and run, the latest in a list they say is growing far too long.

"We wanted to make sure that this bike was put in a place where we would always remember," said Coun. Catherine McKenney, who placed the bike there with Coun. Jeff Leiper.

"We [will] see it daily, and it could stay here as a reminder to us that we have a lot of work left to do to keep our most vulnerable road users safe in the city."

The unidentified male cyclist died in hospital after being struck and critically injured around 7:20 a.m. Thursday in the westbound lanes of Laurier Avenue W., not far from where traffic from Queen Elizabeth Driveway merges onto the busy road.

The black minivan that struck the man was found abandoned on nearby Mackenzie King Bridge. Ottawa police later issued a photograph and description of a suspect, but no arrests have been made.

The bike commemorates the scene of last week's fatal collision, in which a male cyclist died. Cyclist Barbara Greenberg and Coun. Catherine McKenney spoke to CBC News on Tuesday. 1:06

'We know it's dangerous'

On Tuesday morning, cyclist Barbara Greenberg stopped by the ghost bike to tie pink and yellow flowers to the handlebars.

I feel a mixture of sadness, anger and frustration.- Barbara Greenberg, cyclist

"I've been thinking about it since it happened," said Greenberg, who commutes to work by bike, often taking the same route on Laurier where the crash took place. "I feel a mixture of sadness, anger and frustration."

At the scene of the crash, the cycling lane is a green-painted strip sandwiched between two lanes of traffic. Motorists in the centre lane must cross the cycling lane to turn right onto Elgin Street. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

Greenberg said many cyclists share her uneasiness about the stretch of Laurier, where an unsegregated, green-painted cycling lane runs between two lanes of traffic.

"We know it's dangerous, and we ride through it and we feel the danger," said Greenberg. "I would really hope councillors and the mayor are listening, because no one should have to die in the streets."

CBC reporter Sandra Abma took a ride along a stretch of Laurier Avenue, the site where a male cyclist died in a collision last week. 0:58

Rally planned for Wednesday

On Wednesday, cyclists and advocates plan to hold a rally near the scene of the crash, hoping to raise awareness about the dangerous spot and the need for solutions.

The suspect is described as a skinny man with long black hair standing five feet 10 inches tall, according to police.

He was seen on a surveillance camera at the Rideau Centre, not far from where the van was abandoned, wearing a light-coloured jacket over a hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and white sneakers with two stripes on the side. He was also carrying a blue backpack.

Police are asking anyone who might have witnessed the crash or taken photos or video to get in touch with the collision investigation unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 2481.

Flowers have been added to the ghost bike installed in Marion Dewar Plaza outside Ottawa City Hall. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)