Ghost bike marks deadly Ottawa crash

A ghostly white bicycle wreathed with flowers has appeared on Sussex Drive as a grim memorial to a woman who was fatally hit by bus there while riding her bicycle in September.

A ghostly white bicycle adorned with flowers has appeared on Sussex Drive as a grim memorial to a woman who was fatally hit by a bus while riding her bicycle in September.

"This memorial is really to remind everyone to be safe — to all people sharing the road," said local cyclist Claude Galipeau, who installed Ottawa's first "ghost bike" along the route he takes to work each day.

The tribute to 34-year-old Melanie Harris, who died on Sept. 16, is now part of an international art project to memorialize fallen cyclists. It started in St. Louis, Mo., in 2003 and has since spread to 90 cities around the world, including at least five in Canada.

The Ottawa bike has been added to a website listing details about the victims, information that is usually posted next to each ghost bike.

The City of Ottawa said Tuesday it will allow the memorial to stay as long as it doesn't become too much of a distraction for drivers.

Galipeau said he is already planning his next ghost bike, which will be installed near Blair Road and Ogilvie Road in the city's east end. A 22-year-old cyclist died there in July. But after that, he hopes his job will be done.

"Everybody who installs ghost bikes — it really hits home for them," he said. "It's something that they hope to never have to do again, although we will do it again as long as it's needed."