Permanent national monument for downed cyclists planned for Ottawa
Monument would also serve to commemorate joy, spirit of cycling, councillor says
A preliminary plan for a permanent national monument in Ottawa for downed cyclists, which would also serve to honour the joy and spirit of cycling, could be ready in about six months, according to the city councillor assisting with the privately funded initiative.
So far, the planned site is a patch of unused green space between Bronson Avenue and Bronson Place off Colonel By Drive, which Coun. David Chernushenko identified in his ward.
The initial indication from city staff is that the site is viable, surplus land, but a formal check has to be made to ensure there are no obstacles, Chernushenko said in an interview earlier this month.
The idea for the monument was borne out of discussions between the councillor and Brent Naçu, the brother of an Ottawa woman who was killed while she was cycling to work in downtown Ottawa in 2011.
A motorist opened their parked car door as Danielle Naçu was cycling by on Queen Street. The 34-year-old hit the door and was knocked into the path of another vehicle, which hit her.
She was taken to hospital but died of her injuries. Chernushenko and Naçu spoke several times over the years at events in Naçu's memory and discussed the idea of a permanent memorial.
Ghost bikes have 6-month limit
Naçu is coming up with a business plan to fund the monument, Chernushenko said.
"Many, if not all, of the people who are killed in an accident on a bicycle, they're riding a bike because they love to ride a bike," Chernushenko said. "... That their time ended tragically should not take away from the fact that cycling is still a great way to [travel]."
Earlier this month, the city's transportation committee approved a six-month limit for roadside memorials, including ghost bikes. Staff originally recommended a three-month limit, but six months was agreed to after complaints from the public that three months wasn't enough time for the memorials to be in place.
The controversial motion was tabled by Chernushenko.
"I raised this just so that people were aware that I was working on this, so that those who might feel that it's heartless of me to say, 'Time's up, go home,' that there is actually something [else] to go to," he said.