‘Ride of Silence’ commemorates cyclists who died on Quebec roads

“It's good to remember,” said Edwin Thorez-Tsang, a Montrealer participating in the ‘Ride of Silence’ event in Rosemont that commemorated cyclists killed on Quebec roads. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

The Ride of Silence, also referred to as the Tour du Silence, commemorated cyclists that have been killed on roads in Quebec on Wednesday evening. This was the 14th edition of the event that involves 22 participating cities in the province. 

“We’re going to hold our helmets, raise them high around like five minutes before the start just to make sure we all think about those who lost their lives,” said Marc-Antoine Desjardins, the organizer for the Ride of Silence.

'Ride of Silence' in Montreal near Molson park.
‘Ride of Silence’ in Montreal near Molson park. (Photo: Gareth Madoc-Jones/CityNews)

In Montreal, cyclists supporting the event gathered at Molson park in Rosemont, had a moment of silence for cyclists killed on roads and then took part in a 6.1 km bike ride on the streets in the area.

In a press release, organizers say that the Ride of Silence events not only honour the memory of deceased cyclists, but they also encourage the “importance of healthy cohabitation between road users, respect for others and the adoption of good cycling behaviors.” 

The guests of honour at the event were Montreal city councillor Marianne Giguère who is responsible for cycling for the city as well as Catherine Bergeron, mother of Clément Ouimet and founder of the Salut Clément! team. 18-year-old Ouimet was killed in October 2017 on Camillien-Houde Way on Mount Royal after colliding with an SUV that made an illegal U-turn.

Catherine Bergeron, mother of Clément Ouimet and founder of the Salut Clément! team
Catherine Bergeron, mother of Clément Ouimet and founder of the Salut Clément! team. (Photo: Gareth Madoc-Jones/CityNews)

“The most important message is quite simple. In fact, this is the importance of sharing the road, of thinking about the most vulnerable users, or cyclists, but also pedestrians,” said Catherine Bergeron.

“Mostly what I want to say today is you see somebody’s sister or mother died because somebody was in a hurry,” said Paul Deer, a Montrealer participating in the event, adding, “sometimes it’s a delivery truck and he’s going to save like 20 seconds at the end of his run and that 20 seconds will cost one life sometimes.”

Montreal police statistics show that there have been no cyclists killed in collisions on Montreal roads so far in 2024, but two were killed in 2023, one in 2022 and five in 2021.

“I’ve just drove with my car. I have a car, I have a bike, I take the metro, I take the subway. We all are the same person, okay? So we have to stop dividing ourselves and working together making a more bike-friendly city,” added Desjardins.

Marc-Antoine Desjardins, organizer, 'Ride of Silence'
Marc-Antoine Desjardins, organizer, ‘Ride of Silence’. (Photo: Gareth Madoc-Jones/CityNews)

The Ride of Silence was founded in 2003 in Dallas, Texas by Chris Phelan who organized a bike ride in silence to honour his friend who was killed after being hit by a school bus. Since then, this event has expanded to more than 450 initiatives organized around the world that take place on the third Wednesday of May.

“I think it’s good to remember the people who were in accidents,” said Edwin Thorez-Tsang, a Montrealer at the Ride of Silence.

“This is a really important event. We’re showing that there are cyclists out there who believe very much in sharing the road safely with all the other people who use it,” said Evelyn Tsang, Edwin’s mother who was also participating in the event.

During the month of May, 13 schools in nine Quebec cities also participate in Ride of Silence events. The goal is to make primary and secondary students aware of road safety for cycling. Students learn rules to obey on roads, safety gestures while cycling as well as the necessary equipment to wear.

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