Ottawa Citizen: Cyclists gather at city hall to mourn Orléans teen, press for safety improvements

Several dozen cycling supporters gathered at Ottawa City Hall Wednesday morning to press officials for measures to protect cyclists.

The group held a minute of silence to honour Simon Khoudri, a 13-year-old teenager who was killed last week in a collision with a car on Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard in Orléans.

The vigil was also intended to pressure council to adopt Vision Zero, a Scandinavian program that aims to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians on urban roads.

Participants were invited to write letters a letter to Mayor Jim Watson to propose improvements to cycling infrastructure and better protect cyclists.

The group set up a second “ghost bike” at city hall, representing Simon’s death. The other was represented the death of a man in his 50s killed on Laurier Avenue near city hall May 16.

The Vision Zero protocol includes measures such as turning floating painted bike lanes into segregated lanes, eliminating right on reds across bike lanes, reducing speed limits to 30 km/h on urban residential streets and eliminating revert reds and beg buttons to protect pedestrians.

In June, Coun. Catherine McKenney presented a motion for city staff to present recommendations on changing traffic signals and road configurations to help pedestrians and cyclists. She also proposed that staff report back by the end of the year on a Vision Zero policy and framework to increase road safety and eliminate traffic deaths.

But Coun. Stephen Blais, chair of the transportation committee, convinced council in a 15-9 vote to refer McKenney’s proposal to staff as they work though an ongoing road safety study and the transportation master plan.

Catherine McKenney