QUÉBEC CITY, May 2, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – It is with great emotion and respect that the Musée de la civilisation is adding to its collections the ghost bike from the spot in Montréal where Mathilde Blais died in 2014. This commemorative object was removed when the group Vélo fantôme, which initiated the citizen movement, won its case. The street design under the Des Carrières overpass and much of Saint-Denis Street has been modified to ensure the safety of the thousands of cyclists who use it every day. The young cyclist’s mother, Geneviève Laborde, and Vélo fantôme co-founders Gabrielle Anctil and Hélène Lefranc presented the white bicycle to the Musée’s president and CEO, Stéphan La Roche, after a very moving ceremony.
“Like all the objects in our collections, this ghost bicycle illustrates the evolution of our society. As part of the grieving process, ghost bicycle are a sober and meaningful marker of both a loved one’s absence and the context of their passing. They are also strong artistic forms of expression that aim to unite and mobilize people. This mobilization succeeded in informing public authorities of a serious urban safety problem and led to its resolution. As such, this white bike marking Mathilde Blais’ death will forever remain a symbol of progress for cyclist safety. Such a deeply meaningful object absolutely had to be preserved in the collective memory and that is exactly what the Musée de la civilization does.”
-Stéphan La Roche, President and Chief Executive Officer, Musée de la civilisation
“I am moved to know that my daughter’s death will not be in vain and that it will serve to make future generations understand that citizen action can lead to constructive change.”
-Geneviève Laborde, Mathilde Blais’ mother
For the families and loved ones of the deceased cyclists and for the cycling community, ghost bicycles are extremely symbolic. Their locations become sacred places;The ghost bicycle for Mathilde Blais was the second to be installed by Vélo fantôme;When this bicycle was removed, eight remained on the Island of Montréal, one in Mirabel, one in Longueuil and one in Repentigny;The Musée de la