Louis-Joseph Couturier is pedalling across the country in hopes of raising awareness and money for what he calls a lack in North American cycling infrastructure.
“There’s kind of a war between cyclists and car drivers and it’s always about who’s responsible for accidents on the road, but it’s not about individual road users,” explained Couturier, who arrived in North Bay on Tuesday.
“It’s about how we design the roads. Engineers have the responsibility to design roads that prevent accidents in the first place,” he continued.
Couturier, a native of Quebec City, embarked on his cross-country ride in mid-November from Gaspe, Quebec. Often cycling about 100 km a day on his own, he estimates he’ll make it to British Columbia by mid-march.
“The Last Ghost Bike Campaign” is something that Couturier is doing to honour a friend of his who died this past summer in a cycling accident.
“If there would have been enough cycling infrastructure, she might be alive today. I don’t want that situation to happen to families in the future,” Couturier said.
Couturier has a goal of raising $20,000 during his journey, which he will be donating to three organizations that support the implementation of improved cycling infrastructure.
Two of the organizations paint “ghost bikes” on the pavement of areas where someone dies in a cycling accident.
“All around North America, we are lacking the cycling infrastructure that could save many lives in the future,” Couturier said. “These types of infrastructure really make a change in saving cyclists’ lives but also car drivers in general.”
As for the winter conditions of northern Ontario, Couturier isn’t too worried about getting cold during the next leg of his ride.
“I’m very well equipped for these types of temperatures,” he said. “It’s more about the road conditions rather than the temperature on the thermometer.”
During his trip from Toronto to North Bay, Couturier says drivers were respectful while sharing the road with him.
“Most of the time, Ontario drivers have been good. They slow down, and they make sure they have that 1.5-meter distance with me which is really appreciated,” he said.
Couturier rides for four days at a time before taking a day off, estimating it will still take him another month to get out of Ontario.
To donate to the Last Ghost Bike Campaign, click here.