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Toronto cyclist Vlad Zotov remembered with memorial ride, ghost bike installation

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Hundreds of cyclists came together Monday evening to remember a well-known and long-time member of Toronto’s cycling community.

Vladimar (Vlad) Zotov, who belonged to the Morning Glory Cycling Club (MGCC), died on April 8, exactly one week ago, after being hit by a driver near the DVP access ramp and Bayview Avenue. He was 59.

Organized by MGCC and Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, the moving gathering included a large memorial bike procession from Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue to the Don Valley Brickworks area as well as the installation of a ghost bike memorial near the spot where Zotov was killed. Those in attendance also stopped and removed their helmets for a moment of silence in his honour.

“Vlad was an experienced cyclist. Many of us, including myself cycle in this area and some of the bike infrastructure isn’t that particularly safe so we have to go on Bayview in order to avoid that,” said the gathering’s co-organizer Joey Schwartz.

“And it's unfortunate that this happened in such a way that it did and we're just here to remember someone who was a father, a husband, and a cyclist.”

Road violence victim Jess Speiker, of Friends and Families for Safe Streets, also helped plan Monday evening’s remembrance for Zotov.

“This is always just a gutting event whenever you have to place a ghost bike for somebody who was killed. It is comforting, I think, to see the numbers that turned out to know how many people care about (safety for vulnerable road users) and that you really truly never ride alone,” she said.

“We know what his family is going to go through. They’ve just thrust into hell. They are never going to wake up from this nightmare. It’s anguish every day.”

Several people have posted messages of condolence on his online obituary remembering Zotov as a an "eternally kind, smiling, friendly, and helpful" person, someone who was "kindhearted," "warm," and who "loved life and valued his family above all else."

Zotov, who worked as a researcher and scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada, leaves behind his wife, Lena, as well as four children and a granddaughter. 

His funeral was held on April 13.

Toronto cyclist Vlad Zotov died on April 8 after being struck by a driver near the DVP rmp and Bayview Avenue (Morning Glory Cycling Club photo)

Anyone who witnessed the collision or anyone with dashcam video from the area is asked to contact Toronto police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Beth Macdonell.

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