Rest In Peace
from Hideouswhitenoise, Spring 1996
On a cold day in February, Keefe MacLaverty, a courier was struck by an oncoming van near King and Jarvis. He was rushed to the hospital, where he lay for two days in a comma before slipping into the great beyond.
Keefe MacLaverty was the first bike courier to die on the road. He was more than just a bike courier, he was a friend, a companion, a son to grieving parents. When people spoke of him, it was with quiet reverence. They only had good things to say about him.
"He was a good guy, who would do anything for anyone," said Gord, a fellow courier who worked with him at TCC. "One of the other guys was moving and Keefer didn't even know him, but he still came and helped."
He wasn't a saint. Like everyone, Keefe had his own personal demons. He had just passed through troubling time in his life and he was on his way back. That was one of the tragedies, that he was only 24.
A few days after his death, the bike couriers and cyclists of Toronto gathered at Jarvis and King on a Friday the 16th to pay their last respects. At five-thirty, according to the church clock tower, the intersection was taken. Radio's were turned off and for two minutes they held traffic and their silence, intersped with the occasional bleat of a car horn. Some held candles, all bowed their heads. The two minutes passed and then the couriers dispatched themselves into the night.
Keefe's death was a tragedy, as all deaths are, but this was
one perhaps more poignant than most. His was a reminder that the
streets are mean and even the slightest error in judgement can
be fatal, let it be that of the car driver or the cyclist.
To all who ply the roads on two wheels, please be careful out there.
On February 13, bike courier Keefe MacLaverty wasw struck by a van at King and Jarvis. He died two days later, the first courier in the city to be killed in the line of duty. Late on the afternoon on the 16th nearly 150 fellow couriers gathered at the same corner. Conversation was minimal, candles were passed out, and flames flickering in the grey light of winter, messengers rolled into the intersection. "Radios off," someone shouted. For two minutes, the busy streets were quiet. "That's it," someone else said. And it was over. The couriers headed off, back into the noise of the city, ringing their bells good-bye.