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Cyclist killed on Wychwood Avenue remembered as ‘the life of the party’

Joseph Mavec, 47, was killed on Monday evening while traveling southbound on Wychwood Avenue, just south of St. Clair.

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The cyclist killed on Wychwood Avenue this Monday has been identified by his family as Joseph Mavec, a 47-year-old man whose sense of humour and good nature earned him nicknames like "Joe Maverick" and "The Legend."

Frances Por, Mr. Mavec's cousin, remembered Mr. Mavec as "the life of the party."

"You couldn't miss him," Ms. Por said. "He was … the person that's always laughing."

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Mr. Mavec was killed on Monday evening while traveling southbound on Wychwood Avenue, just south of St. Clair. The quiet stretch of street is lined with a short section of decommissioned streetcar track, which snagged Mr. Mavec's wheel, throwing him to the pavement.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police initially said that Mr. Mavec was 41 years old.

In a eulogy that she is preparing for Mr. Mavec's funeral, Ms. Por described the origin of one of her cousin's nicknames: "When anyone talked about some of his adventures people would want to meet him … to see if he really existed. Thus, 'the Legend.' " Ms. Por said that Mr. Mavec turned 47 on Aug. 5, the day before his death. Mr. Mavec's father learned of his son's death on Tuesday, she said, his 75th birthday.

"We were planning this big celebration and it's a funeral instead," Ms. Por said.

Speaking to The Globe and Mail yesterday, Geoffrey Bercarich of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists said a memorial ride is planned for Aug. 13, one week after Mr. Mavec's death.

Along with Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, Mr. Bercarich creates ghost bikes, bicycles painted in striking white paint to serve as memorials for fallen cyclists.

The group typically uses unrideable bicycles to create the memorials, but Ms. Por, who has not yet spoken to Mr. Bercarich, said she would like to see her cousin's bike used instead. She hopes other cyclists see the memorial and remember to exercise caution on the road.

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Ms. Por also said that Mr. Mavec was an avid cyclist.

"He took that bike everywhere," she said.

Even before he had been publicly identified, Mr. Mavec's death highlighted the danger that cycling advocates say streetcar tracks pose to urban riders.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said there are about 31/2 kilometres of unused track in Toronto. He also said the TTC would only remove the tracks if the city was conducting major road work on Wychwood.

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