Montreal appeals to province to allow cyclists to turn right on red
The City of Montreal wants the proposed amendments to Quebec’s Highway Safety Code to allow cyclists more freedom in how they navigate city streets, and to protect them and pedestrians from trucks with blind spots and distracted drivers.
The highlights of the city’s brief to the province were made public Wednesday in response to Bill 165, proposed revisions to the code tabled last December.
The city said it wants to modernize existing rules to reflect more accurately the reality of the one million Montrealers who bike to get around.
It called on the province to support efforts such as the Vision Zero policy announced under the previous Coderre administration, which set as its goal the elimination of cycling deaths and serious injuries.
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The proposed measures from the Plante administration include allowing cyclists to yield at stop signs instead of making a full stop. However, cyclists would be required to slow down and give priority to pedestrians.
A Montreal cyclist said he supports that move since it is tough to come to a full stop without losing momentum.
“It’s like getting out of your car and doing a push up every time you stop,” said Andrew Turner.
The city also suggests permitting cyclists to cross on pedestrian signals in order to move freely and “without conflict with motorized vehicles.”
Other proposed changes include allowing children to bike on sidewalks and banning cyclists from biking while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Montreal also suggests an escalating scale of fines for cyclists who break the law based on the gravity of the infraction.
Side guards for trucks, more photo radar zones
The city is also asking for Quebec to amend its Highway Safety Code to make it mandatory for heavy vehicles such as trucks to be equipped with side guards designed to keep pedestrians and cyclists from slipping under the wheels.
At least 20 per cent of all cycling deaths in Montreal since 2005 were caused by collisions with heavy trucks and tractor-trailers, data obtained from Quebec’s coroner shows.
Of the 12 cyclists killed in collisions with trucks over that period, 10 were drawn under the wheels of the trucks and crushed.