City pilot project looks to make intersections safer for cyclists
On back to back days earlier this month, cyclists died at Montreal intersections.
The city has begun a pilot project in an effort to make tragedies like that a thing of the past.
It's called a bike box, and one has been set up at the corner of Milton St. and University St.
It's essentially a green box painted on the street ahead of the stop line for vehicles, giving cyclists a highly visible area to wait for the traffic light to turn green.
"It's a safety procedure," said Julie Beauvilliers, of the city transport department. "The person who drives the car sees the cyclists, and the cyclists go and after that it's the car."
The city chose the corner of Milton and University for the pilot project because of the heavy traffic – the intersection sees 700 cars a day, with as many as 5,000 cyclists and 10,000 pedestrians also sharing the road.
"It's long over-due in Montreal," said Projet Montréal Plateau-Mont-Royal borough councilor Piper Huggins. "They've been in place in U.S. cities and European cities now for some time and they've been shown to reduce traffic accidents."
The bike box cost $10,000 to install because it's made of a non-skid plastic that will withstand snow clearing.
Priority lights for cyclists and pedestrians have been installed but are not yet in service.
The pilot project will run for six months, then will be evaluated to see whether more bike boxes should be installed elsewhere.