The City of Montreal is launching an ambitious new road safety plan focused on shared responsibility on the roads.

Mayor Denis Coderre made the announcement Monday as part of Montreal's Vision Zero strategy, an international program implemented in September 2016 putting safety ahead of speed on all city roads.

"Beyond the concrete actions that we make every day to transform our streets and make them safer, and the daring actions we take to change behaviour, such as reducing speed limits, we had to send a strong message to the population,” said Coderre in a news release, adding that the campaign will be gradually rolled out over the next few weeks.

The city said the strategy has four steps, the first of which rolled out on Monday:

  • Making the public sensitive to the problem of deaths and serious injuries on city streets
  • Publicizing the Vision Zero approach.
  • Raising awareness about shared responsibility on the roads
  • Taking action with behavioural changes.

The city is launching an advertising campaign on several platforms, including radio, bus shelters and social media, which Coderre said will cost $100,000 in total. 

Coderre said he's pleased that Montreal has a lower rate of traffic deaths than Canada as a whole, but insisted the goal is to reduce the number of deaths to zero. 

"The Canadian average is (5.2 deaths per 100,000 people), Montreal itself is 1.1 but of course to compare those numbers is a bit tricky," he said. "I won't be happy because the statistics are lowering, the vision is vision zero."

As part of the strategy, the city as lowering speed limits on some streets, and will be looking at 67 intersections to determine how to make them safer.

Montreal Bike Coalition spokesperson Geoffrey Bush said he supports the campaign's goal of sensitizing people to dangers on the roads but wants to see bike paths that offer more protection for cyclists, rather than just painted lines on the roads. 

"Today's announcement has no concrete measures, it's about trying to wake people up to the fact that no collisions are acceptable, period," he said. "It's a great campaign, yes, but I'd like to see more annoucements about what they're doing concretely in terms of infrastructure."

There were 23 fatal injuries on Montreal roads in 2016, 15 of which were pedestrians. Another 196 people were seriously injured.