Montreal's pedestrian death toll reaches five-year high in 2018
More pedestrians died on Montreal roads this year than in the last five years, according to statistics.
Montreal police say they’re working hard to decrease the numbers, but some public health advocates say not enough is being done.
Roughly 700 pedestrians were injured on city roads this year, and seventeen pedestrians were killed – two more than in 2017.
According to an SPVM spokesperson, most accidents are the result of distraction, or because pedestrians aren’t crossing at designated spots.
“Either they are on the cell phone, or it’s dark, or they don’t look around them to see if it’s safe to cross,” explained Jean-Bruno Latour.
Latour says that in order to decrease the number, there needs to be a reinvestment in education.
“Lots of work has to be done, and we have to work hard to give good prevention tips to pedestrians,” he added.
The most important of the prevention tips involve visibility. Oftentimes, drivers – especially those behind the wheel of heavy trucks – don’t see pedestrians if they choose to cross in certain spots.
But not everybody agrees with the SPVM’s assessment of the problem.
Patrick Morency of Montreal Public Health says putting the onus on pedestrians to protect themselves is a form of victim-blaming.
The solution, according to Morency, isn’t just education –but action.
“Implement medians – raised medians, large and safe medians – that protect pedestrians while they aer crossing if they don’t have time to reach the other side,” Morency said.
Other feasible solutions to consider are the installation of speed bumps, widening sidewalks, and allotting more time for people to cross the street.
During the municipal election campaign, Mayor Valerie Plante made a promise while standing at a Rosemont intersection: pedestrians would be given more time to cross.
More than a year later, however, the allotted time remains the same – giving pedestrians only eight seconds to traverse the busy road.
“It’s not safe enough,” said one man. “There are too many accidents – there should be more time for people to cross.”
Another woman highlighted the inherent danger to seniors trying to make it across the intersection on time.
“I always make it, but maybe it’s more difficult for old people,” she said.
Seventy per cent of pedestrians killed this year were over 55-years-old, and half were over 65.
“It’s possible to prevent pedestrian deaths, but you need to target exposure to motor vehicles, and especially heavy trucks,” Morency added.
The City of Montreal did not return CTV Montreal’s request for an interview.
However, earlier this week, Plate said she’s still committed to achieving the goal of reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries to zero.