Police hand out tickets in Rosemont to keep cyclists safe
Montreal police carried out a large-scale ticketing operation in Rosemont Wednesday, targeting not just motorists, but also cyclists.
The operation was part of an effort to answer criticism that not enough is being done to protect cyclists who claim they're too vulnerable on city streets.
Police insist they're enforcing the traffic laws as best they can. During the routine operation, out of a dozen traffic tickets issued, half of them went to cyclists, half to motorists.
“A lot of the casualties and accidents we have are due to lack of education. On the part of motorists, on the part of pedestrians, on the part of cyclists,” said Insp. Andre Durocher of the Montreal police traffic division.
Coexistence is not easy, said bike courier Felix Tessier, who recently collided with a motorist opening his door – what’s commonly known as ‘dooring.’
“The minute I crossed the intersection of Aylmer and Ste. Catherine, the second car on my right swung the door open and I got doored,” said Tessier, who suffered a number of bruises.
He was outraged police didn't hand out the new minimum $300 fine for the driver responsible for the dooring.
Montreal police say the dooring law is tough to enforce, because it's hard to determine if the driver or the cyclist was at fault for keeping a safe distance between them.
“How are we going to verify,” said Durocher, who added that new markings on some streets where a buffer zone is clearly indicated might make the streets safer for cyclists.
“If a cyclist is passing there is no dooring, because there's sufficient space,” he said.
Many cyclists say that's not enough, including Magali Bebronne of Velo-Quebec.
“Right now the Highway Safety Code requires that cyclists ride on the extreme right of the road and that's exactly where they're at risk of being doored,” she said.
Tessier said he wishes drivers would use more common sense.
“Cyclists need to learn things and cars need to learn they are driving something that can potentially kill someone over a small lack of attention,” he said.