Viewpoint : May 2014

Cyclist safety: it is high time to act!

It can never be said enough: tunnels and viaducts are traps for cyclists. They are not very wide and vehicles move through them at high speed. If they are used, it is because they constitute the only means of getting to the other side of such obstacles as a railroad track, major artery, highway, canal, etc.

We have debated the issue with municipal authorities and the MTQ for years. In June 2013, Vélo Québec met with the SPVM and the City of Montréal to request that the police cease interventions aimed at penalizing cyclists who ride on the sidewalks in tunnels and viaducts. We then asked the City to implement two simple solutions that would have an immediate impact: 1) authorizing cyclists to ride on the sidewalk at a reduced speed compatible with that of pedestrians or 2) creating a bike lane on the road to give cyclists adequate space. All of this would begin with the tunnels and viaducts most used by cyclists.

In April 2013, a cyclist perished when biking along Wellington Street, over the Lachine Canal. This week, a cyclist was killed in the St-Denis Tunnel. In both cases, a lack of space cost them their lives. We ask the City of Montréal, which has been working on the case since last year, to act promptly to improve the safety of cyclists, particularly in tunnels and viaducts. We ask the SPVM to show good judgement and prevent interventions aimed at preventing cyclists from using sidewalks in tunnels and viaducts. Time is of the essence!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO