In addition to issuing a statement of offense to motorists parked on bike paths, officers from the Sustainable Mobility Agency will be able to have illegally parked vehicles towed away.
For a crowded borough like Park Extension a cyclist’s life is not an easy one. Illegally parked cars present a danger to the few existing bike paths in Park ex. That is why Montreal is stepping up its surveillance of motorists who park illegally in bike paths. The Réseau express vélo (REV) Saint-Denis, officers will now circulate on seven busy axes to issue statements of offence. And soon, they will also be able to tow cars blocking the way.
“It’s illegal to park on a bike path, and we want it to be known”, said the person in charge of transport and mobility on the Montreal executive committee, Sophie Mauzerolle.
At the end of May, when it announced its 2022 bicycle program, the Plante administration had revealed that the REV Saint-Denis would be the subject of a pilot project of continuous monitoring in order to crack down on vehicles parked on cycle paths, a phenomenon “increasingly reported” to municipal authorities. Agents from the Sustainable Mobility Agency (AMD) are assigned to it.
Between June 1 and August 1 — i.e. the first two months of the pilot project, including one where the REV Saint-Denis was the only monitored axis — the City claims to have issued more than 400 tickets to motorists illegally parked in a bike path, the equivalent of seven per day. The fine is $173.
“Our desire remains to extend this to the entire territory eventually, but we are going there gradually. The AMD will meanwhile identify sectors where there seems to be more delinquency, says Sophie Mauzerolle. The idea, starting with the REV Saint-Denis, was to see the degree of intervention that it would require and the number of officers needed. It is also an axis with more commercial sectors, others more inhabited, so it gives an idea of where the main problems lie.
At Vélo Québec, the president and general manager, Jean-François Rheault, applauds the initiative. “We are especially happy to see that the City is adjusting quickly, following a pilot project during the year.” he said. As for the towing of vehicles blocking the passage, Mr. Rheault recalls that such a practice is already used in several cities, some even doing it in the reserved lanes. “It certainly helps to solve the security problem, and instantly. It also contributes to education, to behavior change. When it happens to us, we remember it and we pay attention,” said the CEO. He calls on the City to “continue to collect data” on the evolution of the cycling network, to “constantly adjust” and add even more monitoring on more axes, as the number of daily passages increases. increase.
Often when it happens, a vehicle parked in a bike lane, the way to report it is to call 911. But that’s really not the best tool. Having a dedicated squad, we think it will really improve the safety of cyclists, who are already more vulnerable.
The whole thing comes as Quebec has experienced a marked increase in the number of cyclists hospitalized during the pandemic, a phenomenon completely opposite to the trend in the rest of the population. According to data released Tuesday the 9th of August by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the number of hospitalizations due to cycling injuries increased by 20% for the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Some 1,199 cyclists ended up in the emergency room during this period, compared to 1,001 for the same period the previous year.
Meanwhile, as Quebecers were asked to stay at home due to the pandemic, the number of hospitalizations fell sharply from 67,374 to 60,792 compared to the previous year, a decrease of ‘around 10 %. CIHI’s hypothesis to explain these statistics is quite simple: the number of cyclists has increased tenfold during the pandemic, for lack of other sports options available.