Montreal cyclists seek better safety measures

CCTV News

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Beijing has just announced a bigger fleet of rental bicycles to promote ‘green’ commuting.

10,000 kilometers (6213.7 miles) away in Montreal, one-of-every-four people ride a bicycle to work or school.

The Canadian city is known around the world as a bike-friendly place. But cyclists are calling for better safety measures.

CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

Montreal cyclists seek better safety measures

Montreal cyclists seek better safety measures

Beijing has just announced a bigger fleet of rental bicycles to promote 'green' commuting. 10,000 kilometers (6213.7 miles) away in Montreal, one-of-every-four people ride a bicycle to work or school. The Canadian city is known around the world as a bike-friendly place. But cyclists are calling for better safety measures. CCTV America's Roee Ruttenberg reports.

In the Montreal intersection where, last month, 24-year-old Justine Charland St-Amour was killed while riding her bicycle. She was hit by a truck driver, who was trying to turn right.

Gabrielle Anctil didn’t know Justine. But she’s helped turn Justine’s bike into a makes-shift shrine, in her memory.

“What’s problematic is that our cities are not built for cyclists. They’re not even built for pedestrians. They’re built for cars. And that’s extremely dangerous,” she said.

So-called “ghost-bikes” she said, a wake-up call to the city’s drivers, and politicians. A handful are now scattered around Montreal, a city often ranked as one of the world’s best for cycling.

Cycling advocates say: it’s still the safest way to get around. Proponents are pushing for more separate bike lanes and eliminate blind spots for trucks by adding sideguards and cameras.

“In the last 20 years, the number of cyclists increased, a lot, in Montreal and in Quebec Province, and the number of accidents decreased a lot. That means, the more cyclists we have in the street, the safer it is for the cyclists.” Suzanne Lareau said. She is the president of Vélo Québec, a cycling advocacy group for more than 50 years.

It’s a model for other countries could learn from. “China now, just on television, I see traffic jams in cars, and I say: go back and use a bicycle as a simple mode of commuting in town,” she also said.

Half of Montreal’s residents said they frequently use a bicycle. And half of those say: they use that bicycle to get to work or school. Given their numbers, pro-cycling policy can often yield political points.

But cycling is just a better investment, says Marc-Andre Gadoury. He’s a city councilman, and the mayor’s liaison for cycling issues. Cyclists say the cost of inaction may be even greater.