2024 has been marked by tragedy on the streets of Montreal, prompting concerns among road safety advocates and residents who assert that more measures should be taken to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists.
A 23-year-old man is presently in police custody following a hit-and-run incident that killed the two pedestrians, aged 30 and 31, on Monday morning at the intersection of Henri-Bourassa and de l’Acadie boulevards.
Montreal locals concerned
The sentiment of worry about safety, particularly after the recent tragedy, was shared by numerous locals. Adeline Ah-Lone-Chan expressed that the collision was not a big surprise due to the way drivers and pedestrians pass through the intersection carelessly. “It’s definitely worrying,” she told the CBC. “When I take the car, you can see pedestrians don’t look.”
Running red lights
Montreal police indicated that the driver was likely speeding and ran a red light, resulting in the fatal collision. Both victims were declared dead at the scene. After fleeing on foot and abandoning the vehicle, the driver was quickly arrested.
“We were able to find a vehicle at the corner of Henri Bourassa and Dutrisac Street,” Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant, spokesperson for the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said. The accused faces charges of dangerous driving causing death and operating a vehicle while impaired.
High speed was a factor
“We know for a fact that speed was a factor in that collision,” Brabant said. The City of Montreal has plans to renovate Henri-Bourassa Boulevard over the next two years, incorporating a reserved bus lane and a bike lane.
“If you make the roads safer, there’s a way to force you to be careful,” Séverine Le Page of the advocacy group Souliers et vélos fantômes Québec said.
Car as a weapon
“You have to realize that a vehicle is a tool and it’s practical but also a potentially deadly weapon. The intersection brings two major urban routes together, and there’s a highway ramp nearby. Drivers don’t want to slow down,” she said, “and they ignore the 50 km/h speed limit.”
There is dense housing in the area and busy bus routes, she added.
“Making the intersection safer is an important step, but there is more to do to protect cyclists and pedestrians,” Le Page said.