City of Montreal's plan to make streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists

The Plante administration has unveiled its promised three year strategy to make city streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

The ambitious "Vision Zero" plan includes a post-accident committee to analyze collisions and many pilot projects including reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h island-wide on most main  streets, making pedestrians more aware about following traffic lights and getting suppliers to put sideguards on their trucks. They will also boost security measures around schools - to the tune of $25M.

Among the 22 measures: getting better permanent paint for street markings, stepping up the plan to put in more traffic lights with pedestrian countdowns, putting in buffer zones on new bike paths to prevent dooring and solving the dilemma of heavy trucks circulating in and near residential areas.

But Plante emphasized that this plan wasn't a quick fix and the city can't do it alone.

"I also need to have the whole population understanding and committing to this Vision Zero because it's not acceptable that people die crossing a street," said Montreal mayor Valérie Plante at a news conference.

A dedicated team of seven professionals will be responsible for the plan.

The number of people who suffered injuries in road accidents in the city has decreased over the years but the number of deaths has remained steady, hovering around 25 a year for the past eight years - on average, 14 of those deaths are cyclists.

The most typical kind of accident happens when a car turning left hits a pedestrian (10.6%) and when a motorist travelling straight hits a pedestrian (18.6%).

The five main causes of collisions causing injury or death:

  • not paying attention
  • burning a red light
  • not yielding to a pedestrian, cyclist or another motorist
  • negligent behaviour
  • impaired driving

Over 75% of accidents causing injury or death happen at intersections.