- Some SPVM bicycle cops are now equipped with a device to better enforce Quebec traffic laws.
- The device measures the distance between drivers and cyclists.
- Drivers who violate the safe distance outlined in the Highway Safety Code will receive a ticket.
Drivers will need to be extra vigilant around bicycle police on Montreal's roads now because the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) has just introduced a new device that will help officers enforce the Quebec Highway Safety Code's standards on the minimum safe passing distance.
According to the law, "drivers of road vehicles must slow down and respect a safe distance when passing a cyclist. This distance is 1.5 metres on roads where the speed limit is more than 50 km/hour and 1 metre on roads where the limit is 50km/h or less." CTV News writes that the SPVM will write people tickets instead of warnings from now on.
Montreal police have already field-tested this new device, called C3FT, in the West Island over the summer. On the West Island's wide streets, the device is effective but could pose a problem with those who drive on Montreal's compact city streets.
The device shoots out ultrasonic waves to detect the distance between the bike and a passing car. When it detects a vehicle that breaches the required distance, a light flashes and it buzzes. The technology is being installed on only four police bikes and but will soon be seen on a street near you.
The minimum passing law has been in place since 2016 but the SPVM says that it's difficult to enforce just by eyesight alone. Drivers often have no idea how close they are to cyclists on the road and vice-versa.
Police hope that this new device will prevent accidents and keep drivers vigilant about passing too close to a bicycle. They expect drivers won't be happy about the new technology as they expect more tickets to be handed out because of it.
Apparently, on Montreal's already crowded streets, police recommend that drivers stop and let the cyclist pass first if they feel like they can't respect a safe distance. I'm sure that'll go over really well with Montreal drivers.
The fines for not respecting a minimum safe distance between a cyclist is $200 plus fees, meaning a total $313 plus two demerit points, according to CTV News.
Now, with the C3FT, the police will be issuing more tickets to drivers than ever before. Only 4 police bikes are equipped with the device as it costs $1,480 per unit. If successful, it's likely that the SPVM will put more C3FTs on the streets.
This news will understandably make some drivers in Montreal quite nervous. The reality is that our streets are over-crowded with bikes and cars and now, e-scooters.
Enforcing road laws has always been difficult and accidents are frequent. It's encouraging that the SPVM is looking out for the safety of cyclists, however.
You can also purchase a C3FT for yourself if you have a spare $1,500 bucks laying around. Though I don't know how a driver will react once the light flashes and the device starts buzzing.
The C3FT will be implemented as soon as possible. Stay vigilant, folks!