- Pedestrian safety in Montreal is in question already, just days into 2020.
- Three Montreal pedestrians were struck by vehicles in the span of just two days, one resulting in a fatality.
- All three incidents involved a large vehicle like an SUV or pickup truck.
As reported by the CBC on December 24, 2019, Montreal reached an all-time high when it comes to pedestrian deaths in 2019, and it's looking like 2020 if off to the same unfortunate start. In the span of just two days, three different pedestrians were struck by large vehicles, highlighting the ongoing issue of pedestrians safety in Montreal. These three incidents all occurred within 48 hours of each other, mere days into the new year.
On Friday evening, January 3, an 18-year-old male driver struck a 50-year-old man in Montreal North during what SPVM officials are alleging was a "street race."
The next day, Saturday, January 4, two elderly women in their 70s were struck by two different vehicles in unrelated incidents. Both drivers were males in their 20s.
The first woman has sadly passed after being struck by a pickup truck late Saturday afternoon in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. The second woman was struck by an SUV in Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension in the early evening. She was reported to be "in critical but stable condition at the hospital," according to CJAD News.
A noticeable connection between all three incidents is the large vehicle being driven by each driver, either an SUV or a pickup truck.
A 2015 report from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that "a pedestrian struck by an SUV or pickup truck is two to three times more likely to be killed than one hit by a conventional passenger car," according to this piece in The Globe and Mail.
The Globe and Mail piece also notes that Canada now has the largest market share of "light trucks" in the world, meaning these large vehicles, which can so easily take a human life, are increasingly popular, even on city streets.
The city's response to these incidents, as it was to the record-breaking number of pedestrian deaths that occurred in Montreal during 2019, is to try and demand more respect for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings.
This effort, called Vision Zero, will come through the extension of crossing times at intersections, with an even-more-increased time in areas with slower-moving locals, such as areas where there are CLSCs, hospitals, and schools nearby.
However, it is undeniable that the onus cannot always be on the pedestrian trying to swiftly cross the road.
In the incidents mentioned above, both 70-year-old women were struck by vehicles that were making left-hand turns, the CBC reports, and both vehicles were both moving at a "low speed."
Even with tons of time to cross, a driver in a large vehicle could easily miss a small pedestrian slowly crossing a large intersection.
The hopeful news is that no Montreal cyclists were killed on the road in 2019. Perhaps it's optimistic to say this is because of heightened social awareness paired with the city's ongoing efforts to make cyclists more visible and better protected throughout the city... but we can only hope the city's efforts work in the same direction for pedestrians going forward.