You have to admit you've done it at least once this year, we all have. During one of Montreal's more raging winter storms, you probably had to venture outside at some point. Trying to walk along the icy, covered in banks of snow sidewalk would be impossible without falling and seriously hurting yourself. Instead, you decided to walk in the road instead. It seems like an easy decision to just look out for passing cars and get around safely while walking in the road, but did you know you could get a ticket from Montreal police for doing just that?
Luckily, there's one thing you can do to ensure that you don't receive a fine for something you really had no choice but to do. Don't worry, avoiding a ticket shouldn't be too hard if you remember to do this one thing.
TL;DR According to the Quebec Highway Safety Code, you cannot walk in the road when a sidewalk is present. An exception is made if the sidewalk is impossible to navigate, which is the case in many areas of Montreal this winter. A lawyer advises that you take photos of the sidewalk and keep weather reports with you in the event that an officer stops you, to avoid receiving a ticket.
Over the weekend one Montreal man chose to walk in the road after hearing about a friend that injured their knee when slipping and falling on a sidewalk. The man was stopped by the SPVM and given a ticket for violating Article 452 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code.
The article states that: "When there is a sidewalk bordering the roadway, a pedestrian must use it."
It isn't always that simple, is it? For example, right after the major snowstorm this month many of us found it much safer and more efficient to avoid sidewalks until they were plowed, which in some neighbourhoods took days.
Still, there's always a chance you'll get fined for not complying with this law. So, how do you avoid a ticket or avoid paying the fine? Well, one Montreal lawyer advises everyone to take photos of the condition of the sidewalk before walking in the road.
Having photo evidence is the most important thing, because then you can prove that it would be impossible for you to safely walk on the sidewalk. The lawyer also advises keeping records of weather statements or weather advisories for the week, which will help even more in a court case.
Although walking on the sidewalk is law, pedestrians are legally allowed to walk along the road when sidewalks are impossible to navigate. So, as long as you're prepared if an officer stops you, you're technically not doing anything wrong.
Have you received a ticket this year for not walking on the snow-covered city sidewalks?