Photo cred - Alex L'aventurier
Looks like we have a Montreal road turf war on our hands, with certain STM bus drivers pissed that cyclists are using their bus-only lanes. Citing safety for bus passengers and cyclists alike as the reasoning, some STM bus drivers want bikes officially prohibited in reserved bus lanes.
A petition has been circling all summer in support of the cyclist-prohibition, which existed since last June, but has gained new steam. The petition, according to STM bus driver Jency Mercier who spoke to La Presse, now has hundreds of signatures.
The petition isn't an all-encompassing ban on bikes. Rather, the goal is make a law that officially disallows cyclists from biking on reserved bus lanes during rush hour periods.
One section of Viau street has already become a lane dedicated to buses, taxis, and cyclists. While only in operation since August 11th, the triple-threat lane is a worry to STM drivers, as they fear the new setup will extend to all bus-only lanes throughout the city.
Montreal's police force are actually sympathetic with cyclists on this one, as said by La Presse, basically because bikers are caught between a rock and hard place in this setup. #487 of Quebec's Highway Safety Code states cyclists must ride on the right of the road, where bus-only lanes tend to be set up, so they have nowhere else to ride during rush hour.
So there's a worrying dilemma in the works here, because if they law is passed, cyclists will not be able to ride on reserved bus lanes, which is technically where they're supposed to be, as it's the right-most lane on the street.
On one hand, we understand where the STM drivers are coming from. Seeing a cyclist in front of a bus is kinda unnerving, and can seriously slow down bus service. Still, cyclists need a spot on the road, and it's not as if the "to the right" rule is new. And no doubt pedestrians will get pissed if cyclist flock to the sidewalk. Cyclists seem to be in a lose-lose situation here, let's hope it doesn't stay so bleak for bikers.
Photo cred - Jean Ange
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte