Jaywalking is a way of life in Montreal. The only people who don't jaywalk are tourists, as you can pretty much pinpoint who doesn't live in the city simply by seeing if they actually follow the traffic lights at crosswalks.
Seriously, just ask yourself this simple question: when there are no cars in sight, and you need to cross the street, wouldn't you just go, without even thinking about the crosswalk or street light?
Of course you would. We all would. And that's pretty much why Montreal pedestrians get more tickets (read: get screwed over) more than any other city in Canada.
Last year alone, Montreal police officers doled out a whopping total of 22,708 offenses to pedestrians of the city. That's more than double the amount of pedestrian-tickets given in Toronto, as a TVA study reveals.
In comparison to Canada's other major cities, Montreal still comes out the clear "winner" (quotations used because this isn't much of a win for anyone) when it comes to tickets given to pedestrians. The vast difference in the number of offenses is pretty striking, as you can see below:
- Montreal: 22,708
- Toronto: 9,310
- Quebec City: 890
- Calgary: 608
- Vancouver: 84
As you could probably guess, jaywalking accounted for a majority of tickets given to Montreal pedestrians. But why does the SPVM have it out for all of us jaywalking pedestrians? Well, in truth, they have a pretty good answer.
Speaking to TVA, an SPVM representative basically said that the reason behind the high ticket rate for pedestrians is simple negative reinforcement; by handing out tickets for jaywalking, Montrealers will do it less, and thus the number of pedestrian-related accidents will decrease.
Given that Montreal drivers tend to not respect the right of way for pedestrians (based on personal experience) and that 55% of fatal accidents involve pedestrians (based on a TVA statistic), the SPVM may be working in our best interest.
One also can't ignore a couple of other factors that likely added to Montreal's #1 ranking for pedestrian tickets, namely construction and actual police guiding traffic.
The former pretty much forces people to jaywalk at certain intersections, and the latter places ticket-ready police right at spots where jaywalking will most likely occur. Basically, Montreal simultaneously breeds and reprimands jaywalking, creating a pedestrian-situation that is far from the ideal.