Police association reports drop in Quebec road fatalities in 2023

Police officers joined forces with cycling and pedestrian advocates to promote road safety. Tim Sargeant/Global News

The Police Directors Association of Quebec is reporting that the total number of deaths on roads in the province declined by five per cent in 2023 compared to 2022.

There were a total of 370 fatalities last year, a drop of 22 compared to the 392 people who died on Quebec roads in 2022.

The most significant decrease was among pedestrians, where a 23 per cent drop was reported year over year.

But advocates for pedestrian safety say they’re not surprised, as 2o22 was a record year for deaths in recent memory.

“We’re relieved that 2023 has better numbers than 2022 but we have to keep in mind that 2022 was the worst pedestrian record for 15 years,” Sandrine Cabana-Degani of Piétons Québec, told reporters.

Cabana-Degani says it’s too early to say whether the downward slide is a trend — she insists more work needs to be done — such as making crosswalks more visible and adding more of them to the roads.

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“The road design isn’t adapted to pedestrians now. It’s made for cars to flow,” she said.

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There was no change in the total number of deaths of cyclists between 2022 and 2023 — nine people on bikes died each year.

Cycling safety advocates say there is a recent downward trend of deaths — largely due to more safety measures that have been put in place — such as physical separators between bike lanes and roads.

“If you want to make it safer for cyclists, either you separate them from the roads or you reduce the speed of cars,” Jean-François Rheault, the Vélo Québec president, told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Traffic Tips: Traffic calming measures'
Traffic Tips: Traffic calming measures

Montreal police officials say they plan to have a large presence of officers this year to crack down on pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who don’t respect the rules of the road and the Quebec Highway Safety Code.

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“We’re going to intensify our presence on the road,” said Michel Lebrun, the SPVM’s  road safety commander.

Advocates for safety say they will continue with a public awareness campaign this year reminding everyone to be respectful and share the road.

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