Quebec pedestrian safety group wants to ban turning right on red lights

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Turning right on red in Quebec
WATCH ABOVE: Pedestrian safety group Pietons Québec is calling for a complete ban on turning right on a red light in the province. Global's Tim Sargeant reports – Jan 9, 2017

Pedestrian safety group Pietons Québec is calling for a ban on cars turning right on red lights in the province.

The group argued the practice can unnecessarily put pedestrians in danger.

READ MORE: Turning right on red: Montreal mayors want to change traffic rules on island

Representatives from Pietons Québec insist traffic flow should not be the only objective when optimizing how well intersections function.

Rather, the group says red lights should be a time for all traffic to come to a complete stop, which they say will make the province safer and more pedestrian-friendly.

At a press conference in December, Town of Mount Royal (TMR) mayor Philippe Roy argued an opinion survey commissioned by the agglomeration suggested nearly three-quarters of people living on the island want right turns on red lights.

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“It’s been allowed everywhere in Quebec for 13 years and the statistics from the transport department demonstrate that the behaviour of Quebec drivers are identical to those elsewhere in Canada and North America,” he said.

Roy argued transport department statistics show the number of vehicles has tripled since 1976 to 6.3 million from 2.2 million.

Montreal East mayor Robert Coutu said the benefits far outweigh the negatives: improved traffic circulation, pollution reduction and savings in time and money.

He said about four out of 10 traffic lights don’t permit right turns in Quebec and a similar proportion of Montreal intersections would be exempted.

READ MORE: Montreal West to get new traffic light

The ban on turning right would continue in certain densely populated areas, including the city’s busy downtown core with its pedestrian and cyclist traffic.

“In this context, right on red could be allowed for 1,550 intersections on the territory,” Coutu said.

Montreal and New York are believed to be the only two cities in North America that don’t allow vehicles to turn right on red.

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