Turning right on red discussed at Montreal public consultations on road safety

Click to play video 'Turning right on red in Montreal' Turning right on red in Montreal
WATCH ABOVE: Should Montrealers be allowed to turn right on a red light? Global's Gloria Henriquez reports – Feb 28, 2017

Montrealers are having their voices heard this week on whether it’s time to allow right turns on red lights in the city.

The auto insurance board and Transports Quebec are holding public hearings on road security issues.

Beaconsfield mayor Georges Bourelle spoke at the consultation, representing 17 mayors of demerged cities and boroughs in Montreal who want to change the law.

“We’re talking about a total population of North America of 35 million people and there are 22 million that don’t have a right turn,” Bourelle said.

Bourelle said being able to turn right on red can help Montrealers avoid headaches on the road.

“We certainly can increase traffic flow and increasing traffic flow will save time,” Bourelle explained.

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“It will also reduce cost of gasoline used by drivers because they won’t have to idle so much at the corner.”

Back in December, the coalition of mayors conducted an opinion poll.

Results showed around 75 per cent of Montrealers sampled want to be able to turn right on red lights.

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

He’s hoping the province will take his arguments into consideration and change the Quebec Highway Safety Code.

The City of Montreal doesn’t think it is a good idea.

Executive Committee member Aref Salem said traffic accidents have been decreasing since 2015 and allowing right-hand turns would change that.

“When we see a 53 per cent drop in the people killed by accidents in the City of Montreal – which is a lot – we know we’re on the right track,” Salem said.

In January, pedestrian safety group Pietons Québec called for a ban on cars turning right on red lights in the province.

The group argued it can unnecessarily put pedestrians in danger.

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

Quebec’s Transport Minister Laurent Lessard is expected to use the public consultations to decide if the province should make changes to the Highway Safety Code.

Consultations continue in Montreal until March 1.