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Montreal police launch pedestrian awareness campaign

Last year, Montreal police were at the scene of a downtown collision involving a car and a pedestrian. Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Last year, Montreal police were at the scene of a downtown collision involving a car and a pedestrian. TVA

Montreal police have launched an awareness campaign after two fatal collisions involving pedestrians in the city’s west end in the last two years.

The aim is to alert the public about the dangers of crossing street intersection without being careful.

Dubbed Operation Intersection Safety, the campaign targets both pedestrians and motorists alike, and runs until July 14 in Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West.

READ MORE: Montreal cyclist seriously injured after collision with car

Police officers will issue information pamphlets, and possibly tickets, to anyone caught entering an intersection illegally, or to jay walkers.

According to Montreal Police Commander Jean O’Malley, of stations 9 and 12, the aim is to reach as many people as possible.

READ MORE: Montreal police target jaywalkers, cyclists in new campaign

“We have police officers stationed at various intersections, mostly at rush hour or at lunchtime, when we can reach most of the people,” he said.

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“It is mostly elderly people in the area and they are grateful that we are giving them this information.”

In fact, O’Malley explained that the pedestrians who died in the last two accidents were seniors – the last one, just a few months ago.

However, the problem of high collision rates at intersections aren’t just limited to that part of the city.

READ MORE: Cyclist in coma after downtown Montreal accident

Police note that “[o]n the island of Montreal, 77 per cent of personal injury collisions occurred within five meters of an intersection or directly at the intersection,” and perhaps the biggest cause, O’Malley explained, were distractions.

Additionally, many people don’t know when it’s permissible to cross at a traffic light.

O’Malley explained that “a lot of pedestrians think that just because there’s a green light that it’s OK to cross.”

READ MORE: Two pedestrians hit by taxi in downtown Montreal

Yet, crossing when the red hand is flashing is an infraction and pedestrians can be ticketed for doing it.

This is the first time that  police are conducting this pedestrian safety campaign and, according to O’Malley, “all we want to do is to keep people safe.”

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