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Montreal police force lets jaywalkers choose their punishment as part of road safety campaign

Pedestrians and cyclists cross Sherbrooke Street in downtown Montreal.
Montreal police say they want pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings. CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal pedestrians who were caught crossing at a red light near Lionel-Groulx and Charlevoix Metro stations on Thursday were given an unusual choice — to pay the $48 fine or to register for an information session about road safety.

The pardon is part of Montreal police’s Troque ton Ticket public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the number of accidents on city streets.

“The main message is to get pedestrians and cyclists to change their behaviours concerning road safety and to understand that they are vulnerable,” said police spokesperson Véronique Dubuc.

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So far, 54 per cent of pedestrians who were caught violating traffic laws pledged to attend the information session, she added.

The information session lasts approximately 90 minutes and offenders must register within seven days of the infraction for their ticket to be revoked.

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“There are lots of places they can go and register their names, and also lots of dates and times. It’s pretty easy to get involved and commit to that,” Dubuc said.

READ MORE: Montreal announces new road safety measures on Mount Royal

Dubuc says the campaign is a reminder to obey traffic laws, including only crossing the street when the light is green and being visible to driver. Most of all, police hope to send a clear message to pedestrians about avoiding distractions while walking.

“Just take your phone and put it away in your pocket while you’re crossing the street,” said Dubuc. “It could happen that you can get hurt or get hit by a car because you’re just looking at your phone and you’re not looking around.”

Since the beginning of the year there have been eight deadly collisions in Montreal and seven of them involved pedestrians, according to police.

The annual campaign, which is in its third year, is set to last through the summer.

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Making Montreal’s streets safer
Making Montreal’s streets safer