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Montreal police focusing pedestrian safety campaign on seniors as 9 people killed so far in 2019

Pedestrians and cyclists cross Sherbrooke Street in downtown Montreal.
Pedestrians and cyclists cross Sherbrooke Street in downtown Montreal. CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal police are pushing to promote a safety campaign for pedestrians as the number of people killed on city streets continues to climb in 2019.

“It’s a prevention campaign so today we are intervening regarding pedestrians, cyclists or drivers to make sure they know the rules for their own safety,” said police spokesperson Nathalie Valois.

“So they respect the rules and they behave safely… if they cross a street, are they making sure a heavy vehicle has seen them? Because with their blind spot, those drivers might turn at an intersection and might not see the pedestrian.”

READ MORE: Montreal pedestrian deaths at highest level in 6 years

Since January, 10 pedestrians have been hit by vehicles in Montreal. Nine of those incidents were fatal. Seven of the victims were aged 65 and older.

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“We need to reach them first, and it’s not always easy,” Valois said.

“We need to make sure they understand they are vulnerable. Sometimes, it’s explaining to them all the rules and to make sure they respect the rules. It’s a major goal.”

The numbers are quickly catching up to last year, which marked the deadliest year for pedestrians since 2012.

WATCH: Montreal police annual report shows number of pedestrians increased in 2018

Montreal police annual report shows number of pedestrians increased in 2018
Montreal police annual report shows number of pedestrians increased in 2018

“You have to respect all the traffic signs, and from the car, you have to look everywhere and be extra careful because it’s pretty dangerous for pedestrians,” said another police spokesperson, Manuel Couture.

“They don’t have any protection.”

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Last year, 18 people were killed on the territory, according to the Montreal police department’s annual report — up from 15 people in 2017.

READ MORE: 4 Montreal pedestrians hit in 48 hours, prompting calls for better safety measures

“In the last few days, we’ve seen even more fatalities and injuries, and I don’t expect that will get any better in the summer,” Nigel Spencer with Pedestrian Montreal told Global News following the report’s release in June.

“I think there’s a general free-for-all that’s developing.”

He notes there is a lot of traffic and construction frustration among drivers.

WATCH: Making Montreal’s streets safer

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

“People want to get home so they drive through other people’s neighbourhoods as though it’s a freeway,” he said.

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In March, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante introduced a plan to reduce collisions and deaths on the city’s streets.

READ MORE: Montreal unveils new measures to make streets safer

The plan, which is part of Vision Zero, was described as an ambitious strategy designed to improve safety throughout the island by reducing speed limits and improving crosswalks to make them more visible for drivers.

WATCH: Making Montreal safer for pedestrians

Making Montreal safer for pedestrians
Making Montreal safer for pedestrians

—With files from Global News’ Jamie Orchard and Phil Carpenter