Quebec coroner’s office says driver education will help cyclist safety

A memorial for cyclist Suzanne Squire, who was killed riding her bike along Parc Avenue in Montreal on July 18, 2013. Amanda Kelly/Global News

MONTREAL – Quebec’s coroner’s office presented the findings of its investigations into the deaths of three cyclists in Montreal in the past year.

The coroners responsible for the report, Dr. Jean Brochu and Dr. Jocelyne Tessier, suggested that all three were experienced cyclists who died in entirely preventable circumstances.

Marc- André Fontaine, 35, died on July 6, 2013 after hitting a car door while riding his bike on Rosemont Boulevard and Suzanne Squire, 55, died on July 25, 2013 after being hit by a bus after swerving to avoid a car door while riding her bike along Parc Avenue. Christian Brulotte, 42, died on April 4, 2013 on Wellington Avenue when he was crushed by a vehicle after falling off his bike in heavy traffic.  

READ MORE: Who owns the roads? Urban cycling advocates raise safety concerns

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The coroner’s report suggests that the City of Montreal and the province of Quebec have not adapted to the fact that there are nearly half a million more cyclists on Quebec roads since 1995.

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“Montreal’s bike paths have not experienced the same growth and do not currently offer a safe alternative to those who use non-motorized travel,” the coroner’s report noted.

READ MORE: Innovative new ‘invisible bike helmet’ on its way to Canada

According to data from the Montreal police, there were 60 recorded incidents of collisions between cyclists and car doors in 2012 and 92 in 2013 – with two deaths in 2013 and one in 2011.

As a result, the coroners’ report focused on car door safety. It had the following suggestions to help create safer conditions for cyclists on the city’s roads:

○ Launch a provincial campaign to remind drivers to look for cyclists before opening car doors.
○ Increase the penalties for drivers who do not safely open their car doors.
○ Review the Highway Safety Code and make commuting safer for cyclists.
○ Flag locations in Montreal that are dangerous for cyclists and make them safer.
○ Create more bicycle boxes at intersections so cyclists can merge in front of traffic.
○ Encourage cyclists to wear helmets.

Read a summary of the report here (in French):


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