The lull of the pandemic now over, the number of pedestrians injured in road accidents has started to rise again, according to new figures made public on Monday. The publication of these data is consistent with a national demonstration on Tuesday to denounce road insecurity near schools.
For the first time, on Monday, the Montreal Police Service published statistical reports on crimes committed on the territory of each of its 29 neighborhood stations on a quarterly basis.
These figures, compiled by The Pressshow an increase in the number of pedestrians injured in accidents in the metropolis during the first nine months of 2022.
There were then no fewer than 39 pedestrians seriously injured in road accidents, an increase of 56% compared to the same period in 2021. In the category of slightly injured, there were 505 pedestrians, an increase of 11.5% compared to the previous year.
The director general of the Piétons Québec organization, Sandrine Cabana-Degani, is not overly surprised by these statistics, since in 2021, “due to the pandemic, the curfew, the confinement, the pedestrian balance sheet has been better than previous years.
The aging of the population would explain, according to her, this return to a dismal road record for pedestrians. “A slight injury for someone 20 years old, it can be more serious for someone older,” says Sandrine Cabana-Degani.
The increase in the size of vehicles is the second factor in question, according to her. While the proportion of the vehicle fleet made up of SUVs and light trucks was 20.1% in 2011, it is now 42%, recalls Ms.me Cabana Degani.
National mobilization this Tuesday
This Tuesday morning, parents and elected officials will meet in front of more than 25 schools in Quebec at the time of the arrival of the students for a large noisy mobilization entitled “Let’s put an end to road safety in school zones”.
Parents and children are invited by the Not one more death movement to “bang pots or ring bells” to signal “the end of recess” for elected officials and to denounce the road insecurity that the massive presence of motorized vehicles in school zones generates daily.
The group is calling for road improvements that force motorists to slow down to take into account the presence of children walking to school. Until now, few school zones in Quebec have been equipped with such facilities that promote active travel that is safe and protected from motorized traffic.
In Montreal, the elected representatives of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Manon Massé, Andrés Fontecilla, Haroun Bouazzi and Vincent Marissal, will be in front of schools in their riding to support parents in their requests.
“Wanted pedestrian experience”
At the same time, a pan-Canadian research group is calling on the public to gather as much data as possible about the experience of pedestrians across the country.
Marie-Soleil Cloutier, director of the Pedestrians and Urban Space Laboratory at the National Institute for Scientific Research, says she is appealing to the public because it is difficult for researchers to find this information.
We want people to tell us where a sidewalk is missing, but also where they almost got knocked down. The idea is to have the pedestrian experience.
Marie-Soleil Cloutier, Director of the Pedestrians and Urban Space Laboratory
On the Onmarcheonroule website. org is an interactive map where citizens are invited to report a hazard or concern, suggest a missing facility or report an incident, such as a collision, fall or near-collision.
Mme Cloutier points out that the City of Gatineau has been particularly proactive in using this tool, which it uses to identify problem areas for travel in the city, and that it intends to use it in its active mobility plan.
A declaration adopted
Meanwhile, at Montreal City Council on Monday, elected officials unanimously adopted a “declaration to accelerate the implementation of actions to increase the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and all road users and all road users in Montreal”.
Mayor Valérie Plante denounced the fact that the car fleet is growing faster than the population of the metropolis.
The increase in the number of cars and excessive speed are the two main reasons that lead to collisions.
Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal
Two weeks ago, the municipal administration announced that during the year 2023, around 50 establishments frequented by children, including schools and daycare centers as well as two parks, will be secured. A second initiative will be announced later in the year, this time to secure the surroundings of places frequented by seniors.
Mme Plante called on elected officials of all parties to have the courage to implement traffic calming measures in their boroughs, even if they are unpopular with “rushed motorists”.
With Pierre-André Normandin, The Press