While not a big fan of Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s plans for downtown, I do understand the need to temporarily widen the sidewalks during the COVID-19 pandemic. By dedicating half the existing street surface to pedestrians, physical distancing can easily take place.
However, one wonders if a greater health risk than COVID-19 may be the potential for a collision with a cyclist on a main conduit such as Ste. Catherine Street.
However, one wonders if a greater health risk than COVID-19 may be the potential for a collision with a cyclist on a main conduit such as Ste. Catherine Street. The city has clearly indicated that the pedestrian walk is no place for bikes (unless being walked), roller-blades, scooters, or skateboards. Yet, on a daily basis, the pedestrian zone is inundated with all manner of wheeled, some motor-powered, traffic. What kind of mind rides a bike on a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway?
I know there are many law-abiding cyclists in the city, I see them on other main streets patiently waiting for the light to turn green. Yet on the designated pedestrian stretch of Ste. Catherine, there are too many bikes dangerously breaking the law.
Having police give chase, either by car or on bike, would only exacerbate the danger.
Frustratingly, there is no simple solution. A significant police presence, preferably on foot, might help, but that presumes the scofflaw cyclists will stop when told to. Something I have serious doubts about. Having police give chase, either by car or on bike, would only exacerbate the danger. Education is our only hope.
Fingers crossed this recipe for disaster will be dealt with before a tragedy occurs. But I’m not going to hold my breath.