The SUV came out of nowhere. Yolanda Corces felt a shock in his hip. It is designed and collapsed in the street. The black stroller she was holding broke. The impact ejected little Clara, 14 months, in the middle of the road, a few meters from the entrance to her daycare.
The collision occurred at rush hour on the morning of November 18, 2014, at the corner of Saint-Urbain Street and Fairmount Avenue in Montreal. The driver of the SUV entrust police he did not see the lady of 62 years before entering the intersection.
“My grandmother did not see it coming,” says Michelle Puga, who went to the hospital that morning.
Yolanda Corces did not realize it, but she came in that morning one of the 1127 Montreal intersections with lights that have no fire to pedestrian, however, a measure to reduce collisions recognized for over 40 years by experts public health – although it is impossible to say that such fires could have prevented the collision in this case.
In Montreal, only 51% of signalized intersections also have lights across the streets to guide and protect the people who cross them on foot. This is by far the worst record in the major cities in Canada and the United States, where the rate of implementation of pedestrian lights is 98% on average, according to a review of La Presse.
“The numbers speak for themselves: for the City of Montreal, it is as if there were two kinds of road users and that if you’re not in a car, you switch to second, Felix explains Gravel, co-spokesperson for Québec Pedestrians, new organization launched in October. Contrary to what is happening elsewhere, Montreal think first of all to the fluidity of motor transport. The question is: “Is this comes at the expense of pedestrians? ‘”
Reduce the risk
The lack of pedestrian lights affects the arteries that are among the busiest in the city.
At the corner of Jean-Talon Street West and Victoria Avenue in Côte-des-Neiges, 14 traffic lanes converge almost four residential towers with no pedestrian light is installed. At the corner of Park Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue, used by thousands of pedestrians who travel every week on the mountain, pedestrian lights are absent on the north-south axis of the intersection, where collisions with pedestrians are documented since at least 1999.
When they ask the help of elected representatives, citizens injured in a collision or worried to see children crossing poorly equipped intersections for pedestrians often feel to be considered a nuisance.
“We are seen as granos sandals with woolen socks, Dominique says Barsalou, lawyer and member of a group of citizens of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, where the work on the reconstruction of the Turcot interchange made increase traffic on local streets, where the pedestrian facilities are often lacking, she said. It’s frustrating because we are also motorists. We understand both sides of the equation. And we see that the opinion of a pedestrian does not count. ”
In an interview with La Presse in his office in City Hall, Aref Salem, responsible for transportation to the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal and the borough councilor St. Lawrence said that the City knows it is late to catch up.
“The Minister of Transport requires us to put all our traffic lights to standards [replacement of mechanical controllers by electronic controllers, including] by 2017. There are 800 that had already been brought up to standard, but without pedestrian fire . Since 2011 or 2012, all bets standards also have pedestrian lights with countdown. Beyond 2017, we will continue to install pedestrian lights in the 800 places where we had not installed. So by, say, 2018 or 2019, all intersections with traffic lights will be equipped with pedestrian lights in the City of Montreal, “says Mr. Salem.
Mr. Salem talking about a 33% reduction in injury crashes in Montreal and a decrease of 52% of fatal collisions since 2007. Data that encompass all road users, including motorists, and do not isolate pedestrians. According to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), the number of deaths and serious injuries among pedestrians in Montreal has not experienced a decline over the past decade (see table on page 3).
Of course, pedestrians are likely not to obey the signs. Contrary to popular belief, this does not explain the majority of collisions.
The top of the list in Montreal collision scenario occurs “when a vehicle makes a left turn and the pedestrian crosses respecting signage,” according to a 2014 report from the Montreal Transport Directorate.
This is what happened in a fatal collision at the corner of Avenue De Chateaubriand and Bélanger Street last year. Huguette Bergeron, an octogenarian, was pulled and was left trapped under the wheels of a trailer that was turning. The crossroads contained no pedestrian fire.
In its report, the coroner Jean Brochu wrote: “I recommend to the City of Montreal to take steps to make them as safe as possible for users and intersections, especially the most vulnerable road users.”
A year and a half after the death of Ms. Bergeron, the pedestrian lights are now installed at the intersection where the collision occurred. However, the neighboring square, Saint-Zotique and Chateaubriand, is still lacking, as well as the corner of Saint-Zotique and Saint-Denis, busiest yet.
Felix Gravel, co-spokesperson for Québec Pedestrians, reports that Montreal has no “running back” designated within the administration of Mayor Denis Coderre to take care of pedestrians.
“The pedestrian folder has no appointed official in the City, there is no not pedestrian committee. It is as if it was not anyone to take care of that. Then things drag on. ”
After the collision on St. Urbain, last year, Yolanda Corces arrived at the hospital with a cracked hip, two broken ribs and nervous shock. Soon after, she suffered a ruptured aneurysm, his doctors have linked to the collision.
Today she has lost her mobility and must stay home. His condition requires constant supervision, day or night.
“I stopped everything to take care of my grandmother,” says his granddaughter, Michelle Puga, 23, who ended his plans to study in horticulture since the accident.
Ejected to the ground after impact, little Clara arrived at the hospital in an ambulance. After eight hours of observation, his doctors declared it safe.
His mother, Alpheus Beauchamp, complained to City 311 shortly after requesting that pedestrian lights are installed at the corner of Saint-Urbain and Fairmount. Dozens of children from three day care centers and school each day borrow the intersection of high traffic density, has she argued.
Nearly a year after the collision, pedestrian lights are still absent.