Cycling accidents have dropped over the last three years, according to Montreal Police Station 3 Const. Daniel Maheu.
© TC Media - Rob Amyot
Bicycle accidents in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Ile Bizard-Ste. Genevieve have dropped since 2012, according to Station 3 police.
Since the beginning of the year, only two accidents have been reported – nine less than in 2013.
The statistics include accidents in which pedestrians and motorists are involved.
“I think people are being safer. We see more helmets and the signs and street lights are being respected,” Const. Maheu told the Chronicle last week.
The number, in fact, has been on the decline since 2012, when there were 20 reported accidents involving cyclists.
Maheu wouldn’t divulge how many have died, however.
A few years back, he said, people would cross intersections without checking both sides first – causing them to overlook potential car or bike traffic. Now road users – pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers – seem to be more attentive to what is happening on the road, Const. Maheu added.
Bike patrols helping
Every summer, a couple of police officers trade their official cars for bikes, patrolling in a more active way. Closer to the community by being more accessible, they work to raise awareness of different issues – like ensuring a safe cycling trip.
“They will, for example, give advice to cyclists and drivers on the bike paths about the rules,” said Const. Maheu.
The station’s bike patrol also gives out a few tickets every season to reinforce security. Although it was impossible to know how many of these tickets are written out every year, the constable assured it’s “not that much.”
Part of the problem is centred on what’s known as ‘bike packs’ – a group of cycling enthusiasts.
The groups can sometimes be formed of 10 cyclists or more, and pose a safety risk as they typically swarm any given bike path – including the casual cyclist. Under the Quebec Highway Safety Code, bike packs are illegal.
"We receive complaints – they go too fast, they don't respect stop signs, etc.," said Const. Maheu.
How to stay safe
The most important safety tip when going out for a bike ride is to wear a helmet. Although lots of people don't want to wear it so they don't look silly, it can actually save a life, said Maheu.
Wearing reflectors and lights at night is also a step that some forget.
“You have to respect the road laws and signs – in the same way you would do while driving,” he added.