Road safety | 30 km/h in all cities, asks Pétons Québec

Piétons Québec calls on the government to impose a maximum speed of 30 km/h in all cities in the province to “save lives”. Another proposal: the organization invites parliamentarians to consider imposing more severe penalties on drivers of large vehicles, such as trucks, but also vans and sport utility vehicles.

What there is to know

  • Piétons Québec is asking the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, to reduce the maximum speed in the city to 30 km/h to reduce fatal accidents.
  • The organization is also asking parliamentarians to consider the idea of ​​penalizing drivers more when behind the wheel of large vehicles, because they are more dangerous for other road users.
  • Minister Guilbault’s bill proposes to reduce the speed near schools to 30 km/h and would allow the installation of more photo radars.

“Unfortunately, we did not see in the bill a major reform which would have put the pedestrian at the heart of our mobility system. While pedestrians today represent one in five deaths on Quebec’s roads, such a reform is nevertheless imperative in order to save lives unjustly lost,” notes the organization in its brief, which it will present to parliamentarians this Tuesday. during the study of the bill led by the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault.

With her bill, Minister Guilbault wants to automatically lower the speed limit to 30 km/h around schools and allow the installation of a greater number of photo radars.

But Piétons Québec urges Quebec to go much further and “prescribe the maximum speed in urban areas to 30 km/h”. Even if several cities, such as Montreal and Quebec, have made this shift and reduced speeds on residential streets, Piétons Québec believes that the government must act.

Incompatible with pedestrian safety

“The speed of 50 km/h is incompatible with pedestrian safety. While the probability of survival is 25% in a collision occurring at 50 km/h, it increases to 90% at 30 km/h. At 30 km/h, the distance it will take to stop is 30 m, it doubles at 50 km/h, increasing to 62 m,” maintains the organization.

The brief also highlights a blind spot in the bill: if the minister wants to protect children, she cannot limit her action near schools, it is argued.

“From 2011 to 2020, there were 3,031 child pedestrians (14 years and under) injured – all seriousness combined (light, serious, fatal) – including 42 child pedestrians who died, on our roads in Quebec. Less than 14% of children injured and only 5% of children killed in the same period were in a school environment. »

Piétons Québec believes that the Quebec Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, if it wishes to achieve its pedestrian protection objectives, can act by modifying the Road safety code.

“This limit could be modified since it is prescribed by the Road safety code (and) set by the Ministry,” he explains.

(The current standard of 50 km/h) seems to us to be that of another era, where the speed of automobile traffic in our living environments was prioritized over the safety and quality of life of the people who live there.

Excerpt from the memoir of Piétons Québec

And in return, the roads where a municipality decides to apply a speed limit above 30 km/h “must then be arranged so that they can be crossed safely and that vulnerable users are physically separated from traffic “.

Piétons Québec also recommends in its brief to strengthen the rules surrounding pedestrian crossings and notes that it is “sadly common knowledge” that drivers “do not respect the obligation to yield the right of way to pedestrians”.

Higher fines for truck drivers

The organization also invites parliamentarians to consider the idea of ​​penalizing drivers of large vehicles more harshly, since their vehicles are more dangerous. Sanctions for traffic offenses should be “proportionate to the threat these offenses represent to the lives and safety of road users,” the brief reads.

In the same way that certain offenses committed by motorists are more heavily punished than the same offenses committed by cyclists (…), such a scale should also be applicable between the operation of other vehicles.

Excerpt from the memoir of Piétons Québec

Piétons Québec therefore recommends adding differentiated sanctions for “people who are behind the wheel of a heavy truck”. And they recommend that MPs from all political parties who will study the bill consider this question for motorists who are behind the wheel of a sport utility vehicle, a minivan or a van. pickup “because of their danger for people traveling on foot”.

Other groups will participate in the Commission’s work, notably the Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) and the Fédération québécoise des municipalities, which are in favor of the safety of children near schools, but who are concerned about “high costs » what the development imposed by this bill could have in school zones and corridors.

The UMQ, however, argues that the deployment of photo radars for use by municipalities, as proposed by the Legault government, “represents an opportunity to finance road safety initiatives on the municipal road network.”


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