Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre nixes right turns on red in light of hike in pedestrian deaths

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre nixes right turns on red in light of hike in pedestrian deaths

A spike in the number of pedestrian deaths in Quebec last year means motorists won't be permitted to make right turns on red lights in the City of Montreal any time soon, said Mayor Denis Coderre.

Coderre's pronouncement comes the day after the release of a report by Quebec's Transport Ministry and the automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, which showed pedestrian fatalities up 40 per cent in 2016 compared to the previous year.

Sixty-three pedestrians were killed in Quebec last year, compared to 45 in 2015.

Citing that report, Coderre panned the idea of allowing right turns on red lights during an executive council meeting on Tuesday.

"There has been a decrease in the number of car accidents, but there are still worries concerning pedestrians," he said.

 "In this context … it's clear there won't be rights on red in Montreal."

A divided city

The manoeuvre has been permitted in many places in Quebec since 2003 but is still not allowed in Montreal.

Last December, a group of Montreal mayors from demerged cities expressed an interest in permitting right turns on red lights, saying it could improve traffic flow. 

The city administration concurred with groups representing cyclists and pedestrians, concluding that the idea isn't safe.

Coderre said Tuesday that the report's numbers show that Montreal isn't ready for that change and that the city needs to protect pedestrians on the roads and at intersections.

"I think that today it's important to remember that, and when it concerns Montreal, we're remaining firm on that question," said Coderre.