May 29, 2014
May 8, 2014
Montreal needs to become more bicycle friendly and safer all at the same time. Recent tragic accidents in the city have cyclists, politicians and urban planners scrambling to find safe solutions for cyclists on roadways and underpasses that were designed many decades ago. No easy task to be sure. But not impossible either.
Priority #1: Helmets should be mandatory for all cyclists
I have advocated for the last 25 years for the Quebec government to require helmets for all cyclists as has been the case in Côte Saint-Luc since I introduced the first municipal legislation in Canada in 1992. There is an 80 percent risk reduction in traumatic brain injury for a helmeted cyclist. Simply put, helmets save lives.
Priority #2: More bike paths and bike lanes
Creating paths that are physically removed or separated from traffic are best. Painted lines on the road are better than no separation at all. Bicycles need their own physical space to safely traverse our urban road network. In our own municipality, we have begun creating lanes on main streets as more and more bikes take to the road each year.
Priority #3: Allow cyclists to use sidewalks where the roadway is dangerous
In many spots the road is simply to narrow, too busy or unsafe due to a tunnel or dark underpass. If we cannot make them safer then allow bikes on the sidewalk until we find a way to improve the situation. In Cote Saint-Luc this has been our policy for the last few years. Signs are posted at all three underpasses advising cyclist to get off their bikes if pedestrians are present. So far so good.
The new Minister of Transport announced yesterday that he will look to amend the law that prohibits cyclists on sidewalks. Here in Cote Saint-Luc we’ve instructed our security and police to disregard this provincial law at underpasses for the safety of cyclists.
Priority #4: Train drivers to keep an eye out for cyclists and pedestrians
Quebecers are notorious for being cowboys on the road. While reducing municipal speed limits to 40 km/h has helped make our streets safer it isn’t enough. Police enforcement of safety rules for pedestrians using crosswalks is a farce – non-existent. Cote Saint-Luc has adopted US style warning signs to alert drivers of their obligation to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Police must make this a high priority.
We need better signs, street markings and traffic signals for bikes and pedestrians alike. There is no need to reinvent the (bicycle) wheel here. Many jurisdictions around the world have created safe, and enjoyable, urban cycling experiences and so should Montreal.
October 15, 2013
I continue petitioning the Quebec government to require helmets for cyclists as has been the case in Côte Saint-Luc since I introduced the first municipal legislation in Canada in 1992. Be sure to let your MNA know that you support provincial legislation for bike helmets.
There is an 80 percent risk reduction in traumatic brain injury for a helmeted cyclist.
And why not for skiers too? With odds like that how can you say no? Wishing you a safe and enjoyable outing.
Je continue de demander au gouvernement du Québec d’exiger le port du casque pour les cyclistes, comme c’est le cas à Côte Saint-Luc depuis que j’ai introduit la première loi en ce sens au Canada en 1992. Assurez-vous d’informer votre député que vous appuyez une loi provinciale applicables aux casques .
Un cycliste qui porte un casque protecteur a 80 pour cent moins de risque de subir un traumatisme crânien.
Et pourquoi pas aussi pour les skieurs ? Comment ne pas être d’accord avec des statistiques comme celles là ? Je vous souhaite un promenade agréable en toute sécurité.
July 16, 2013
29 Jun 2013 | The Gazette | MEGAN MARTIN | SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE
Located slightly northwest of Montreal’s downtown centre, the city of Côte-St-Luc is bordered by the town of Hampstead, the borough of Notre Dame-de-Grâce, and the town of Montreal West. The cozy community covers approximately seven square kilometres and is home to 32,500 residents.
It was established as a town in 1903 and officially became a city in 1958. Today, it is the third-largest municipality on the island of Montreal, one that many families and professionals call home.
“We have a beautiful residential community that has great local businesses and offers excellent and high-quality bilingual services from the municipality,” said Anthony Housefather, mayor of Côte-St-Luc.
“Even though we’re a large city, we’re like a small town where everyone cares about one another and the spirit of volunteerism pervades.”
Côte-St-Luc features many community services, benefiting all residents. Among them are a library, a new aquatic and community centre that has become a popular hub in the city, 28 parks, an arena, baseball diamonds and soccer fields, and great cultural and sports programs for people of all ages.
“We have made efforts … to bring in more young singles and young families, and we have been very successful.”
“We also have our own dramatic society that just completed a 16-show production of Fiddler on the Roof which was seen by more than 3,000 people,” Housefather said.
Safety innovation has been an important issue for Côte-St-Luc in recent years. In fact, the city was the first in Quebec to pass a bylaw requiring bike helmets.
“We were also the first city in the province to ban smoking in public buildings,” Mayor Housefather said. “And we’re the only city on the island with our own volunteer Emergency Medical Services — and our Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPS) has close to 100 volunteers.”
Residential developments that attract young buyers help rejuvenate the city
The city has also made an effort to improve its environmental impact and create a healthy community for residents.
“We were the first city on the island to introduce residential composting and we recently unveiled an urban agriculture and food plan,” he noted.
“We always look to the world to see what cities are doing and we make a point not to adopt a parochial approach to things.”
Although Côte-St-Luc is a well-established residential city and isn’t incurring the impact of gentrification like other areas of the island, the demographic of residents has grown younger in recent years.
“We have made efforts since I have been mayor to rejuvenate the city and bring in more young singles and young families, and we have been very successful,” Housefather added.
“The median age here has gone down from 51 years old in 2001 to 46 years old in the most recent census, and more and more young families are moving in as our new housing stock is geared toward townhouses.”
A handful of residential developments have gone up to accommodate the influx of residents. For instance, Les Cours Marc Chagall, a townhouse development on Marc Chagall Ave., features 21 townhouses starting at $485,000. The development was extremely well received by buyers and had already sold out at the time of this writing.
City council also recently approved the first reading of a bylaw for a new townhouse project of 50 units on Parkhaven Ave.
“We are also in the middle of a large project where the Cavendish Mall has sold off a portion of its land so that townhouse projects and single-family homes can be built,” Housefather said. “When the project is complete, three new streets will have been created, including ‘The Avenue’ which we hope will turn into the Monkland Ave. of Côte-St-Luc.”
The mayor said he’s proud of the developments currently taking place in Côte-St-Luc.
“This is already a wonderful community with many programs offered by the city, great public and private schools, friendly neighbours and a city that is getting younger all the time,” he said. “The population here is diverse and people of all backgrounds are welcomed with open arms.
“I think we’re defined by our values of bilingualism, respect for human rights, multiculturalism and pride in being Canadian.”
October 24, 2012
Everything Else, Helmet Legislation, News clip, Public Security, Resolution / Bylaw, Safety, Traffic / Parking basketball nets, bike helmet legislation, Bylaws, handicap parking zone, noise bylaw, overnight parking, street hockey, street vendor, vacant lots, wild animals Leave a comment
by Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban
October 17, 2012
Some of Côte St. Luc’s strict bylaws are very well known to residents, such as its law requiring cyclists to wear bicycle helmets, its laws banning smoking in various public places and its overnight parking prohibitions.
Some aspects of Côte St. Luc’s noise bylaw are also well-known, particularly times when contractors can operate their machinery to do garden work. Work can begin 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends and statutory holidays, and must end 9 p.m. weekends, weekdays and statutory holidays.
Less known is that “you cannot make loud noises such as excessively honking your horn, blaring loud music or using any other sound reproduction device to do so,” according to the city’s website. Loud music emanating from cars, especially bass-heavy rap music, is a common aural experience on streets like Ste. Catherine West.
Most parking bylaws are obvious, such as prohibitions against parking near fire hydrants, during designated hours as indicated on signs and in designated handicap spots.
But less known to the general public is that “you cannot park a trailer or truck anywhere in Côte St. Luc except for loading or unloading purposes,” says the website.
As mentioned above, the city’s helmet law for cyclists is well known, but it also applies to all ages, and also for those using in-line skates and roller blades “on any street, sidewalk, lane or any public place in Côte St. Luc.”
A couple of years ago, there was a big debate regarding Dollard des Ormeaux’s restrictions on the playing of street hockey. In Côte St. Luc, permission must be sought from the city before sports items such as basketball and hockey nets are placed in public areas such as streets and sidewalks.
Côte St. Luc also has bylaws that ensure private properties remain clean and safe. “The owner of land, whether built or not, may not allow branches, bushes and long weeds to grow thereon, or to leave scrap iron, rubbish, refuse, paper or empty bottles or materials or any objects that might be a hazard to health and safety,” says the website.
“You cannot tolerate on your land, shallow areas gathering stagnant water, open ditches, large boulders, mounds of earth or any conditions that may cause directly or indirectly bodily harm to any person or persons.”
A few years ago, The Suburban published a story in which some residents objected to a law against feeding wild animals within the city limits. It remains prohibited to feed pigeons, squirrels and other non-domesticated animals.
Not only that, residents can’t keep wild farm animals or poultry on their land as possible pets.
And while Montreal is rethinking its law banning, for the most part, street vendors selling food, in Côte St. Luc, “all street vendors require a license from the municipality prior to carrying out their tasks.
October 15, 2012
Cyclists who ride a bike without a helmet are three times more likely to die of a head injury than those who wear the protective headwear, a Toronto researcher probing cycling deaths in Ontario has concluded.
In a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, University of Toronto family doctor lecturer and St Michael’s Hospital associate scientist Navindra Persaud concludes that helmets help prevent fatalities — something he says until now was “controversial.”
He hopes the study will eliminate the thinking that helmets are not useful in serious collisions.
“Previous studies have demonstrated that helmets prevent non-fatal head injuries,” he said. “But this is the first study to demonstrate that helmets prevent fatal head injuries.”
“The conclusion was that bicycle helmets save lives,” he said.
The conclusions are based on data from the Ontario coroner’s report into the 129 accidental cycling deaths that took place in the province between January 2006 and December 2010.
Among the fatalities, 86 per cent were men and 77 per cent involved a motor vehicle. The ages of those killed ranged from 10 to 83.
Persaud and fellow researchers separated deaths due to head injuries and deaths due to other injuries (such as the abdomen or chest). For each group, they determined what fraction of those people were wearing helmets and which were not.
They found that a cyclist not wearing a helmet was three times more likely to die of a head injury than a cyclist wearing a helmet. The results stood up whether or not the cyclist had sustained other serious injuries.
Persaud hopes the study will stimulate policy changes that promote helmet use, including awareness campaigns and financial incentives, such as giving away free helmets.
He also hopes that Ontario will extend its mandatory helmet law to adults; currently, the province only forces cyclists 18 and under to wear a helmet.
“That 88 per cent of (those who died) in our study were older than 18 . . . suggests a gap in public policy,” the research paper concludes.
Mandatory helmet legislation was a key recommendation of the province’s coroner’s June report into the same 129 cycling deaths.
Jared Kolb, director of marketing at Cycle Toronto, an organization which advocates for cycling rights, said the group supports Ontario’s requirement that cyclists under 18 wear helmets.
It encourages adults do the same, but stops short at calling for mandatory helmet legislation. The problem with mandatory helmet laws, he said, is that they can discourage people from riding altogether.
“For us, the most important thing is creating safe cycling infrastructure,” such as bike lanes, he said.
Persaud agrees that improvements to cycling infrastructure in the province must be made, but says they should be made in tandem with increased helmet use.
“Even if we had a perfect infrastructure, there are still going to be collisions and falls, and that’s why helmets would be useful,” he said.
He adds that while wearing a helmet might seem inconvenient right now, so did other safety initiatives that have become common practice, like wearing sunscreen.
“Over time, it’s changed and hopefully this will be part of that,” he said.
In provinces with mandatory helmet laws, such as Nova Scotia, wearing helmets is more common, according to the paper.
The study also cites Victoria, Australia as an example of successful legislation. Helmet use in the city increased from 31 per cent to 75 per cent after the introduction of mandatory helmet legislation, and cycling fatalities decreased by 48 per cent.
Cycling death figures
Total number of cycling deaths in Ontario between January 2006 and December 2010: 129
Ages of those killed: 10 to 83
Total number of those not wearing a helmet: 94 of 129
Number who died of head injuries: 71
Number of head injury deaths where cyclist was not wearing a helmet: 58 (of the 71)
In my opinion:
I’ve said it a thousand times. I’ll say it again. Quebec, too, should heed the warning from this latest study and enact province-wide helmet legislation for all ages. Lives will be saved. Injuries will be prevented or diminished.
Locally, Cote Saint-Luc is a national leader in helmet legislation – the first city in Canada to do so 20 years ago.
Today, we are expanding our fledgling “CSL Cycles” initiative by encouraging cycling, off-road, through our largest parks, on marked bike lanes where possible and by alerting motorists to our bike routes. We must still create a safer environment for the underpasses. Those lanes aren’t wide enough for protected bike lanes and therefore we have exceptionally granted permission to using the sidewalks at these locations.
- Why aren’t bicycle helmets mandatory? (gjnashen.wordpress.com)
June 1, 1991
1991 CTV News report about Cote Saint-Luc’s new bike helmet law – the first municipal bike helmet legislation in Canada. This was a major goal of mine when first elected and moving this resolution remains one of my prime accomplishments.