SAAQ motorist-bicycle safety site only in French

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A new Quebec government website advises motorists what measures they should take to safely share the road with cyclists.

However, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec website only in French. As The Suburban reported recently, Quebec’s language law generally allows for bilingualism where safety is involved, and numerous Quebec government websites have information in English.

The site points out the rules of the road for motorists, such as a driver being able to pass a cyclist on the same lane as long as the driver reduces his or her speed, and stays the required distance away from the cyclist.

The French-only status of the site was pointed out to us by Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen, who has called for other municipal and provincial-related websites to contain English content as well.

Hampstead lawyer Harold Staviss, who has lobbied with Côte St. Luc councillor Ruth Kovac for more bilingualism from businesses and government in areas with significant anglophone populations, wrote to D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum about the website and a recent French-only June 29 communiqué, also about safety on the road between drivers and cyclists, as well as an announcement of tougher punishments for drivers who open doors on passing cyclists.

Birnbaum told The Suburban Monday he was not able to convince Transports Quebec to issue an English version of the June 29 communiqué, and expressed his disappointment.

Birnbaum added that he was only made aware of Staviss’s objection to the new website Monday, and was not able to comment yet.

We have contacted Transports Quebec, and await their response.

Source: SAAQ motorist-bicycle safety site only in French | City News |


In my opinion: Thanks to MNA David Birnbaum and his trusty Chief of Staff, Elisabeth Prass. They wasted no time following up on my email to them wherein I expressed concern and dismay that the Quebec Transport Department did not seem to think this very important safety message was important to convey to the English-speaking community. The oppressive language laws do indeed permit public safety messages to be carried in a language other than French. Transport officials should be more in line with Premier Couillard’s election message to the English-speaking community that we are not the enemy and our language does not diminish the French language.

Station 9 Bike Safety Day brings out kids and smiles

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Police officer Marie-Chistine Norbert teaching neighbourhood kids to be safe

Police officer Marie-Chistine Norbert teaching neighbourhood kids to be safe (Photo: Ruth Kovac)

Thanks to Neighbourhood Station 9 Police officers Marie-Christine Nobert and Vincent DeAngelis for hosting the 5th annual bike safety awareness event in Fletcher Park last month.
Councillor Ruth Kovac reports that there were about 60 happy children and 30 adults who enjoyed a free lunch and many prizes.

Considering the rainstorm just before this was a HUGE success! Ultimately the sun shone on the participants making for a wonderful event.

Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors  and staff who make the event possible. Although this a Montreal Agglomeration Police Department event the City of Cote Saint-Luc partners with them.

Councillor Kovac says the  residents of this area so appreciate this special day.

CSL allows cyclists on underpass sidewalks

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Free Press. May 27, 2014.  Click to enlarge.

Free Press. May 27, 2014. Click to enlarge.

CSL working to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe

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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.

cyclists dismount priority pedestrian sign11-02_Page_1


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.

cyclists dismount priority pedestrian sign11-02_Page_2


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.