The car driver king, the pedestrian in the pillory

Another tragedy happened this week.

A pedestrian was caught and died. It was in my city, in Saint-Hyacinthe.

She was my parents’ age, they could have been; They often walk in this area.

There is a traffic light at this intersection, but it has been disabled to improve traffic flow.

As if the mobility of some should take precedence over the safety of others.

A careless mistake for some, fatal for others.

heavy trend

Worse still, this problem is not an isolated incident but a major trend. For example, in the United States there has been a 46% increase in pedestrian deaths over the past nine years.

About 50% of pedestrians killed are people aged 65 and over. Almost double their demographic size.

Sandrine Cabana-Degani, director of Piétons Québec, points out that the trend is the same in Quebec.

The drastic increase in SUVs on our roads is not without effect; A collision with an SUV increases the risk of death by 3.4 times.

A sedan hurts, but an SUV kills.

do you want an example? Also this week, a two-year-old girl died in the Montreal area.

She was hit by an SUV.

“My child! My child! My child!” called the mother.

The sign “Take care of our children, they could be yours” comes into its own; it could be yours

Possible solutions

But we can make our cities safer to reduce the risk of collisions.

  1. Navigate dangerous intersections;
  2. protect cyclists;
  3. promote public transport.

You see, options 2 and 3 reduce the risk of a collision by reducing the risk at its source: the car.

As the REV demonstrates, more protected lanes actually mean more cyclists and therefore fewer motorists. The proportion of cyclists in REV lanes has increased sevenfold in some places, and that’s in just two years!

Unfortunately, when we talk about alternative, safer, and low-carbon modes of transportation, we immediately brag about our focus on Montreal.

However, this is wrong.

Personally, I have cycled to work during my summers in Saint-Hyacinthe, despite the greater risk in certain places.

In fact, the benefits of cycling to work are so great that those who cycle to work reduce their risk of death by 40% over 15 years compared to the treatment group.

Protected paths in winter

Oh yes, the sacrosanct Winter. There are solutions here too.

The first is to set up lanes protected from roads – for example in a field or in the forest, things the region has in abundance. That’s exactly what cities the size of Saint-Hyacinthe in Finland are doing, where children ride their bikes to school safely all year round and despite the snow.

They use the same technology as for cross-country skiing, but for bicycles.

The second solution is to finance e-bikes, which have larger wheels and are therefore safer in winter. That’s exactly what Prince Edward Island is doing by offering its shoppers a $500 discount.

The solutions exist and lives are lost. It’s time to challenge the absolute dominance of the car and put safety and the environment first.


The car driver king, the pedestrian in the pillory

hugo cordeau, PhD student in economics at the University of Toronto

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