Following last Sunday’s news about yet another senior (74 years old) who was struck and killed by a truck while crossing a downtown intersection, just as many people – mostly seniors – were killed during the previous year’s assorted pedestrian traffic accidents as were men, women and children killed in Montreal’s assorted homicides. After an early December traffic accident during which a three year-old child was hit and nearly killed when he fell out of his ‘pram’ pushed by his father through a downtown intersection, almost 12 000 people added their signatures to Dr. Alain Vadeboncoeur’s on-line petition that asked Québec Transport Minister François Bonnardel to increase fines for moving traffic violations – especially for drivers who neglect to stop at pedestrian crossings. As the head of emergency medicine at Montreal’s Cardiological Institute, Vadeboncoeur does not understand how and why drivers must pay little more than a $100 fine traffic fine for an offense that can easily kill people who are doing little more than trying to cross the street.
“It’s not normal,” said Dr. Vadeboncoeur. “The fine must be equal to the danger posed by the offence.”
As thousands of people rallied to sign the Vadeboncoeur petition, Montreal coroner Yvon Garneau said that he was pleased to see how the community was willing to support the doctor’s petition for improved pedestrian safety throughout the province. Aside from his own efforts to warn the city about its rising toll of pedestrian traffic mortality, the coroner went on to denounce how bad driving habits lead to sometimes fatal consequences for whomever gets in the driver’s way.
“In Florida, drivers stop and let pedestrians go by with a smile,” said Garneau. “But whenever someone doesn’t stop at the crosswalk, you just have to take a look at the car’s license plate and you’re not surprised to see that it comes from Québec.”
While Vadeboncoeur also mentioned that pedestrians should accept some responsibility for their own safety, he said that it’s a lose-lose situation for both parties “...except for the pedestrian, it could mean the loss of a leg or even his life.”