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SUBSCRIPTION General subscriptions in Canada: 1 year $100, 2 years $175 Subscription to the U.S. and outside North America: 1 year $150 US All contents of this publication are sole property of The West End Times Newspaper. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily intended to reflect those of the publisher. Any reproduction in whole or in part and in print or in electronic form without express permission is strictly forbidden. Permission to reproduce selected editorial may be granted by contacting the publisher in writing. The recent and tragic death of an 18-year-old cyclist in Lachine is cause for sadness, but also cause to ask questions. Tyrell Sterling was struck by a tractor trailer at the intersection of the Lachine Canal bike path and another bike path on St. Pierre Street. While Sterling rode a bike with no brakes, it is not clear that this contributed to the accident. More importantly, it seems that the truck driver never saw the youth. Lachine officials often boast of having "the most beautiful bike paths in Canada," which is possibly true, but what about safety and practicality? Lachine municipal workers hurriedly painted a crosswalk on Berge du Canal Street after the accident, but why was this not done earlier? Why is there still no crosswalk painted across the entrance to an adjacent Tim Horton's restaurant? Why has nobody cut vegetation there that obscures vision for both cyclists and motorists? Why are there still so many glaringly dangerous spots on Montreal's bike path network? The Lachine Canal bike path is the oldest bike path in Canada- dating from 1978-and the second-most popular with some 800,000 cyclists, inline skaters, and electric scooters annually. The St Pierre Street bike path is the main access to the former Ville St. Pierre, Montreal West, western NDG, and parts of Cote St. Luc with a combined population of probably over 70,000. This is a major bike route and making it safe should be a priority. Montreal prides itself on being a "Mecca" for cyclists in North America and with considerable justification. But we still have a long way to go before Montreal is comparable to Amsterdam or Copenhagen, for example. A short distance from St Pierre Street is the intersection of du Musee and St. Patrick Streets, recently described by Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin as "perhaps the most dangerous for cyclists" in Montreal. But another contender for that title is the intersection of de Maisonneuve and Decarie Boulevards in NDG. And de Maisonneuve Blvd is the most popular bike path in Canada with one million cyclists a year. Very often, the solution for fixing these intersections is relatively inexpensive-$480,000 for a bridge in the case

Opinion

Why is bicycling still unsafe in Montreal?

of Decarie Blvd-and given the volume of cyclists involved, this seems like a very worthwhile investment. Part of the problem, however, is the piece- John Symon Symon says... meal manner in which dangerous intersections are addressed. Cyclists might typically travel many kilometres per day, traversing various boroughs of Montreal or independent municipalities, each with its own codes and priorities. One borough might create a beautiful bike path that encourages many cyclists while the next borough refuses to address a flagrant death trap. This could be said of how the St. Laurent borough has created a decent bike lane on O'Brien / Ste Croix Ave., but this bike lane suddenly and dangerously disappears as the road crosses into Town of Mount Royal (TMR). The O'Brien / Ste Croix / Lucerne Rd corridor, by the way, is one of the few routes where cyclists can cross Highway 40 on the western part of Montreal Island. As such, cyclists on those beautiful Lachine bike paths must make long, dangerous detours to ride to bike paths in the adjacent St. Laurent borough and vice versa. For bike paths to be truly successful, they need to be safe and practical, efficiently leading to-and- 6 OCTOBER 20, 2012 *

39

th from where local citizens live, work, study, have fun, and shop. At present, many bike paths seem instead designed for magical mystery tours on Sunday afternoons. Next week read: How Montreal can make bike paths safer On another cycling matter, I wrote on September 1st about Lance Armstrong, predicting that the doping allegations had substance. Remember where you read it first! Also, it is widely reported elsewhere -and incorrectly- that Armstrong has now been stripped of his seven Tour de France victories. The final call on this point belongs to the International Cycling Union which has made no decision to date. Comment on this article at: www.westendtimes.ca

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