Cyclists who use Camillien-Houde Way on Mount Royal are expressing mixed feelings about new safety measures announced by the City of Montreal.
Unveiled Wednesday, the measures include extending a central concrete median by 30 metres after the Camillien-Houde lookout and the placement of new signs at numerous locations along the road indicating that U-turns are forbidden.
Last week, a driver performing an illegal U-turn near the lookout collided with 18-year-old cyclist Clément Ouimet, who later died from his head injuries.
On Thursday, CBC News witnessed numerous cars and even a UPS truck making illegal U-turns along Camillien-Houde Way while interviewing cyclists about the new safety measures, which the city says will be in place by Oct. 20.
"I just saw the exact same thing happening up there while I was going up — a U-turn at the end of the belvedere," said François Martel. "It's very dangerous."
Martel, who has been cycling on Camillien-Houde almost daily for years, said the safety measures are welcome, but they should have been implemented much sooner.
"They've been talking about this for 15 years, I guess, and now there's a dead young man," Martel said.
Make Camillien-Houde Way a dead end
Limiting the ability of drivers to perform U-turns should help, he said — "if there's a way of doing a U-turn, someone will do it."
However, he would have liked to see the City of Montreal make Camillien-Houde Way a dead end beyond the entrance to the parking lot for Mount Royal Park.
"Doing a dead end would stop the through traffic on the mountain that shouldn't be allowed," Martel said, adding many cars use the road as a shortcut to the west side of the city.
Marc-Antoine Desjardins heads Cyclovia Camillien-Houde, a cycling group that's been lobbying to make the road car-free on Sundays throughout the summer.
He's also running for city council as a candidate with Équipe Denis Coderre in the Plateau–Mont-Royal borough's Jeanne-Mance district.
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He said a camera installed along Camillien-Houde after the collision is now capturing footage that will help a city working group determine what needs to happen in the long term to reduce the risks for cyclists.
"We're going to take all the necessary steps," he said. "My only concern, the city's only concern is to secure this place as soon as possible."
Attitudes also need improving, cyclist says
Jasmin Ten Have used to race on the same cycling team as Clément Ouimet. He was out of town last week when the teenager died and came to the scene of the collision Thursday to pay his respects.
He said the improved safety measures are one solution, but what really needs to happen is a change in attitude among cyclists and drivers — and no one is pushing for that.
"The hatred between cyclists and motorists needs to stop," he said. "I don't think there's any leadership on that side."
"It's more about behaviour and not about the layout."