Accident that put boy in hospital puts spotlight on alleyway risks

An accident involving a truck and a six-year-old boy in the Southwest borough on Sunday is raising fresh questions about the safety of Montreal's alleyways.

Montreal police trying to determine if it was 'the truck that hit the boy or the boy that hit the truck'

A 6-year-old boy is in critical condition after colliding with a truck on de Biencourt Street in the Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood. (CBC)

An accident in Montreal's Southwest borough that put a six-year-old boy in hospital is raising fresh questions about the safety of the city's alleyways. 

A pickup truck was coming out of an alley just before noon on Sunday in the Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood when it collided with the child, who was on his bike, police said.

Police said the driver did not see the boy as he was exiting onto de Biencourt Street, just east of Eadie Street.

The boy remains in critical condition this morning.

Const. Manuel Couture said the investigation is ongoing but police don't believe speed or alcohol were factors.

"Right now, it really points to the fact that it's more of an accident and that there was no criminal intention," he said Monday.

The driver, a 44-year-old man, was taken to hospital and treated for shock. He is expected to be questioned by investigators today.

Couture said investigators are "trying to determine if it was the truck that hit the boy or the boy that hit the truck." 

The boy was not wearing a helmet, he said. 

Alleyways need to be safer, councillor says

Local residents expressed concern about the safety of the alleyway and said it has a blindspot that makes it difficult for drivers to see as they turn onto the street.

Craig Sauvé, a city councillor for Projet Montréal in the Southwest borough, said the collision suggests more needs to be done to make alleys and sidewalks safer for children.

He said the fact that the boy wasn't wearing a helmet is irrelevant.

"The sidewalk is a legitimate place to be," he told CBC Montreal Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.

"The kid could have been playing with a ball, could have been doing anything. The sidewalk is his territory."

Sauvé said Projet Montréal is trying to make more alleyways in the neighbourhood green, by turning parking spots into gardens and slowing down traffic or eliminating it all together. 

"With this kind of redesign of our alleyways we can certainly prevent accidents or people trying to cut through," he said.

"We can make it a wonderful space, in fact, that everyone can share."