Montreal

Cyclists still at risk a year after Mathilde Blais' death, Projet Montréal says

Projet Montréal says the Coderre administration has done nothing to improve safety for cyclists using underpasses in Montreal since the death of cyclist Mathilde Blais a year ago.

City opposition wants dedicated bike lanes separated from car traffic built in underpasses

Mathilde Blais died after she was crushed under the back wheel of the transport truck while cycling through the St-Denis underpass in April 2014. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

The opposition Projet Montreal says the Coderre administration has done nothing to improve safety for cyclists using underpasses in Montreal since the death of cyclist Mathilde Blais a year ago.

Projet leader Luc Ferrandez spoke to reporters Thursday morning near the spot in the St-Denis Street underpass where Blais died after being hit by a truck while cycling on the road in the narrow underpass.

After Blais was killed, the city responded by changing the rules, allowing cyclists to share the sidewalk with pedestrians in such underpasses.

Mathilde Blais (Facebook)

It was supposed to be a temporary measure, but Ferrandez says it has, in effect, become permanent.

Ferrandez said the real solution is to build dedicated bike lanes separated from car traffic through such underpasses.

He estimated the average cost to do that for one underpass at $2 million.

But he said the city only set aside a total of $1 million for its entire cycling infrastructure budget for this year when it announced infrastructure projects this week.

Ferrandez said there will be consequences.

"There will be more deaths because more people are using their bikes every year," he said.

Aref Salem, the city's executive committee member responsible for transport, said the city is improving safety on bike paths but added that building new infrastructure costs money and will take a few more years.

A sign marking the spot where cyclist Mathilde Blais died is affixed to the railing in the St-Denis Street underpass. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

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