Montreal

Montreal police want drunk cycling law added to Quebec's Highway Safety Code

Montreal police are hoping revisions to Quebec’s Highway Safety Code will include a law that will allow them to regulate drunk cycling.

But Vélo Quebec says drunk cycling less of a concern than dooring

Montreal police want a law added to Quebec's Highway Safety Code that will allow them to intervene when a cyclist is drunk. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Montreal police are hoping revisions to Quebec's Highway Safety Code will include a law that will allow them to regulate drunk cycling.

Insp. André Durocher with the Montreal police's road security and traffic division said there were no specific bylaws regarding drunk cycling.

Durocher said the increasing number of cyclists was "very good news in Montreal," but all the more reason why police needed provisions in the Highway Safety Code allowing them to intervene.

"We had a case in 2013 where the person who got killed had a beer in his hand [while] riding a bicycle," Durocher told CBC's Homerun. "To us it's a major concern." 

For Vélo Quebec, a law preventing drunk cycling may be useful but shouldn't be a priority.

"We haven't heard of many casualties or injuries resulting from drunk riding, whereas we know that we've had several deaths caused, for instance, by dooring," said Vélo Québec's Magali Bebronne.

Changes overdue

Cycling groups have also made requests for revisions to Quebec's Highway Safety Code, which they say are two years overdue.

Durocher said laws allowing police to intervene in drunk cycling cases and laws dealing with other cycling safety concerns were not mutually exclusive.

"Anything aimed at protecting people is not a bad measure," he said, countering that only one cyclist died due to dooring last year — up to four times fewer than alcohol-related cycling fatalities.

Durocher said a law would also allow for more accurate statistics to be collected on drunk cycling.

"We tell people to wear a bike helmet and to respect all sorts of things and on one hand we're telling them 'well ride your bike while you're drunk' and that's fine? That's a bit contradictory," Durocher said.

He added that police were not asking for drunk cycling to be made criminal. The details of the law were for legislators to decide, he said.

With files from CBC Homerun

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