Five most dangerous intersections for cyclists
DEATH TRAP: des Pins and St-Urbain
Photo by Cam Novak
Montreal’s a place of constant movement and activity. People here are hellbent on getting where they need to go, and traffic is never as simple as “cars go here, pedestrians go there and bikes go here.”
My years as a courier have taught me to avoid some areas of the city completely. Aside from some basic advice to expect the unexpected while riding your bike, there are five intersections to be wary of the next time you cycle around Montreal.
1. Ste-Catherine at University
It would be one thing to have a single inattentive jaywalker rush out in front of you while riding here, but more times than not you will encounter huge swarms people and who block your path as if you don’t even exist. Whenever cycling downtown — especially during lunch hour — I make every effort to avoid this corner.
2. Mackay at de Maisonneuve
In general, campus areas are very busy places during the week. I always seem to encounter a high volume of people who hang out in the bike path staring at their phones until their light turns green at this corner in particular.
3. de Maisonneuve in front of Dawson College
Even though this is not actually an intersection, I’ve had a great deal of close calls here. Almost every time I roll past the entrance to the Alexis Nihon mall, I have to be particularly careful in order to avoid colliding with a student crossing to go back to school. Ringing your bell or yelling is a good safety strategy here.
4. des Pins at Saint-Urbain
After years of having the bike path come down St-Urbain, and now with the concrete slab indicating its existence clearly, there are still way too many drivers making blind right turns here. I think that this would be the best intersection to test out the effectiveness of bike traffic lights. Having a light here so that cyclists could begin crossing before cars would seriously reduce the risk of collisions.
5. Peel at Réne-Lévesque
There are not many other places that come close to how busy this intersection is. There are 10 intersecting lanes of traffic, and they’re all occupied by impatient drivers. If you enjoy a slower ride, avoid Réne-Lévesque completely and take Sherbrooke instead, or the de Maisonneuve bike path.
Cam Novak, former bike courier and founder of Cycle-Bird Courier, is a long time cycling advocate and is currently critiquing Montreal’s cycling scene on Twitter and on his weekly radio show on CKUT 90.3 FM.