Updates from September, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:24 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The coroner’s report is in on the death of cyclist Valérie Bertrand-Desrochers more than a year ago on St-Zotique in Rosemont and it’s a shitshow. “The coroner’s report found that the collision was mainly due to the way Bertrand-Desrochers was cycling, and that the truck was driving in an area where trucks are prohibited.” This may be an inexact translation from French, so grain of salt, but if the truck driver had no business taking his vehicle onto that street, how was this an accident? The item goes on to say he “was en route to his home to retrieve his cellphone at the time of the collision.” How is this death a random chance, and how was the cyclist supposed to look out for heavy vehicles in an area where they’re prohibited, and why was the driver not being more careful on a street with a cycle path?

    • Blork 23:53 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

      FWIW, the CBC article says “Trucks are not allowed in the area, except for making local deliveries.” So trucks ARE allowed there as long as they fit the bill of making a local delivery. My point is only that since some trucks are allowed, it can’t really be thought of as an area that will never have any trucks. That’s just one piece of the puzzle of course. (And I’m not saying that to point fingers, just to be clear on the circumstances.)

    • Kate 07:52 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      The article says a dump truck, Blork. Not a cube van or other similar delivery vehicle. The driver presumably was making a quick detour home to get his phone, but that put a heavy vehicle on a street where it didn’t belong.

    • Bert 08:38 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      It i entirely plausible that a dump truck could be delivering a load of dirt/stone or was being used to remove soil from a work site.

    • Phil M 11:02 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      It was an accident because he didn’t intentionally try to kill the cyclist, regardless of whether or not he was supposed to be on that road.

    • Kate 11:19 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      Is there not some area between “freak, unpredictable accident” and “deliberate lethal intention” that we enshrine in law, something to do with negligence?

    • Blork 12:15 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      That’s a good point. The problem is that virtually all “accidents” contain some level of negligence.

      There’s the idea of “recklessness,” which might apply here, but I’m not convinced that the truck driver simply turning onto a street that is only partially restricted constitutes recklessness. After all, he only needed a slip of paper with the right delivery address for that restriction to not apply, so the restriction wasn’t due to an inherent danger of trucks on that road (otherwise all trucks would be banned always), rather an arbitrary restriction based on local residents not wanting trucks on their street.

      Since, then, it is entirely possible for a large vehicle (whether dump truck, cube van, whatever) to turn onto that street, and since there is no way to know if the cyclist was even aware of the semi-prohibition (there are no signs indicating the semi-prohibition, so I think it’s unlikely the cyclist even knew the truck wasn’t supposed to turn), I don’t think that the truck’s turning without the correct bureaucratic permission is a key factor in deconstructing this collision. It is a factor in determining liability, because the law was broken, but that’s not the same as determining causation.

      There is evidence that the cyclist was riding recklessly. I haven’t seen that evidence, so I’m not going to hang my whole argument on it (given that car drivers tend to inflate their view of the riskiness of cycling behaviour they see), but the coroner believed the cyclist was blowing through red lights and stop signs before the collision happened.

      So what is it when both parties are negligent?

      As Magali Bebronne from Vélo Québec said in the article, cyclists are ultimately responsible for their own safety. As a cyclist myself I totally believe that. That doesn’t mean measures shouldn’t be taken to make things safer, but there is no room for risky or reckless cycling around large trucks. That doesn’t absolve the truck driver, but I think it’s wrong to place all the blame there.

      It’s wrong to speculate on what happened given what little information I have, but when I look at that intersection, I cannot imagine how this collision could have happened if (a) the truck had come to a full stop at the stop sign and had put on its turn indicator, and (b) the cyclist had stopped at the stop sign. Given that a large dump truck pulling away from a full stop is going to do so slowly, any cyclist at the same stop sign will see the truck turning. The only way I can imagine this happening (given my limited information and based only on the setting and my experience) is if the truck did not fully stop and made a sudden turn, and if the cyclist did not fully stop.

    • Meezly 13:08 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      I remember analyzing that intersection and trying to visualize how that would theoretically happen to me if I were in the cyclist’s shoes. I had to refresh my memory with some quick research – so both cyclist and truck were heading east along St-Zotique, then the truck turned right onto 9th Ave and struck the cyclist, who was on a painted bike lane. Based on witness accounts, she had blown through the stop sign at the intersection. Perhaps she assumed the truck would be aware of her, or she wasn’t paying attention. In any case, neither cyclist nor truck driver were following the rules but it was the cyclist who paid the price. I admit as a cyclist I don’t always stop at stop signs, but if there are pedestrians or vehicles around, I do. I feel Bertrand-Desrochers would not have died had she stopped at the intersection, doesn’t matter if the truck had the right to be there or not. So I felt the report was quite fair.

    • mare 20:09 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

      Dump trucks have a HUGE blind corner next to them, you can put 5 bikes in there without the driver seeing anything. If the truck came to a full stop (unlikely in the East end of Montreal, cars and trucks look if there are no cars or police at an intersection and rarely fully stop but just slow down). But assume the truck di stop, because there was another car at the intersection. When he waits for that car to clear the intersection the cyclist catches up with him and passes him on the right and when she’s next to his cabin he accelerates and mowes her down. He probably only noticed if after he felt a bump. Trucks also have a large turn radius.

      If the truck had better mirrors, and if the driver had looked into them this could have been avoided. A skirt to keep pedestrians and bikes away from the wheels might also have helped. Unfortunately those things are not required in Quebec.

      As a cyclist I never pass cars to the right at stop signs, I only do that at solidly red traffic lights, and after passing I position myself in front of the first car, making sure the driver can see me. Never next to cars, as I’m supposed to do, because it’s not a safe place to be.

      As a driver I always go all the way to the edge of the curb before I turn right, so there’s not even room for cyclists. Also not allowed in Quebec, but the habits after 30 years of driving in the Netherlands, where you’re taught to do it that way in your lessons and driving test, can’t be undone. Cyclists might be angry if I do that in front of red lights, but it’s just so much safer for them.

      This kind of situation happens so often, but we only hear about it when there are collisions where people die or almost die. The broken bones don’t shop up on our radar.

    • Tim 09:39 on 2019-09-11 Permalink

      When driving, I always go over to the edge of the curb when turning right so that I don’t block cars behind me needlessly. I never thought of it as a strategy to prevent a cyclist from coming up beside me, but it definitely accomplishes that. Why would that not be permitted in Quebec?

    • mare 14:32 on 2019-09-11 Permalink

      @Tim You have to leave room for cyclists to pass, certainly when there is a bike path like on St-Zotique. And in turn, cyclists aren’t allowed to weave between cars, so they can’t pass cars on the left.

  • Kate 13:00 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

    For some reason I’m only finding this on Daily Hive: the city’s planning to test its hazard warning sirens this week.

  • Kate 12:43 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Brian Myles has a thought piece about the future of Jean-Talon market, but except for ruling out direct control by the city, his ideas are kind of middling, mostly that we need to have diversity in what’s offered there. He sees a place for resellers as well as local producers, and mentions that some people who’ve put their two cents in don’t go there much, but does he? He should know that the market is not actually all that big, and if you have more than a few folks selling bananas off the same truck that provisions grocery stores, the point of the market can soon be lost.

    • Kate 12:35 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

      Glenn Crossley, convicted in the incident that killed Olympic swimmer Victor Davis in 1989, just pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a case where he pushed a much older man down the stairs in a bar. News link is to a tweet from CJAD’s Shuyee Lee.

      • EmilyG 12:54 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

        I remember that in 9th grade, my teacher, who was a close friend of Victor Davis, described in detail about what it was like seeing his death. That’s always stuck with me.

    • Kate 12:25 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

      Next year the construction of the REM will mean the complete closure of the Mount Royal tunnel, and consequent commuting difficulties (“headaches”) for anyone relying on the Deux‑Montagnes and Mascouche lines. CBC lists all the workarounds, TVA highlighting the free train for Deux‑Montagnes passengers but also profiling a family who are picking up sticks from Deux‑Montagnes and moving to St-Jérôme, where the commuter line will not be disrupted.

      Update: Another angle is noted here by Global: a lot more passengers will be funnelled to Côte-Vertu and be taking the orange line downtown.

      • Kate 08:07 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse has an important, detailed piece Monday on the renaissance of Ste-Catherine Street. Several of the images are pure architectural fantasy, mind you.

        • MarcG 10:56 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          There isn’t a single car in any of those imaginary scenes.

        • Faiz Imam 11:43 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          That’s the plan in the summers, but if you look at the ground, you see the thick black lines that show the one lane.

          That, plus the bands on the sides of it are wide enough for a truck to pull over and stop, and leave enough space for a 2nd large vehicle to pass.

          They’ve worked with the merchants association pretty closely on this, circulation will be pretty reasonable for local traffic, though any through traffic will be strongly encouraged to take sherbrooke or RL.

        • John B 14:31 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Nice bike racks! Standard bike racks are hard to actually lock up a bike by more than the edge of one wheel anywhere but at the end of the rack. These will be a lot more useful, and they’re fun too.

        • Blork 15:32 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Agree on both points re: the bike racks.

        • Faiz Imam 16:38 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Yup, and the wide spacing is great for cargo bikes especially.

        • Tim F 19:10 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          As lovely as that picture of Philips Square is, i think a gigantic condo block is supposed to block that inviting warm sunshine.

        • MarcG 09:33 on 2019-09-11 Permalink

          So no cars will be allowed in the summer? I just skimmed the article,

      • Kate 08:04 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

        The deal struck years ago to privately educate the singers in the Petits Chanteurs de Mont-Royal has been renewed by Quebec, although this looks more like a snook cocked at the CSDM than any vote in favour of high culture. Also, as has been pointed out by commenters on this blog, despite the CAQ’s insistence on holding the line on gender equality by removing women’s headscarves, the Chanteurs arrangement benefits only boys.

        Also, it’s a very British thing to allow boys to access a private education merely because they can sing. Very British.

        • jeather 09:22 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          They also sing a lot of hymns, as I recall — and if you look at their events, it’s just a bunch of masses. Because as we know, the CAQ isn’t interested in secularism or gender equality, they’re interested in punishing people who are not white (optionally lapsed) Catholic francophones.

        • Kate 09:49 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          jeather, most western choral music in the classical tradition is masses and hymns. I made a gaffe on the weekend: I have a friend who sings in a high-end amateur choir here, but it’s always masses and always performed in a church. It’s not ritually a mass – there’s no priest and no service – but the music exists in the structure of a mass.

          I’ve gone to one performance, but I find the effect is oppressive. So when I was introduced to the choir director at an unrelated event and he asked if I attended the performances I had an attack of honesty and said that after a Catholic upbringing, going to a church to listen to religious music is sort of not on my list of fun outings, even if the works are considered to be major works in the canon of the western classical tradition. Oops.

        • jeather 09:52 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          I understand WHY they are singing hymns (though I mean masses, at churches, on Sundays or for specific other holidays — check out their calendar of events), I just argue that this is actively not-secular and should be blocked from public schools while other religious things are. (After which I would need to consider, but at the very least not unless there’s an option for girls too.)

        • Mr.Chinaski 10:02 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Kate, so if you negate classical music rooted in hymns and masses… do you negate all form of arts related to christianity? All the paintings, sculptures? Michelangelo has no meaning for you anymore? You’ll never visit the Sistine Chapel since it would for you, and I paraphrase, “going to a church to view religious paintings is sort of not on my list of fun outings, even if the works are considered to be major works in the canon of he western classical tradition”

        • Kate 10:18 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Mr.Chinaski: in no sense do I negate it. I recognize its greatness, I just know it’s not for me.

          Culture is full of quality stuff, but one’s time is limited and one is not obliged to spend it on things one personally finds oppressive. It doesn’t equate to condemning them or writing them off.

        • jeather 10:26 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Lots of people have no interest in going to a church to view religious paintings, in fact.

        • Kate 12:13 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          Right, but if I did a tour of Europe I’m sure I’d see some religious paintings and that wouldn’t bug me, because I wasn’t talking about visuals. I work in a visual business and am always happy to look at any important paintings or sculpture if they happen to be nearby.

          It really is just a question of taste, not of condemnation. You can recognize the importance of whole swathes of artistic expression yet admit that you don’t choose to indulge in them.

        • EmilyG 12:57 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          The thing about it being boys-only is that in the classical music field, a choir of boys’ voices is considered a specific sound, different from the sound of girls’ voices.

        • jeather 13:26 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          The fact that classical music in western Europe was anti-women does not mean that public schools in Quebec in 2019 need to replicate this bias.

        • Kate 14:39 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          jeather, I don’t think it’s anti-women, or at least it’s been going on for so long that great artists have made use of the sound, as EmilyG says, of an all-male choir, such that you still need one for certain kinds of music. Boys have a certain power and purity of voice that you don’t get with a mixed choir.

          For a long period women were not permitted to sing in church. EmilyG, do you know when this ended? I can’t research right now, but some people cite 1916 as the date it changed.

        • thomas 19:19 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

          The objection to women singing as part of the liturgy was this was viewed as a slippery slope to women becoming priests. Women were finally introduced into choirs to due to the labour shortage of boys and young men caused by the war.

        • Kate 07:59 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

          thomas, that makes sense. I also remembered where I’d read about this: when I was researching the architectural choice made by the parish of St Michael’s. The pope then was Pius X, a cultural conservative, who wanted to see the Catholic church return to Byzantine architecture and strictly all-male choirs doing only Gregorian chant. That’s why that church on St-Viateur was built in that style, the only one like it in the city, and also why things were able to change a little after Pius X died in 1914. War, of course, was probably the main cause, but they were able to change things because there was no longer a pope barring women from singing.

        • jeather 09:17 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

          I mean, if you want to argue that in the 1300s-1800s western european art wasn’t anti-women, good luck? I don’t think the intent now with this really nice option for boys only is necessarily anti-women but the effect is.

        • Kate 11:21 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

          I think the problem here is that while there may have been motivation 50 years ago to launch a religious choir for boys, it would be difficult to muster up the same energy now for a parallel girls’ choir.

        • jeather 14:11 on 2019-09-10 Permalink

          Fine, but then it should no longer exist. Let the current students finish out their educations and move along. Or refashion the entire school to be co-ed.

      • Kate 08:00 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

        The handsome Union française building on Viger is said to be in terrible shape, needing more than a million dollars’ worth of restoration. The top two floors are considered uninhabitable. No mention of applying to Emmanuel Macron to chip in, though.

        • Kate 07:25 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

          Le Devoir says Bill 21 is making itself felt in Montreal schools, with one teacher told to remove her hijab by September 10, and two more teachers turned away, all while the commissions are coping with a shortage of teachers.

          • Ephraim 12:13 on 2019-09-09 Permalink

            The racism was already there… these laws are just telling the racists that it’s okay to express your racism publicly. Others just hide their racism in other ways… simple ways, like covering your establishment in Quebec flags, crosses or even pushing the single language agenda. It’s all a way of excluding “others”. Like when people ask me where my name is from… and yet it was a common name in Quebec at one time…. at least two members of the National Assembly have had Ephraim as their name (or hyphenated name) and then there was a television characters with the name….

        • Kate 07:23 on 2019-09-09 Permalink | Reply  

          I’m seeing pieces about the upcoming federal election mentioning various candidates in Montreal ridings. I’d made a list of Montreal island MPs a couple of months ago to refresh my memory of the current setup, and I will go on adding news links to that page instead of putting essentially federal stories onto the main feed. So if you’re curious about local ridings, that’s where the stories will be.

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