Updates from September, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:38 on 2023-09-07 Permalink | Reply  

    A cyclist was badly injured Thursday morning downtown by an SUV. TVA claims the cyclist ran a red.

    An STM bus crashed into a bus shelter in NDG on Thursday, dealing minor injuries to a man waiting inside.

    • mare 00:54 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      A driver in an SUV hit and badly injured a cyclist Thursday morning downtown. TVA claims the cyclist ran a red.

      ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590198219300727 )

    • Ian 08:41 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      If we want to get super technical, it’s not a “claim” by TVA, it’s according to an eyewitness interviewed by a TVA reporter at the scene of the accident.

      Also, does someone riding an electric bike still count as a cyclist?

    • Blork 09:21 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      An electric bicycle is still a bicycle. While some have throttles, in most cases you still have to pedal them to get anywhere; the motor just provides “pedal assist,” so it’s still cycling. (Not to be confused with electric mopeds that have vestigal pedals just so they can be classified as bicycles… the picture in the TVA report clearly shows a bicycle.)

    • Blork 09:47 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      Mare: the cyclist hit the vehicle, not the other way around. The impact was on the side of the SUV (driver’s side. Everyone’s looking at the busted windshield and assuming a front-on collision, but at 0:43 in the video you can see that the bicycle T-boned the SUV, hitting in front of the driver’s door. Regardless of who is at fault, it was the bike slamming into the side of the car, full stop.

      If the witness is correct that the cyclist blew the red light, then the fault is clear. Cyclist was heading east on the De Maisonneuve bike path. SUV was heading north on Aylmer. From the cyclist’s perspective, he wouldn’t have seen the SUV coming because the view down Aylmer is blocked by the huge The Bay store.

      That bicylce is a Gosen Q3 or Q5. Both have 750 watt motors, which are quite powerful. E-bikes in Canada are restricted to 32kph, and the speed limit on the bike path is 20. I don’t know if the cyclist was speeding, but judging by the impact I would speculate that it’s a good possibility. However, the SUV might have been going fast too (although the speed limit there is probably 50). They might have been gunning it to make the light, which would explain why they would seem to come out of nowhere from the cyclist’s perspective (i.e., coming from behind the blocked view of Aylmer).

      But regardless of speed, and regardless of fault, it was the bicycle that hit the SUV. if the cyclist did indeed blow through a red light, then the fault is clearly his.

    • Andrew 19:30 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      Since we’re being super technical, if it had a 750 watt motor, it legally wasn’t a bicycle in Quebec and he wasn’t a cyclist. That’s a “speed limited vehicle” which has the same requirements as a 50cc gas scooter; licence plate, insurance and a regular drivers licence.

    • Blork 20:13 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      That’s a good point, Andrew, although not completely correct. Gosen claims their 750 watt bikes are speed limited to 32kph, which keeps them in the e-bike category. However, that category also maxes out at 500 watts, so it’s a mix of yes and no. But given how fuzzy and ambiguous wattage ratings tend to be, that measure is less important than the actual speed limitation. The scooter category you’re talking about is speed-limited to 70kph.

      Class 1 and class 2 electric bikes in QC are not supposed to be more than 500 watts, but there is no enforcement or controls on that. Many e-bike retailers state on their web sites that their 750 watt bikes will be equipped with 500 watt motors when sold in Quebec (or maybe that’s for all of Canada; I don’t remember).

      But many don’t (including Gosen). Because there’s nothing stopping anyone from going to a different province or the US to get a 750 watt (or higher) bike. And there’s no way to tell the difference visually. A 750 or 1000 watt motor doesn’t look or sound any different from a 500 or 350 watt motor. So it’s essentially an unenforceable ruling. There’s also the above-mentioned un-clarity on how wattage ratings are determined. A lot of 750 watt bikes are really 500 watt bikes that “peak” at 750, which is a marketing way to make the bike you’re selling sound like it’s more powerful than it really is. (My e-bike has a 250 watt motor and that’s just fine by me.)

      That said, it’s still a bicycle. Even if it is legally classified into some other category, it’s still a bicycle by any reasonable standards. If someone on a 750 watt Gosen Q3 was riding next to someone on a 500 watt Gosen Q3 there would be no distinguishing difference, so saying one isn’t a bicycle is a purely academic argument.


    • Kate 22:08 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      The distinction might matter in court, though.

    • Andrew 18:32 on 2023-09-09 Permalink

      Who doesn’t love a purely academic argument?

      You’re correct that the watt rating of a motor is pretty arbitrary, but all ebikes have a controller where maximum power and speed are specific numerical setpoints. Mine displays power, and I’m 100% sure it has the same motor they sell in the US and advertise as 750 watts, but it never outputs more than 500. Likewise going down a hill I can go faster than 32 km/hr, but the motor cuts off completely.

      500 watts and 32 km/hr is the limit in all provinces I think, it was the federal standard until they transferred control a few years ago. The class 1/2/3 thing is the American system.

      You can’t judge by appearance either, there’s also nothing stopping you from installing a DIY motor kit on an actual bike that is capable of 3000 or 5000 watts with a battery that just looks like a frame bag.

      So yeah, it’s not easy to tell, and right now the cops don’t know or don’t care. But if there’s more cases like this, we’ll see if that changes.

    • Ian 20:37 on 2023-09-09 Permalink

      This is Montreal – unless a cop is specifically on ticketing non-street-legal electric bikes duty, they can ride whatever the hell they want. In Mile End the Uber Eats e-bike road warriors ride on the sidewalk all the time right up to the door of wherever they are picking up orders from, with their eyes on their phones. I call them out but they always say “Im working” like it’s a free pass. Clearly the communication around the use of e-bikes is lacking.

  • Kate 11:15 on 2023-09-07 Permalink | Reply  

    Valérie Plante has been spearheading a movement by Quebec’s mayors to reform the funding of towns so they’re not so entirely dependent on property tax. François Legault is not interested in complying, and has his minister of municipal affairs airily tell the towns that they already have the means to diversify their revenue.

    • carswell 12:33 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      Legault is interested only in expanding the provincial government’s (i.e. his) power, not in decentralizing or sharing it. And that’s doubly true when it comes to evil cities, especially ones filled with non-Québécois and non-francophones, which, in the nationalist worldview, must be kept on a very short leash.

    • Nicholas 13:12 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      I don’t understand this push by cities to try to get other tax authority. Just raise property taxes! Montreal’s residential property tax rate (including school taxes) is, depending on the borough, around 0.8% of the property value. It’s one of the lowest rates in the province and the country, sometimes by a lot. The average US rate is 1%, and it’s generally higher in global cities I just checked. City+state sales taxes in the US are generally lower than sales taxes we pay in Quebec, so it’s not like they’re making the revenue up elsewhere. Montreal does have a higher rate than Toronto, Calgary and most of BC, but not by much for the first two, and Toronto is crying poor too now. I know not everything is directly comparable based on different levels of governmental responsibility in different areas, but we provide a lot of services and yet have lower tax rates even though that’s our main revenue source.

      Property taxes are some of the most efficient taxes out there, just behind land value taxes (similar but where you only tax the unimproved value of the land, not the value of the buildings on it). They’re easy to administer and hard to avoid. The new revenue will have to come from elsewhere, and we’ll have to pay either way; do we want to be paying more every time we buy something or request a permit? If the city needs more revenue, they can justify it; if they can’t justify it, they shouldn’t try to get it another way or blame the province.

    • carswell 13:45 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      Isn’t a downside of higher property taxes that it makes buying a home even more inaccessible for first-time buyers? It also doesn’t tax (except in very indirect ways) people who frequent the city and use its services but don’t live in it.

    • Anton 14:47 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      It creates incentives for the populace to vote for depressing the property values.

    • Ephraim 16:39 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      I would think that even within the property tax system there are ways to change how things are done. For example, the rate for residential use, should require some sort of proof that it is a primary residence, the same way that the city requires proof to get a parking permit. And the same can be done with rentals. But maybe there should be a different rate of tax of a pied-a-terre, a foreigner that doesn’t live there and even properties that are vacant.

    • Michael 17:46 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      Maybe she can learn to lower employee head count instead of looking for ways to just tax the population more?

    • Kate 17:56 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      Michael, if you cut the number of city employees, soon you’ll start hearing complaints about deteriorating services. I don’t see a lot of complaints about too many people working for the city or the boroughs.

    • Michael 20:50 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      My cousin is a tech worker that works for the government (work from home) that also does another work from home job collecting 2 paychecks. He says his government job takes him 3 hours to do tops and gets paid an 8 hour day for it. Beautiful.

      Time to do a complete hiring freeze for years.

    • Kate 21:23 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      OK Michael, you’re one of those right wing guys who thinks less government is necessarily better, down to cutting back on garbagemen. We get it.

      This is a big city. It takes a lot of hands to keep it clean and safe and running properly. Cutting down on hiring is not the answer. Quebec needs to readjust its relationship with Montreal, and with its cities generally, but it doesn’t like to give up power, so it won’t.

      Plante is right that a lot of the adjustments needed to meet climate change have to be tackled by cities, and they need the money. This isn’t a weakness – it’s a permanent structural shift that will affect everything in our lives in coming years. The city needs more resources and she’s right to fight for them.

    • Kevin 22:15 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      There could be a lot more efficiencies, but a lot of the wastage is caused by overlapping jurisdictions.

      And when you do automate stuff you get a lot of GIGO, like the woman getting a bill for $0.01.

    • Kate 23:17 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

      Kevin’s referring to this recent story. Obviously the bookkeeping script ought to include code to cancel any bill under $1, but it doesn’t. Any bill that doesn’t even cover the postage ought to be dropped.

    • Ian 08:43 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      @Michael ah yes. the old “I know a guy who scams the system therefore everyone scams the system therefore teh system is broken”.

      No, Michael, your cousin is committing fraud.

    • walkerp 09:12 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      Your “cousin” lol.
      But in the private sector, nobody ever wastes time or takes advantage of their employer’s inefficiencies.

    • Michael 09:32 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      If it takes 3-4 hours for my cousin to complete his work, so are other government employees sitting around doing 3-4 hours of work, there is a lot more hours in the day they can work if we do a hiring freeze.

      But no, the only answer for the government is as expected = raise taxes.

    • Michael 09:34 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      An easy example: the mountains of police officers sitting around doing nothing in their cars. I’m sure we can do a hiring freeze there and save a lot money.

    • PatrickC 09:37 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      Property tax comparisons can be misleading if associated taxes/fees are not taken into account. I’m thinking of water and sanitation taxes, for example. Then there are the bonds that US counties and cities vote on for specific purposes and that are added to the property tax. The rules about these vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, of course.

    • Uatu 10:32 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      The health care system cut a lot of positions for cost savings. So how’s that working out? 😛

    • Tim 11:20 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      @Uatu: can you provide any evidence of the “cuts” that you reference? The health care system does not have enough employees. I recall reading about lots of people leaving the system. I believe that there are lots of open positions waiting to be filled. I do not recall any “cuts” being done for cost savings.

    • carswell 12:09 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      Can’t cite chapter and verse without spending time I don’t have right now to research, Tim, but the decline of the Quebec health care system began in the 1980s, when the PQ government (I believe) imposed massive “cost-saving” cuts. One of our more knowledgeable correspondents will probably provide details.

    • Tim S. 15:54 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      “In June 1995, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) became one of the Montreal-area acute-care hospitals to be slated for closure in response to a directive from the provincial government to cut the costs of health care provision.”

      From the British Medical Journal (1999):
      “Since 1994, 10 Quebec hospitals have been closed and about 16000 health professionals, including many doctors, have taken early retirement. ”

    • Tim 16:32 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      Thanks Tim S and carswell. Certainly there was a lot of belt tightening 25 or 30 years ago in the 90’s. It also does not help that government reduced admissions to med schools across the country at that time due to a perceived surplus (https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/chanjun02.pdf).

    • Kate 17:16 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      I don’t remember what year it was, but at some point in the 1990s the PQ government made offers that convinced a lot of nurses and teachers to retire early. My landlady at the time was a teacher, and she took the offer and went and tried to operate a B&B in a country town. (She was a hostile person at best and did not make a success of being a host, which didn’t surprise me at all – but that’s another story.)

      Anyway, the upshot was a shitshow, because when all these workers – mostly women – clocked off, all of a sudden Quebec lost a vast amount of accrued knowledge and experience, and is arguably still suffering from it. But I don’t have any links.

      (Looking for links I find that, a year ago, the current PQ leader was trying to push retired people to go back to work.)

    • Uatu 17:52 on 2023-09-08 Permalink

      I work at the MUHC and have seen the job closures over the years. I’ve lost count at how many times that my position was closed due to budget cuts.

      This was what was going on pre pandemic:



      Needless to say that when retirement was available those that could take it did. Not only because they were tired and overworked, but as a “f-ck you” to their bosses. I can’t tell you how many retirement parties I’ve been to where that was the overall sentiment.

    • dhomas 09:08 on 2023-09-09 Permalink

      @Michael: I have a colleague that works with me. We work for a private company. He also works for another private company. At the other job, he works about 2 hours a day and gets 8 hours paid. I guess we should just abolish all private companies because people are scamming them?

    • CE 11:50 on 2023-09-09 Permalink

      When workers can do their job efficiently and work multiple jobs at once to increase income it gets called « time theft » or a scam. When a CEO runs multiple companies at once, they make millions or billions of dollars and get called geniuses or are at least praised for their ability to multi task.

    • Orr 16:40 on 2023-09-09 Permalink

      >>>(Looking for links I find that, a year ago, the current PQ leader was trying to push retired people to go back to work.)

      I’d go back to work part time bc retired but the gov’t has never communicated this as a possibility, or even where to go for more information about incentive programs. It’s like they don’t want me to go back to work.

  • Kate 08:36 on 2023-09-07 Permalink | Reply  

    A woman and her baby were rescued from the balcony of a burning building at Ridgewood and Côte‑des‑Neiges on Wednesday evening.

    • Kate 08:32 on 2023-09-07 Permalink | Reply  

      Radio-Canada has a piece looking back at the Great Antonio, who died 20 years ago.

      The Gazette looks back at how the demolition of the Van Horne mansion 50 years ago spurred the creation of heritage preservation group Save Montreal.

      • walkerp 10:38 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        That is a great article about the Van Horne mansion. It goes into some depth and is an interesting and important piece of Montreal’s history.

      • carswell 11:19 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        When I first arrived in Montreal, to attend McGill, I walked from the hotel that is now the Cours Mont-Royal and where the airport bus had dropped me, up Peel toward the campus. When I got to the corner of Sherbrooke, I was horrified as a wrecking ball finished off the greenhouse/conservatory and started on the mansion per se. It was my first real image of the city. I felt like returning to the hotel and getting on the bus back to the airport. Glad I didn’t but what a disgrace. Turned me into a Drapeau hater from day one.

      • Tee Owe 12:48 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        Like Carswell, I had recently (bit earlier) arrived in Montreal – I was prompted to write an open letter to Jean Drapeau protesting this travesty – I have no record of it unfortunately

      • walkerp 14:24 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        That drive for modernity sure looks bad today. Bear that in mind with the rush to AI.

      • Kate 17:59 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        walkerp, do you see a parallel between Jean Drapeau’s fascination with the Ville Radieuse and general fascination with AI?

      • walkerp 19:28 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        No, it’s a bit of a stretch but what is the same is that drive to be modern and not be left behind.

      • Kate 23:24 on 2023-09-07 Permalink

        I think anyone whose skills can be replicated by AI, even in its nascent state, is inevitably going to want to know more, and figure out how to use it, before they’re completely superseded by it. And this is whether or not it’s a paying job, or an avocation like poetry or photography or painting.

        I don’t think that’s a drive to be modern – it’s like some people instantly saw the potential in the internet, and then in the web, and jumped in.

    • Kate 08:30 on 2023-09-07 Permalink | Reply  

      A man was stabbed Wednesday evening at Peel and Ste‑Catherine, but he has survived so far.

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