Montreal launches 24/7 hotline for reporting bike-lane infractions
When someone, something or someone's vehicle is obstructing a bike lane, cyclists and other concerned Montreal citizens can now call a brand-new hotline operating 24 hours, seven days a week.
The city of Montreal has hired 24 agents to monitor the lines, reachable at 514-868-3737.
Montreal's 250 parking enforcement agents already issue fines of $170 to those committing the infraction of blocking a bike lane. Callers to the hotline will be able to ask for an agent to be sent, easing the pressure on other frontline services.
"We'll be able to dispatch the calls more efficiently and intervene more effectively," said Laurent Chevrot, the head of the city's parking authority, the Agence de mobilité durable, in an interview.
Before the hotline was set up, one of the only ways to request a parking enforcement agent to act was by calling 911, according Jean-François Rheault, the president of Vélo Québec.
Data collected through the hotline could help the city identify problem areas with regards to signs and infrastructure, Rheault said.
In 2017, cyclists popularized the hashtag #dansmapiste on social media with pictures of cars and trailers blocking bike lanes in the city. Other North American cities were also beginning to clamp down on vehicles in the lanes, prompting Montreal to issue more fines and monitor them more closely.
"It's a problem because, for some people who don't feel safe riding with cars, when the bike lane stops and they're no longer protected, they will feel unsafe and will perhaps not choose bicycling as a mode of transportation," Rheault said.
May is Bike Month in Quebec, and as part of the city's effort to make bike lanes safer, Chevrot said, two pairs of police officers on bikes have been patrolling the paths.