This morning, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), through its Provincial Land Transport Sector Council (CPSTT), presented its recommendations at the SAAQ consultation: ROAD SAFETY: It matters to everyone.

Although road fatalities have declined considerably over the last decades, the number of traffic injuries has continued to climb. At the same time, there has been a major increase in active transportation in all regions of Quebec, especially in large cities where cyclists have doubled over the last 15 years.

“For this reason, CUPE and the CPSTT see an immediate need for real road-sharing measures that are safe and compatible with the size of buses. To achieve this, the Government should require cities, RCMs and metropolitan transit agencies to consult with transportation companies before making any changes to the road infrastructure,” said Denis Bolduc, president of CUPE Quebec.

In its brief, the CPSTT elaborated on several proposals for improving the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and users of reserved lanes, while maintaining their primary function of offering fast and efficient public transit services.

Along with safer and more uniform management measures, we believe there is a need to increase awareness about the dangers posed by buses, starting in primary school.

The CPSTT asked the Government to decide on several other items, such as the ideal width of lanes, the safe operation of heavy vehicles and the health condition of drivers. With this in mind, the CPSTT recommended that the time allotted to bus routes be adjusted periodically in response to changes in speed limits and traffic. “The CPSTT wants transit corporations to consider the cognitive load and stress imposed on the bus driver who knows from the outset that he will fall further behind schedule at every stop,” noted Daniel Leroux, president of the CPSTT.

Leroux added that “transit corporations should be required to educate passengers and post signage forbidding them to cross the yellow line, so as not to obstruct the driver’s field of vision.” A Polytechnique Montréal study, carried out on behalf of the Union of STM bus drivers, subway operators and related service employees, determined that if bus passengers stand in front of the yellow line on the centre aisle, the driver is hard pressed to detect pedestrians or cyclists near the right side of the bus.

CUPE has more than 110,000 members in Quebec, and the CPSTT represents more than 7,100 workers in transit corporations and bus transportation companies in Quebec.