There are only two cities in North America that don’t allow for right-hand turns on a red light – New York City and Montreal.
Montreal’s case is a little peculiar, given that Quebec legalized the manoeuvre in 2003. At the time, politicians in Montreal cited safety concerns for their justification.
Now, there’s pressure from some high-ranking Montreal area officials to change the rules and allow drivers to make right-hand turns on reds.
“There are 350 million people in North America and there are only two cities that dont have right-hand turns on red, and New York is 10 times bigger than we are,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle, one of 15 mayors around the island who share that view.
His believes that the safety argument is a fallacy.
According to figures from the SAAQ, Quebec’s auto insurance authority, there were six fatalities in accidents involving turning right on a red light, which accounted for less than one per cent of all incidents.
“We would like to see no accidents,” Bourelle said, “but one per cent is a very low number.”
The biggest challenge will be getting Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre on board, who has flip-flopped on the issue and currently opposes the practice.