On Friday, Mar.27, a state of emergency was declared in Montreal. Over the weekend, city officials implemented tighter restrictions on movement throughout the Greater Montreal area. The Montreal Police Service (SPVM) increased their local presence and residents were encouraged to call 911 if they had information on “abnormal situations” such as gatherings of people.
While Quebec has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada (3,430, as of Mar. 30), over the weekend fewer patients were diagnosed with the virus than expected. For this reason, city officials chose to not put into action some stricter regulations that were originally slated to come into play on Sunday. These measures included ‘random police checks on the city’s bridges’,’limiting the number of people in each household allowed to go out to shop’ and ‘permission to run only within a 1 km radius of your place of residence’.
What will happen to cycling in Montreal?
There aren’t clear reports yet as to how cyclists fit into this proposal. Thus far, the province has not been lenient towards cyclists, listing bike shops as non-essential services, and been enforcing regulations.
Similar lockdown actions taken in France, Spain and Italy offer good examples as to what could be in store for Montreal’s cyclists in the coming weeks.
In France, running was initially restricted to 2 km from home (since been lowered to one kilometre). Cycling outdoors was banned outright, as the French cycling federation asked cyclists to simply stay home.
Spain and Italy, the European countries hit the hardest by the virus, have police officers giving fines to those outside of their home for non-essential reasons. Restricted activities, which could cost residents up to €3,000, include recreational cycling. Most have respected the lockdown, but those who attempt to defy authorities, such as this cyclist who went into the ocean to avoid a police officer, will receive a fine.