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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

A couple of cautionary tales

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Evening TraficMan dies in hit-and-run in Montreal | Délit de fuite mortel | Le conducteur d’un scooter meurt dans un délit de fuite

An SUV hit and killed man on a scooter around 2 am Saturday near St-Laurent and Villeneuve. The SUV driver then dragged the scooter all the way to Rachel and de l’Esplanade. The police later found the vehicle outside a bar in Vieux-Montreal.

What a horrifying story. It’s difficult to know what to take from this exactly except to be super-super-cautious, especially now during the jazz fest when perhaps there are more drunk drivers and tourists on our streets.

Cyclist hit on Parc Ave. around 3:30 am Saturday.

The article mentions that the cyclist “probably won’t be fined for riding his bike on the wrong side of the street”.

This is a good reminder that you should ride in the direction of traffic, except of course where the bike lane dictates.

Nothing justifies hitting a cyclist, but it’s always better to be safe above all else.

So be safe this weekend, everyone.

Photo by djking on Flickr.



  1. Wow. I witnessed the hit-and-run victim’s last moments as the paramedics (I think, there were no emergency vehicles) were trying to resuscitate him. My friend and I were immediately jolted out of our drunken state and reminded of our mortality. To all you drivers, please travel safely.

  2. How could anyone hit someone with their car and just keep on going with no remorse.
    I hope the judge locks the bastard up for good and throws away the key!
    As for the victms family and friend my deepest condolences.

  3. This is a sad but needed reminder.

    Some people, it seems, are more concerned about the right and the wrong, or who would be at fault, when they’re riding ther bikes in the city.

    My advise is to forget about liability. The main concern should be safety, which means doing whatever it takes to not get hit in the first place.

  4. (Just to be clear, I’m speaking in general, not with regard to this specific accident.)

  5. While I’m not advocating it, riding in the opposing direction doesn’t necessarily put oneself in danger if it’s at the side of the road, surely? (It’s a dangerous practice if it forces oncoming cyclists into traffic.)

    I’m guessing he was going the wrong way AND straying into traffic?

  6. I frequently cycle the wrong way down one-way streets… but they’re invariably one-lane residential sidestreets. This happened at Park Avenue at Duluth — in other words, the six-lane portion of the street that has fast-moving traffic. What’s worse is that there’s a separate bike path that runs along it!

  7. Shawn, it’s definitely not safe to cycle in the opposing direction (swaying or no swaying), especially in the middle of the night. It’s just not a situation a driver would expect and be able to necessarily react to quickly. When a cyclist is driving in an opposing direction, they come upon the driver quickly. Especially at night, this can be very dangerous. I don’t know the specifics of this incident, but I would guess the cyclist didn’t have a night light on his bike.

    I don’t want to lay blame on anyone here, but it’s important that everyone who uses the roads (cyclists, pedestrians and drivers) obey the rules. When the rules are followed, it allows everyone to be able to anticipate the actions of others and react accordingly.

  8. I could not agree more with Blork: no matter who is at fault in an accident between a vehicle and a bicycle (or a pedestrian), the vehicle will always ‘come out on top’ and the victim may well be dead. Sadly this is something that the general public does not seem to appreciate. Why do so many bicyclists and pedestrians ignore the traffic rules? Because doing so may actually be safer for them (from their perspective)! I am not condoning dangerous and idiotic things like riding the wrong way on Parc Avenue, but there are many situations where following the rules can be more dangerous than ignoring them….

    Any accident is a tragedy, and all the more so if alcohol is involved.

  9. The Journal de Montreal is now reporting that the hit-and-run victim was François Dumouchel, aka DJ Euterke, and that the perpetrator worked at the bar in Old Montreal where he was later found.

    The Gazette update is quite detailed and says the driver will likely get three years.

    Just a horrific story. Staggering, really.

    As for the cyclist: I’m the dork among my friends who doesn’t run red lights or (mostly) take one-way streets the wrong way. I’ll occasionally take residential streets, like Chris, but truthfully I don’t make it a habit. It can be dangerous but moreover it gives cyclists a bad name. Every time I do it I can practically hear any passing motorist thinking, “Another damn cyclist going the wrong way.”

    I don’t know why this guy was going the wrong way down Parc, but without knowing the exact circumstances it’s difficult to judge. The most important thing is to keep safe.

  10. The thing to consider is that there are the “official” rules of the road and there are the “natural” rules of the road. When I’m on my bike I pay more heed to the natural rules, which state (as said above) that in a confrontation between a car and a bike, the car will always win. So I do whatever it takes to avoid that confrontation.

    That said, I do occasionally ride the wrong way down a one way street, but like Chris, I only do it on quiet residential streets. And when I do so I am fully aware that I’m breaking both the official and the natural laws and if something happens I have no one to blame but myself. When I see someone riding against traffic n a street like St. Laurent, I can’t help but think they are either suicidal or very very stupid.

  11. Just a clarification, alcohol is not a factor in this story, the driver wasn’t drunk… just an idiot.

    P.S. Hopefully, scooter drivers and cyclers will take notice at how fragile they are in the traffic, no matter how careful drivers are.

  12. He wasn’t drunk? How the #@$@ do you drag a scooter from Villeneuve and Mont-Royal to Rachel and Esplanade without noticing and not be blind drunk?

    This is just another little reminder of how we are all victims to a car-dominated economy and infrastructure. Why is this guy driving a 4×4? What possible use could anyone have for such a vehicle in the city? Take his license and his car. Really we should be closing down the entire city to cars. There is just no need for them.

  13. He dragged a #&*$ scooter because he’s an idiot and wanted to run away, is it so hard to understand? Read the damn news, alcohol wasn’t an issue.

    Car dominated economy? of course, and now for over a 100 years, wake up and smell the coffee. What does it hat to do with this story you nutjob?

    If a truck had hit a car and dragged it for a while killing its passenger you wouldn’t even had cared because for you a human life on a bicycle is more valuable than in a car? Are you using this story to push your agenda?

    You are a sad person.

  14. Malek, please keep your remarks here respectful of other commentors.

    The Gazette has reported that the perpetrator, Thomas Vernis, could not be given the breathalyzer because he was found at a bar and could’ve been drinking only since the incident. So whether or not alcohol was involved is unknown.

    His driver’s licence has been revoked, thank god. He is out on bail (with some restrictions) though.

  15. I don’t agree with Malek’s tone, but I can understand where he’s coming from. Walkerp, you seem to be suffering from a lack of imagination. There are all sorts of reasons why someone might behave like that, including (a) panic, (b) stupidity, (c) mental illness, (d) being an idiot, and so on.

    And where is that 4×4 comment coming from? First of all, the kind of car he was driving has no bearing on this issue. Second of all, there are many reasons why someone might have a 4×4 in the city. For example: (a) Maybe he’s a farmer from the country in town for some R&R. (b) Maybe he’s a construction contractor who needs to haul around a crew and a lot of tools during the day. (c) Maybe he’s some kind of inspector who needs to drive to remote locations in the country on a regular basis, down muddy dirt roads and all. (d) etc.

    I’m not defending the guy. After all, I know nothing about him. (Most likely he was a drunken jerk in a pimped up urban SUV, but I don’t KNOW that so I won’t declare it.) But I really hate it when I see that kind of knee-jerk judgementalism coming into play when we should be looking at the situation as it is, not as our prejudices would like them to be.

  16. Would that guy been less dead if it was a regular car?

    Dragged under the wheels of a sedan or an SUV, does it really matter? Is it more outrageous to do because of an SUV? than hit by an average car?

    I’m sorry for my tone, but its shameful that someone is trying to push his agenda while François paid with his life for idiotic driving and carelessness.

  17. For those of you who think he is going to get 3 years…

    This accident seems like a Deja Vu: 5 years ago, an international student who went to McGill, hit 2 irish tourists in downtown Montreal with his brand new BMW and killed one of them. He also ran away and tried to conceal the damages with his friend. He was coming back from a night out at famous trendy restaurant Buena Note, where he probably just drank water the whole night… The next day he went to the cops with his lawyer.

    Is it a coincidence? Like our friend Thomas, he comes from a very well off family, has access to good lawyers and has no past criminal record. Bottom line, he got no jail time and a $10,000 bail, while his friend who tried to help him conceal the car got no jail time either and a $15,000 bail.

    That’s it, this is the kind of justice you can expect. It is not only found in 3rd world authoritarian regimes, but also right here in Canada. It’s all about who you know and how much money you (or your daddy in these cases) have.

    The comments above are of public matter and can be verified, just google Mohamed Karim Tagemouati.

  18. The comments here are troubling….on both sides of the agenda…so many vulnerable road users are killed in Quebec, our daughter was one of them. She was not cycling, nor riding a skateboard…just standing at an intersection on the sidewalk near a crosswalk waiting for the traffic to clear when the truck came up and took her. Three years?….yes he’s now into his fourth….The driver is in his fourth year of recieving his salary while he doesn’t need to work and we continue to pay for the rehabiliation of our young son – seriously injured in that incident. Our son too following all the traffic rules and as the daycare’s profess – make sure you can see the driver’s eyes – he saw the driver – the driver only need say – I didn’t see them! Then instead of an sobriety test or a punishment they are rewarded with a pension courtesy of SAAQ and Quebec’s taxpayers. Look at the real issue our laws are made by the same people who reward those at fault. Lack of accountability is the real issue and the reason these preventable fatalities continue.

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