In Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier is mostly on the run, with his desk in his backpack, looking for fascinating topics and people. In this city chronicle he speaks to everyone and is interested in all areas of life.
Our off-road columnist had an intimate experience with his terrain on Thursday evening, lying on the pavement and uttering churchy words thanks to a secret patch of ice.
After walking several hundred thousand steps on the ice without falling, it finally happened to me.
Am I broken? NO. I still have a few good years of bone strength ahead of me.
But if I had been 25 years older, such a sudden shock would have sent me onto a stretcher in a hospital hallway.
Ouch! It was as if a friendly police officer had struck my right hip. An unimaginable bruise will soon follow.
It was black. On the sidewalk next to Laurier Park, Rue de Brébeuf, I entered a gully of melting snow water, a beautiful, virginal, undulating ice determined to take revenge on humanity. On the ground, the two-legged friends!
This phenomenon of “superglaciation” occurs whenever a sidewalk runs along a large, elevated snow-covered area, such as a park or schoolyard…
Gravel would be needed in these places, and in large quantities! Why are special measures not taken from year to year for these extremely dangerous segments?
The next day I returned to the “crime scene” to find the offending ice, and my fellow joggers almost all used the bike path, which was better de-iced.
“It's really less dangerous on the bike path in Montreal,” comments Daniel Zours.
“But just walking on the sidewalk to get to the track, I almost lost my balance.”
“This is my first winter of racing and so far I have avoided crashes,” says Erwan Jézéquel.
Daniel Zours and Erwan Jézéquel were jogging on the bike path on Friday afternoon to avoid the dangerous sidewalk next door. Photo Louis Philippe Messier
I've been skating since I was a teenager. If our sidewalks were just like ice rinks, this would be less of a problem: we would know what to expect.
What deceives vigilance is false regularity. A frozen sidewalk turns out to be passable for several dozen meters, but then suddenly becomes slippery like ice.
“Be careful of the black ice in front of the door over there!” A pedestrian on Saint-Viateur warned me when he saw me approaching the race.
It was in front of the door of Shakti Rock Gym, in front of Ubisoft.
“Be careful of the ice there!” I said again to an approaching cyclist.
I heard him repeat the warning to a fourth person.
Sooner or later this chain of warnings will be broken and, evil! someone will fall.
In Bixi sur Laurier, near the park of the same name, it is finally “Montreal in reverse”: the sidewalk is clear, but the bike path is buried under a layer of brown ice. In short: the cliché about increasingly clear cycle paths is not always true.
On Laurier, Montreal was the other way around: the sidewalk was passable, but the bike path was partially completely covered with brownish ice. Photo Louis Philippe Messier
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