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2006 04 24
How Do We Stop Toronto’s Bicycle Deaths?
Two local cyclists died last week on the same day. Both were crushed under the wheels of trucks. Two in one day. One, as Lloyd Alter reported here, was a University of Toronto Professor - a long time cyclist and athlete. It is time for Toronto to take the steps required to prevent these avoidable deaths. It is also time for the city to wholeheartedly embrace and promote cycling as a viable alternative to cars, SUVs, and buses.

What can the city do to help prevent deaths of this type? The ARC's (Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists) Wiki has some details:
In Great Britain, trucks of a certain size are required by law to be equipped with sideguards between front and back wheels. These prevent pedestrians, cyclists and smaller motor vehicles from rolling or falling underneath the body of the truck. Apparently, the British legislation can be shown to have saved lives.

In Canada there is no such legislation, although the Coroner's Report on cycling death in Toronto recommended that Transport Canada consider it. Toronto City Councillor Joe Mehevc has also called for Toronto City Council to consider it.

Until recently, the person responsible for handling such matters has ben Ian Noy, Director, Standards Research and Development, Transport Canada, at 613-998-2268 (he has apparently moved to a new position). He has commented in private conversation that the adjustment is relatively expensive, and that there are not enough deaths in Canada to make it a pressing issue for the trucking industry.

imageI disagree about the cost of this measure. Steel barriers of the type shown here are not expensive. They save lives. Done on a large scale, the cost on a per truck basis of retrofitting all of the city's large trucks is relatively low. The retrofit could be phased in over a five year period on existing trucks and be mandatory on new trucks produced as of 2010.

For car drivers who don't think this applies to them, these guards will save more motorists from injury or death than it will cyclists. Think about it.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 04/24 at 10:48 AM

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