Call for Guardrails on Trucks to Protect Bike Riders

John Greenfield's Op-Ed calls for legislation to mandate safety guards on trucks operating in the city of Chicago.
October 6, 2016, 5am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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After a bloody few months in Chicago, John Greenfield, argues for legislation to mandate side guards on trucks to try to stem the tide of dead cyclists. This piece in the Chicago Reader argues that Chicago should follow the example of other cities around the country and the world and require that commercial trucking vehicles install side guards saying, "Last year New York mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law mandating side guards on all municipal trucks of more than 10,000 pounds as well as all private garbage trucks operating in the five boroughs by 2024."

In Chicago, six cyclists have been killed by commercial vehicles since June according to the article several of these fatalities could have been avoided if these measures had been taken. "It's clear that that side guards can help prevent deaths like the four recent Chicago-area truck-bike crash fatalities, what will it take to make the safety gear standard equipment in our region?"

Greenfield anticipates that there will be pushback saying, "But resistance from the trucking industry could be a roadblock to passing legislation requiring this safety gear. In 2012, the Active Transportation Alliance lobbied for Illinois legislation, sponsored by state representative, Kelly Cassidy, requiring convex mirrors for the front of all large Illinois-licensed trucks. However, the Illinois Trucking Association balked at the $500-per-vehicle cost, and testified against the bill; the legislation died in committee."

That failed legislation strikes Greenfield as a very costly error. "While it's painful to think that this safety gear might have prevented the tragic deaths of the four recent truck-crash victims, passing such an ordinance could help save lives in the future."

As a bike rider in Chicago who's seen the situation up close, this writer heartily agrees.

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Published on Friday, September 30, 2016 in Chicago Reader
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