Side guards are a smart investment for truck owners who care about their neighbours on the road
I do go on about side guards on trucks, how they are the law in Europe and China, about how you can lay the bodies of dead cyclists and pedestrians at the feet of the Ministers of Transport in Canada for not making them mandatory here because they say it will make Canadian truckers uncompetitive with Americans, who don't care about crushing cyclists or pedestrians either.
However some people are taking the law into their own hands, and paying for their own side guards. FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit that delivers a lot of healthy food with a " focus on the entire system that puts food on our tables: from the growing, processing and distribution of food to its purchasing, cooking and consumption", invested in side guards for their trucks. I asked why, and James Davis, the school food innovations educator, told TreeHugger:
As someone who has cycled year-round in downtown Toronto for the past ten years, I'm very aware of the need for safer cycling infrastructure. Jenna Morrison was my yoga teacher and her death really shook me up but also motivated me to do something to bring about change. I approached some people at FoodShare where I work, and was thrilled that the organization was willing to invest in getting side guards installed on three trucks. I hope that other truck owners will follow our lead.
Jenna Morrison was a young woman with a big trailer behind her bike, but somehow the driver of the straight truck turning right didn't see her in his mirror and crushed her under his rear wheels. This was considered an accident. (See related links to the left.) Debbie Field, the Executive Director of Foodshare, concurs:
Just like we model solutions to food issues in our programs, it was very important for us to model bike safety as we have such a strong cycling culture at the organization and our cube trucks are constantly on the road. We were pleased to learn that there was something we could do to play a small part in improving bike riders' safety. We hope others with delivery trucks will join with us in helping to protect cyclists from accidents.
They got their side guards from (Danger! Loud annoying music!) Shu-Pak, a manufacturer of garbage handling equipment that does side guards as a sideline. They feel strongly about the subject and provide them free of charge on all of their trucks:
Shu-Pak Equipment Inc. believes that saving lives and preventing accidents is a top priority in the Waste & Recycling industry and offers protection for all vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists) against the risk of falling under the sides of the vehicle and being caught under the wheels. This side guard feature is offered free of charge to all municipalities and private companies when requested at the time of purchase of your new Pac-King Side Loader.
They support Olivia Chow's private members bill in Parliament, where she asks: "How Many More Deaths Before Sideguards are Mandated?" I keep asking the same thing.