Two dead because trucks don't have side guards and cyclists apparently can't stay upright

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In Brooklyn and Toronto, the same story: "accidents" where cyclists somehow lose control, fall under rear wheels.

Such an unusual coincidence. In Brooklyn, police say that a bicyclist "lost control and fell under the wheels of a tractor-trailer".

In Toronto, a cyclist was killed and may have similarly lost control.

It’s possible the man fell off his bike before being struck around noon near College St. and Ossington Ave., Const. Clint Stibbe of Toronto Police Services said. There was a car that was parked in a parking spot on the roadway, by a streetcar track, so the cyclist had to go around it, said Stibbe.

It is a sad coincidence, two cyclists just losing control like that. Bikes are pretty stable and safe. People who ride in December are usually the type of cyclists who ride all year and don't just fall off their bikes. One Torontonian had a thought:

Another experienced cyclist noted:

Admittedly, the Toronto accident happened in a difficult spot; there is a lovely bike lane that just stops a few blocks to the east, so cyclists suddenly have little choice but to be squeezed between parked cars and trucks and the streetcar tracks. If you are going to have trouble, it is going to be here; it is a design problem but hey, choices have to be made, even in a Vision Zero city like Toronto. Clearly, there can't be a bike lane here because cars have to have a place to park, and cyclists don't ride in December anyway.

And then, there are the trucks themselves. In both cases, the cyclists went under the rear wheels of trucks that did not have side guards, which are required in most of the world but not in North America, where the industry fights them as being heavy and expensive. In Canada, the Minister of Transport just introduced new rules to make trucking safer, mandating stability control systems and logging devices, but not a peep about side guards.

In New York City the need for them is recognized; Mayor de Blasio made them mandatory on all trucks -- by 2024. (In the UK, cyclist deaths dropped 61 percent and pedestrian deaths 20 percent when they became mandatory.) They should be mandatory everywhere, and a lot sooner than 2024.

In Brooklyn and Toronto, there are shocking similarities:

  • Police immediately blame the victims for losing control, which actually doesn't happen that often.
  • Vision Zero is too high a price to pay when trucks have to get off highways or cars have to park.
  • Mandatory side guards might have saved both cyclists from being crushed but hey, they are expensive and accidents happen.
  • And don't forget, we don't need bike lanes because nobody cycles in winter.

One can hope that maybe this coincidence might spur the authorities to start taking these deaths seriously, but they never do. They don't even understand what Vision Zero means: People make mistakes so the infrastructure has to protect them.

vision zero people are part of the equationVision Zero/Screen capture

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