Cyclists' deaths spark call for safety equipment on trucks
Toronto cyclists are calling for mandatory safety equipment on all large trucks, following the deaths of two separate cyclists hit by trucks last Thursday.
Family members and cyclists are holding two memorials Thursday – one for a 16-year-old girl who was struck by a tractor-trailer at Keele and Finch, and one for a 46-year-old university professor who was killed by a dump truck while cycling down Avenue Road.
Police say charges may be laid against the dump-truck driver involved in the death of Dr. Hubert Van Tol, of the University of Toronto.
Darren Stehr, of the group Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, says a coroner's jury eight years ago recommended safety siderails on trucks, like ones used in Britain and Europe, which lessen the chance people can fall under the truck's wheels if they are hit.
"Whether it be a pedestrian or a cyclist, it helps push – if there's a sideguard on the truck – it'll help push them away, and [there is] less chance of them getting sucked underneath the truck," Stehr says.
Coun. Joe Mihevic got city council to pass a resolution, recently, calling for provincial action after three truck-bike deaths in the city last year.
"Force truckers and owners of large vehicles to have them installed as soon as possible, so these needless deaths can be prevented," Mihevic says.
"Well, he's gotta follow up," Stehr says.
"Just putting a motion forward is nothing. We've seen these motions before, and the response we got was, 'Well, it's a provincial [or a] federal problem.' Well its not. It's a Toronto problem. Toronto people are dying, and the city should be sticking up for us."
Stehr and his group are going to do something themselves to raise awareness of the problem.
Beginning along Avenue Road, they're going to chain up a "ghost bike," a white, spray-painted clunker, as a visual reminder. They say they will do it each time a cyclist is killed on city streets.