Halifax cyclists disappointed city staff reject 'life-saving' equipment
Cycling Coalition hopes municipal transportation committee pushes ahead with idea
The Halifax Cycling Coalition is disappointed Halifax municipal staff have rejected a proposal to phase in side guards on city owned and contracted trucks.
Side guards cover the gap between the front and back wheels, preventing cyclists or pedestrians from falling in between and being hurt or killed by the back wheel.
"It's a proven piece of life-saving equipment," said Ben Wedge, a spokesperson for the Cycling Coalition.
He hopes councillors reject the staff recommendation when the topic comes up for debate at Thursday's transportation committee meeting.
"The [city staff] looked at one report from Transport Canada and that report was an outlier," Wedge said. "We had the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the U.K. Ministry of Transportation and this legislation that requires side guards on trucks is common in Europe and Japan."
It costs between $1,500 and $4,000 to install a side guard; the city has 100 vehicles that would need one.
The Cycling Coalition says the guard might have made a difference in the 2014 cycling death of Johanna Dean, who was hit by a truck.
They also point to the case of Betty Foston, who had both legs amputated when she was run over by a recycling truck in Dartmouth.
Foston is 85 and a great-grandmother. She isn't sure if truck guards would have helped her, but she does believe anything that improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists is a good thing.
"My life has been changed, I remember everything. They [her legs] were squashed so bad, they thought they would be able to keep one, but they had to take two," she said from her Dartmouth apartment.
Despite the cost of side guards, Foston says safety should be the top concern.
"Anything would be a good thing, better than what they got. You just don't know what could happen to somebody else," she said.
Side guards are being phased in on trucks in Boston and Montreal, and New York City is starting a pilot project.