New Democrat Transport Critic Demands Protective Barrier be Made Mandatory on Trucks
November 7, 2011
Dear Minister Lebel,
As another cyclist dies after colliding with a heavy truck, I am writing this letter to demand that Transport Canada finally make truck side guards mandatory.
Every year, numerous cyclists and pedestrians are victims in often-fatal collisions with heavy trucks. The survival rate could easily and significantly be improved by fitting trucks across the country with side guards, which would prevent vulnerable road users from being trapped in the space between a truck’s wheels.
According to your ministry’s own statistics, 20% of all bicycle fatalities in Canada involve large trucks. In urban areas, this number is closer to 40%. The Regional Coroner for Toronto first urged Transport Canada to look into the feasibility of fitting heavy trucks with side guards in 1998. Since this time, the Federal Government has failed to take any action on this request.
In 2006, I proposed a bill in the House of Commons to legislate the use of truck side guards, nationwide. I renewed my efforts in 2010 by introducing a Private Member’s Bill. Both times, this initiative received massive support. I received a tremendous amount of petitions, letters, emails and phone calls from people calling on the Government to make this bill law.
Your ministry responded by arguing that mandatory side guards would result in “decreased competitiveness for Canadian trucking companies.” The words and inaction of the Government on this issue, illustrates that the Conservative Government does not consider the safety of pedestrians and cyclists to be a priority.
The EU recognized the life-saving value of this measure already in 1989, making installment compulsory. Again,Canada is lagging behind our international peers.
Our citizens deserve a Federal Government that takes action and protects the lives of pedestrians and cyclists. Now is the time to stop the tragic loss of lives on our roads. All it takes is political will.
Olivia Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina
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