Ontario Chief Coroner Demands Mandatory Truck Sideguards to Reduce Cycling Deaths
TORONTO – NDP Transport Critic Olivia Chow urged the federal government to heed the report from Ontario’s Chief Coroner calling for federal legislation that would make sideguards mandatory on all heavy trucks.
“I welcome the Chief Coroner of Ontario’s recommendation that sideguards be made mandatory on heavy trucks,” said Chow, speaking at a press conference at the site where Jenna Morrison was tragically killed by a heavy truck last fall in Toronto.
“All we need now is a vote in support of Bill C-344 — federal legislation that will make the coroner’s recommendation a reality. The time to act is now.”
Sideguards are protective barriers mounted on trucks between their front and rear tires. They are designed to prevent cyclists or pedestrians from being dragged under the rear wheels.
Sideguards have been mandatory in Europe since 1989. They have been mandatory in St. John’s Newfoundland since 2010 and most recently, the Borough of St-Laurent in Quebec will be retrofitting their fleet of trucks. In Europe between 1995-2005, there was a decrease in cyclists’ deaths by 31% and pedestrians by 41%.
Karen MacNeil Hartmann and her son, Adam Hartmann, lost their husband and father, Ulrich T. Hartmann, in a truck-related accident in 2006. MacNeil Hartmann is a member of the grassroots group SafeTrucks which has been advocating for mandatory sideguard legislation.
“Sideguards, like seatbelts, save lives,” said MacNeil Hartmann. “My husband would be here today, and would have celebrated Father’s Day yesterday, had the heavy truck that he came in contact with on his bicycle been equipped with a sideguard. I call on the federal government to act on the Chief Coroner’s recommendation without delay.”
For additional information, please contact:
Susan Kwong, Office of Olivia Chow, 416-276-0928 or Allison Gifford, press secretary, (613)222-2035