The Chainlink

It's not the majority, probably more like one or two that are vocal in expressing their opinions. Today I posted the article about the city adopting guards on city trucks to help protect cyclists. And I really thought this is a slam dunk. I just want a lot more of them. On all those construction vehicles for one. And box trucks. And flat bed trucks. I think every truck in our city should have these guards. Looking at last year, every cyclist death involved a commercial vehicle. I've said this out loud so many times because I cannot believe we didn't make a bigger deal about that. We should. 

And riding in the city, we all know that commercial vehicles tend to get too close to us when we ride in the bike lanes and you can easily and understandably get an uneasy feeling as they pass you when you are riding your bike. So, ok, I'll bite. WHY do (some) cyclists find installing guards on trucks unimportant and post a response to me that reads like this, "Why don't you just recommend riding your bike with caution when your around construction sites !! Hello !!"

Am I the only one that has smoke coming out of my ears when I read that? Yes, I know, as a cyclist it is important to ride with caution and I do that EVERY. DAY. I. RIDE. I think most of us do.

To give you context, here's an excerpt from the article I posted:

Large trucks working on big projects for the city would have to have side guards installed to prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from being run over by the truck’s rear wheels under a measure backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds working on projects worth more than $2 million would have to start installing side guards and convex mirrors in January and finish within three years, Emanuel announced.

"Chicago is using a data-driven approach to improve traffic safety, and the data shows we can save lives and prevent serious injuries by installing this type of safety equipment," Emanuel said in a statement that noted that after officials in the United Kingdom required the guards, the number of pedestrians killed in side-impact collisions with trucks dropped 20 percent while the number of fatal bicycle accidents dropped 61 percent.

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What a lot of truck drivers, and maybe some cyclists also, especially the newer ones, don't realize that a lot of bad things could happen to a cyclist when you come too close and pass with an open wheeled truck. There is little room for error with road space and conditions (potholes etc.) from the truck's 'rolling pins of death'. Sideguards on trucks are needed in this country for safety. Getting hit by the side of a car or SUV because of its shape you are less likely to be fatality crushed.

Perhaps someday we may become compelled to do what cyclists did in New Orleans a few years ago. They responded with a "die-in" demonstration to protest cycling deaths and conditions.

Also from the article; "Bike Houston also directs cyclists and friends of victims to Houston City Council public comment in an effort to "put a face with what's happening in the city," Payne says. "So if someone stands up and says, 'My best friend was killed and I'll never see him again,' that actually resonates with the elected officials. And when they say, 'You know, this person was riding in the bike lane and got run over by a truck' ... these are real people and real stories, so that's all very helpful."

I think those trucks should not only have guards, but camera systems to eliminate the gaping blind spots along the passenger side of their vehicles.  The systems don't even cost that much.

That would be a significant safety improvement.

People have been advocating for truck side guards for years to protect cars. I can happily accept it for bike safety too.

Bicycle riders are a very large, beautiful, diverse group. There's no shortage of assholes among us.

Most of the side guards on semi-tractor trailers and trucks are installed for aerodynamics as a fuel-saving measure. It seems to me that the industry responds more readily to economic pressures than arguments for life-saving measures. That's sad but seems true.

Proposals for a nation-wide federal regulation (it would have to be federal,) may well be more effectively presented as a money saver rather than a life saver. Economics are usually given more consideration than lives. But getting any federal regulations passed given the current political climate is very unlikely.

From what I've seen on this site, a lot of cyclists are not concerned about biking other than riding and will not become an advocate for something that they enjoy in many ways. 

I've seen fierce battles and complaints about minor inconveniences that they encounter on their ride, however they will not advocate for increasing,creating and improving bicycle infrastructure, changing traffic laws (i.e. The Idaho Stop), give C.D.O.T. authority to determine where bicycling infrastructure is built and remove from those powers from the alderwoman/man of Chicago.

So, in response to your question "WHY do (some) cyclists find installing guards on trucks unimportant.....?

I don't know! 

Are there any others who would care to respond? What concerns you regarding biking? Are you involved in advocating for biking?

Thank you Waymond! I hope others chime in. I don't know either. We really all should think of ourselves as advocates on two-wheels. We are our own best friends and supporters. 

In cycling, as in so many other aspects of our lives, most people just go along and don't really dive in to do serious work to make things better, even when some of that work is relatively easy.

That's not going to stop me from trying to get the word out and get more people involved.

I can make this easy.

The reason some cyclists think installing side guards is stupid and useless is because it is stupid and useless.

I have worked around large trucks most o f my life and have spent time driving them in urban environments and I want to share a very important fact with all of you that for some reason nobody seems to know.

If you are on the right side of a large truck in front of its rear wheels YOU WILL DIE.

Maybe not this time but eventually.


There is no guard or addition to a truck that will prevent this.

Perhaps some may disagree with you. 

"Volpe’s review of side guard design and crash outcomes in countries requiring these safety devices indicates that the safety effectiveness of sideguards is well established. For example, following a mandate requiring truck side guards in the United Kingdom, studies showed that there was a 61 percent drop in cyclist fatalities and a 20 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities related to side-impact collisions with trucks."

The engineer in me wants to know what these guards look like and how they are intended to function. Has anyone seen the technical specs?



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