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.

Full article:

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Irvin, if you Google, truck side guards - technical specifications, there are a bunch of pdf files available.

Great video.  It is important to note that what most people see on semi-trailers are aerodynamic skirts, which are not side guards.

OK, thanks. Seems perfectly reasonable. I don't know why anyone would be against them "technically". Folks who are ideologically opposed to public spending or safety regulations in general might be opposed.

I am definitely opposed to people using the word "hello" as a sentence and specifically when used to punctuate an argument as if they are declaring victory.


Related question: if side guards are effective, then why aren't truck companies putting them on voluntarily?  Why do we need regulations to force them to do so?  

If the cost of a human life, and the infrequency of accidents, means that they'd be spending way more for side guard implementation than they'd be paying out in liability for not having them, then maybe the status quo makes sense for society at large.

Should Chicago have a bike helmet regulation?   After all, when a helmetless rider gets an injury that could have been prevented or reduced with a helmet, we're all paying for it.

One problem is that the value of a human cycling life in Chicago appears to be about 50 cents, based on the rulings I see from the judges.



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