Recent crash deaths have shaken the city’s cycling community to the core, and it may be time for lawmakers to start prioritizing ways to protect them, according to experts like our own Jay Stefani.
As reported by the Chicago Reader, four cyclists have recently been killed in incidents related to “right-hook” crashes that involve large trucks.
“The truck blocks your path, you’re stuck, and you fall under the massive vehicle. The rear wheels roll over your body, causing severe, likely fatal, injuries,” writes reporter John Greenfield, also editor at Streetsblog Chicago.
That sums up a nightmare scenario that has become increasingly problematic in big cities like Chicago, whose residents rely on bikes as a primary mode of transportation. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as Jay pointed out to Greenfield, specifically with regard to protective side guards—features installed on the sides of trucks that could potentially prevent these kinds of fatalities from happening at all.
From the article: “What makes the truck right-turn incidents all the more tragic is the refusal of lawmakers to require side guards,” [Stefani] said. “Sadly, to make them mandatory here, there needs to be a tipping point where enough people are fed up with the deaths.”
The U.S. continues to lag far behind European countries like the U.K., which have adopted stricter safety regulations and implemented the side guards that Jay mentions. Will Chicago’s City Council soon do the same? It seems obvious that they should.