HALIFAX – The Halifax Cycling Coalition is calling for the city to install protective side guards on all of its trucks, and the trucks of its contractors, after a female cyclist was killed after colliding with a propane truck Wednesday.
In a statement the coalition sent out Wednesday, they said they were “sad to hear that a woman was killed.”
“Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the woman who was killed,” the statement reads.
The coalition said this is the second collision in two years, and fourth in 10 years, that saw a cyclist killed as a result of being struck by a heavy truck. Because of this, they want to see the city of Halifax install protective side guards on their own trucks, as well as those of city contractors, that would prevent cyclists from being dragged under the vehicle after being struck.
“We need to work together to ensure that getting to work is not a life-and-death matter,” said board member Blair Barrington in the statement.
Side guards like the ones they’re proposing have been installed on large trucks in cities like Montreal and Boston, which have reduced the risk of death from a truck/cyclist collision by 61%. The city is studying the issue and option of implementing side guards.
“The city and province must increase the education provided to cyclists and drivers, improve the legal protections for vulnerable road users in the Motor Vehicle Act, and actually implement their oft-repeated plans to build lanes for people on bicycles,” the statement reads.
The cycling coalition brought up the side guards in last October, after a cyclist was killed in a collision with a truck in Dartmouth in May of 2014.
“We’re going to ask the city consider making it mandatory on HRM vehicles and any vehicles contracted out by the city,” Emily Macdonald with the coalition said in October of last year.
At the time, city spokesperson Jennifer Stairs said it was something for the city to consider.
“We don’t know how much it would cost or how successful these side guards would be on our own vehicles, we’re talking hundreds of vehicles in our fleet so we’re open to doing more research on that,” Stairs said.
In addition to the side guards, the Halifax Cycling Coalition has proposed a 37-kilometre pilot of a protected bike lane network for Halifax.
“Today our thoughts are with the woman’s family. Tomorrow we will resume our work to make Halifax a safer place to ride a bicycle,” the statement reads.