The mayor of Boston has gotten behind a new truck ordinance that would require all city-contracted trucks to install truck side guards. This would mandate that all vehicles over 10,000 pounds have truck side guards to prevent bikers from being crushed under the truck’s wheels in the event of a wreck.
The new law also has other measures to improve truck safety as it applies to bikers, including convex mirrors, cross over mirrors and blind spot awareness stickers for all trucks.
According to the mayor, Marty Walsh, more Bostonians use a bike to get around, and there have been more wrecks between trucks and cyclists. He said that truck side guards are an inexpensive add on for trucks that can save lives.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also adopt this protocol, but it has not done so yet. The NTSB has noted that this law would not just protect bikers; it also would reduce the chance that a car could slide under a tractor trailer in a crash.
The NTSB stated in April that large truck side crashes were 15% of fatal two-vehicle crashes between trucks and cars in 2011.
Will the NTSB adopt this protocol? We hope so: We have seen too many truck crashes in our legal work in Virginia over the years involving preventable deaths, such as this $21 million settlement we secured for a child who suffered a severe brain injury when the car she was in was rear ended.
And regarding crashes between bikes/motorcycles and trucks, the truck always will win. In most cases, the truck driver didn’t see the biker, or wasn’t able to stop in time. Any safety feature that can save lives, we fully support. It is our hope that the NTSB will adopt this new protocol to save lives.