Cambridge City Councillor Dennis Carlone has introduced a policy order that looks to expand upon the city's pilot program of installing protective "side guards" on various city-owned trucks.
"Just this week, Cambridge Police reported an accident involving a bicyclist and garbage truck in mid-Cambridge," Councillor Carlone said. "Fortunately, the cyclist's injuries were non-life-threatening, but the data shows that accidents involving trucks are quite serious, often fatal, and protective side guards can help make our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians alike."
According to bicycle advocacy groups, truck side guards "prevent pedestrians, cyclists and smaller motor vehicles from rolling or falling underneath the body of the truck." In the United Kingdom, legislation requiring side guards has already been credited with saving lives, and right now, the City of Boston is looking to enact legislation of its own.
To be sure, biking gets safer all the time in the City of Cambridge. As the city's Bicycle Safety Report shows, the more folks take to the streets on two-wheels, the fewer accidents are reported per miles traveled.
Nevertheless, accidents involving trucks seem to be the most likely to cause fatalities — at least according to recent data from the City of Boston. And like Boston, the City of Cambridge has also been exploring the idea of installing side guards on city-owned trucks — and with this order, Councillor Carlone is hoping side guards will be considered "more broadly across all city trucks."
Residents wishing to speak on this topic are welcome to attend Monday's city council meeting, which is being held at 5:30 pm in the CRLS Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway. You may sign up for public comment by calling the council office between 9 am and 3 pm on Monday — or just show up at CRLS and add your name to the list between 5:30 and 6 pm. Be sure to mention Policy Order #11. You may also email the entire city council at firstname.lastname@example.org (and be sure to copy the City Clerk, email@example.com, too).
For the full text of Policy Order #11, please see below...
ORDER #11 — SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
WHEREAS: It was reported this week that a bicyclist was injured in an accident involving a garbage truck at the corner of Inman and Harvard streets; and
WHEREAS: Last year, the City of Boston worked with researchers from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe Center in Kendall Square to identify effective mechanisms for deploying "truck side guards," devices that are designed to prevent pedestrians, cyclists and smaller motor vehicles from rolling or falling underneath the body of a truck; and
WHEREAS: Based on the results of a pilot program, the City of Boston is now considering an ordinance that would require any large, city-owned trucks purchased after July 1, or trucks contracted out by departments, to be equipped with safety rails running alongside the vehicles' midsections; and
WHEREAS: Also last year, the City of Cambridge introduced a pilot program for truck side guards on a rubbish packer, a large dump truck used in snow operations and a clam shell truck; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with all relevant City Staff to determine if efforts to implement truck side guards could be deployed more broadly across all city trucks; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back on this matter.