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Boston City Council to take up truck side guard ordinance

Drivers who don't comply face a fine of $100 for the first offense and potential termination of their city contract.

These side guards may become permanent on all Boston city trucks. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro These side guards may become permanent on all Boston city trucks. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

The Boston City Council on Wednesday will convene to discuss a first-in-the-nation initiative that would help protect pedestrians and cyclists against the deadly risk of falling under large trucks and getting caught under their massive wheels.

The truck side guardordinance, filed by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh in partnership with City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, requires all large city trucks to be equipped with safety side guards and calls for blind-spot awareness decals and specialized convex and cross-over mirrors so drivers can have a better view.

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"After over a year of testing several different kinds of side guards in the field on 16 vehicles, data from studies and our own field observances have led to this ordinance," Walsh wrote in a letter to the Council.

Drivers who don't comply face a fine of $100 for the first offense and potential termination of their city contract.

Boston EMS responded to over 750 pedestrian traffic incidents in 2013. According to the 2013 Boston Cycling Safety Report, there were 1,432 confirmed cyclists crash incidents between 2010 and 2012.

Just last month, a Hubway cyclist was struck by a city garbage truck in the South End. Fortunately the vehicle was outfitted with the safety guards, and the man survived.

“This is a public health issue and it's time for the city to lead by example,” Pressley said. “We cannot promote walking and cycling as healthy and environmentally-friendly transit methods until everyone feels safe using our city’s streets."

The council will not vote on the ordinance on Wednesday, but are expected assign the issue to a committee for a hearing.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 
 
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