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City trucks will have sideguards to reduce pedestrian, bicyclist deaths

The mayor's office said 240 city trucks will get guardrails to help prevent passengerSpencer Platt/Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his Vision Zero plan want to take a bite out of the disproportionately high number of New York pedestrians and bicyclists being killed by trucks.

De Blasio announced Monday that 240 city trucks, including about 100 garbage trucks, will be fitted with sideguard rails that protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists from being pinned under a vehicle during a collision.

More than 250 people are killed in traffic crashes in New York City every year, according to the city. Trucks make up just 3.6 percent of all vehicles on the road in New York City, but are responsible for 12.3 percent of pedestrian and 32 percent of bicyclist fatalities, the mayor’s office said.

Bicycling and pedestrian advocacy group Transportation Alternatives says trucks with more than six wheels have killed 31 people since 2012, and injured 1,161 pedestrians and cyclists.

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The guards will cost $3,000 each, and will be installed on trucks from city agencies including parks, consumer affairs and environmental protection. The guards will not be put on street sweepers, fire engines or trucks that weigh less than 10,000 pounds, the mayor’s office said.

“We look forward to seeing this life-saving change apply to all large vehicles in the city’s fleet – and to all private haulers with city contracts,” Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives, wrote in an e-mail to Metro.

White said the side guards are a “secondary line of defense.” The best way to reduce traffic deaths in the city is to reconfigure dangerous city streets to include bikes lanes and space for pedestrians, he said.

 
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