Whenever someone gets killed by a big truck in Toronto where I live, we all start screaming for sideguards on trucks and the city people say “it’s a provincial jurisdiction.” Then the province says “It’s a federal responsibility.” And then the Feds say “It’s an international issue that has to be coordinated with the US.” So nothing every happens and people keep getting killed.
Meanwhile, over in London, the Mayor and the City government just pass a law saying that if you want to drive a truck (or as they call it, an HGV or heavy goods vehicle) in London it has to have sideguards and better mirrors that give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians. Boris Johnson is quoted in the Guardian:
We are ahead of any other part of the UK in closing the legal loopholes that allowed many HGVs to operate without basic safety equipment and I am delighted that, over the 18 months since we announced the safer lorry scheme, the vast majority of operators have got the message and fitted safety equipment to their vehicles in anticipation of the ban. We have, from this morning, begun vigorous enforcement action against the laggards. A very disproportionate share of cyclist deaths and serious injuries are caused by lorries and today’s scheme will undoubtedly save lives.
It’s not the perfect solution; many of London’s roads and roundabouts are still deathtraps. But at least they are doing something. And cities like New York and Boston are doing it without the entire North American Free Trade Agreement falling to pieces.
London is doing other things that other cities could do without causing world trade to collapse; most of the trucks doing the damage are hauling dirt and concrete for the construction industry. According to the Greater London Authority, they are going to control where the trucks can go:
Many of the most dangerous vehicles are construction-related. For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow – requiring, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre.
It’s time for Canadian municipalities to join this party.