The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s plan to make city trucks safer has been advanced in the Chicago City Council. Chicago lawyer, Peter Zneimer observes that many fatal bike accidents that have occurred in the last few years in Chicago have involved trucks. Visibility for bicyclist riding in traffic is always a major problem even for people driving automobiles. The visibility of bicyclists is a much greater problem for truckers. Almost all of the bicyclist accident cases handled by the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer involve a motorist not seeing the bicyclist prior to the crash either due to distraction, lack of attention or the bicyclist was in a blind spot. Guarded bike lanes are the best solution but they are cost prohibitive to construct everywhere.
The Mayor’s proposes to require city trucks to install side guards, which cover the area between the front and rear wheels of a truck to make it harder for pedestrians or bicyclists to be caught under the wheels of the truck after a crash. The ordinance would also require trucks to have additional convex mirrors. The law would also mandate additional training for city employee truck drivers and contractors to improve safety awareness.
The one downside of the proposed law is that the ordinance would give the city almost ten years to make the changes on city trucks. Contractors who do business with the city would get four years to make the safety changes on their trucks.
The cost to the taxpayers would be about $400,000. per year which averages out to about $3,300 per vehicle, according to City Fleet and Facility Management Commissioner, David Reynolds. The Commissioner states that the goal is have the whole Chicago fleet outfitted in four year.
The plan is part of “Vision Zero” international movement to improve road safety. The project, which started in Sweden a decade ago, has also been adopted in many other European cities along with many American cities such as, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco.
The law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer applaud the initiative and encourage further initiatives to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in the city of Chicago.