Bike safety: make side guards mandatory on trucks

About 15 to 20 cyclists are killed on Ontario roads every year, but the tragic death of Jenna Morrison in Toronto on November 7th was particularly poignant. As she approached a west end intersection, this well-known community activist was run over by the rear wheels of a large truck that was turning right. A few days later, a rally of 400 cyclists paid their respects and vowed to press governments at all levels to improve safety for cyclists.

As a result, the Green Party of Ontario called on the provincial government to implement a 1998 Toronto coroners’ recommendation calling for side guards to be installed on all large trucks. (Side guards prevent upended cyclists from falling under moving trucks.) In the 20 years since the European Union mandated side guards on all heavy trucks, truck-bike fatalities have dropped significantly. Compared with saving lives, the $800-$1600 cost of side guards is small and for highway trucks the cost is recouped through lower fuel consumption.  

Sign the Petition!

Please sign our petition to show your support for mandatory side guards on Ontario’s trucks.  Every time we reach 500 signatures, we will print and deliver the petition with those signatures to the new Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli.

You can also write to the Hon. Bob Chiarelli asking him to make side guards on trucks mandatory. A copy of the letter I sent the minister can be found here and may be used as a sample to send to the minister at the address below.

The Honourable Bob Chiarelli
Minister of Transportation
3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8

With 80% of Ontarians living in urban areas, we believe that the Ministry of Transportation has an obligation to improve the safety of growing numbers of cyclists, and recognize that cycling and walking are important forms of transportation. To that end, the Green Party is calling for 1% of the provincial transportation budget to be dedicated to cycling infrastructure, with another 1% for pedestrian infrastructure. (1% of the 2011 budget equalled $68 million.) Moreover, the Share the Road Cycling Coalition has noted that the province already collects $20 million in HST in annual sales of bikes, bike parts and products.  

On the federal level, NDP MP Olivia Chow recently reintroduced a motion calling for the federal government to mandate side guards on all trucks.  Some municipal governments are considering similar regulations.  To learn more, visit

Please also take the time to watch my video blog on cycling safety by clicking here.

Tim Grant
Transportation Critic

Photo credit: Dyan Marie


Bob Chiarelli’s Feb. 15/12 Response

See Bob Chiarelli’s response in the attachment below.