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To Protect Boston Bicyclists, New Ordinance Would Require Truck Side Guards

Boston streets may become a bit safer for bicyclists thanks to a new ordinance proposed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

The ordinance, which Boston Magazine reports is up for a vote before the City Council on Wednesday, would require large trucks used by the city to have side guards, a technology designed to protect "vulnerable road users" from being caught under a vehicle's wheels in accidents.

According to data from the city, seven of the 11 Boston bicyclists killed by motor vehicles since 2010 died in crashes with either buses or trucks.

A 2010 study from Transport Canada found that side guards reduced deaths by 61 percent in the United Kingdom.

Walsh, in a letter to councilors, said the city last year conducted the "largest municipal pilot of truck side guards in the nation," testing various designs on 16 vehicles, resulting in the proposed ordinance.

In addition to side guards, the ordinance — which Walsh worked on with City Councilor Ayanna Pressley — requires that trucks be outfitted with "convex blindspot" and "cross-over" mirrors.

The ordinance applies to vehicles over 10,000 pounds contracted by the city. Failure to comply would result in a $100 fine for a first offense.

– Read the full ordinance (via Scribd):

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