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October 1st, 2014

Pedestrian and cyclist safety: Ottawa needs to act now to save lives

Side guards should become mandatory for heavy goods vehicles immediately

NDP Transport critic Hoang Mai (Brossard-La Prairie) is putting the heat on the Conservatives to make installing side guards mandatory on heavy vehicles.

“This is a simple and effective measure that can save lives,” said Mai.

The coroner’s report on the death of cyclist Mathilde Blais, who was struck by a tractor semi-trailer, was a reminder of the importance of these side guards, which can prevent pedestrians and cyclists from being pulled under vehicles.

“We can’t wait for the next tragic accident in order to take action,” said Mai. “The Conservatives should act by adopting my bill and making it a priority.”

Last spring, Mai tabled a private member’s bill, C-603, aiming to address this issue. The NDP has spent the last eight years trying to include the installation of these side guards in the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act, but has been met with indifference from the Conservative government.

For this call for action, Hoang Mai was joined by Jeannette Holman-Price, whose daughter Jessica was killed in 2005 after being struck by a snowplough. Holman-Price has been fighting ever since to make truck side guards mandatory.

“The federal government has absolutely no reason to refuse to make these side guards mandatory,” said Holman-Price. “Studies have already shown beyond any doubt the effectiveness of this measure to prevent death or serious injury. Some municipalities have begun using them. Now it is time for federal action to protect all Canadians. This needs to be a federal law to ensure that everybody has this necessary protection against avoidable injuries and fatalities.”

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