On May 27, 2015 the New York City Council passed a bill mandating all heavy-duty city and private garbage trucks install side guards designed to prevent people from getting caught underneath trucks. These side guards would have to be installed on about 8,000 city and private sanitation trucks by 2024.
“Side guards save lives,” said Councilman Corey Johnson, who sponsored the bill. “You could be pulled between the vehicle’s wheels and it’s often fatal.” In February Mayor de Blasio committed to retrofitting more than 250 city trucks for three agencies with the side guards as part of a pilot program. The cost for this was around $3,000 each.
There is no one, repeat no one who is not interested in pedestrian safety. It is on that note that this bill has some issues. First and foremost the bill will not take full effect for almost a decade. If this is so vital to pedestrian safety, why wait half a generation to implement it? To be fair the typical shelf life for a garbage truck is about eight years. In that light the time could be seen as a grandfather clause. However if people’s lives are at stake the bill should be implemented immediately and companies should be given tax credits, refunds, vouchers, etc. to get in compliance. Speaking of pedestrians, notice how they never seem to stay in the walkway and are always encroaching in the street. Sometimes people are so busy talking or texting that they are completely oblivious to their surroundings. Pedestrian education is an essential part of their safety. If drivers get tickets for their transgressions shouldn’t pedestrians get tickets for theirs? Instead of just dropping three grand on guard rails and vision zero adds, how about some money for pedestrian safety education. This issue will become even more paramount if trucks have an extension sticking out. If the trucks are a bit wider and pedestrians remain in the street…..it is easy to see how this bill may not accomplish it’s task.