CITY HALL — Large trucks working on big projects for the city would have to have side guards installed to prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from being run over by the truck’s rear wheels under a measure endorsed Tuesday by a City Council committee.
Trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds working on projects worth more than $2 million would have to start installing side guards and convex mirrors in January and finish within three years under a measure backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The equipment will save lives, since crashes involving large trucks are more deadly than any other kind of crash, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld told the council's Committee on Budget and Government Operations.
Thirty-three people have died in Chicago since 2010 in crashes involving large trucks, Scheinfeld said.
If the tractor-trailer truck that struck Elizabeth Peralta-Luna and her two children near 43rd Street and Ashland Avenue in March 2015 had a side guard, the family may not have been dragged under the massive truck's wheels and killed, Scheinfeld said.
The measure, which is expected to be approved by the City Council Wednesday, will also direct Fleet and Facilities Management Commissioner David Reynolds to begin installing the safety measures on city trucks.
The side guards cost about $3,100 per truck to install and the convex mirrors cost about $200, officials said. City officials promised aldermen that small businesses will be given ample time to pay for the new equipment.
In all, the safety equipment will be installed on 1,700 city vehicles, for a total of $5 million, officials said. The cost will be covered by the city's annual operating and maintenance budget, officials said.
In September, the Active Transportation Alliance told city officials there was "an urgent need to address the disproportionate threat these large vehicles pose to people biking and walking" after six bicyclists died after being struck by commercial vehicles.
Kyle Whitehead, the alliance's government relations director, said Thursday he was pleased with the ordinance, although it won't fully be in place until January 2021.
City officials have vowed to eliminate death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor's Vision Zero campaign.