The Ontario trucking industry can lead the way in road safety initiatives to reduce the number of collisions between trucks and vulnerable road users, says the Ontario Trucking Association in its comments toward the province’s CycleON Action Plan 2.0.
In a letter to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, OTA says it is working with the Canadian Trucking Alliance to ensure consistency in how safety issues involving trucks and cyclists and pedestrians are dealt with across Canada.
“As an industry which shares its workplace with the public, truckers willfully take on the added responsibility for meeting the highest road safety standards. This is part of doing business, says Geoff Wood, OTA’s senior VP, Policy.
OTA has submitted ideas it believes will help truck operators, cyclists and pedestrians to coexist in sharing the roadways more safely.”
OTA and CTA have identified four key areas where progress can be made in protecting vulnerable road users: education, planning, enforcement/regulatory change, and technology/equipment.
With the Ministry’s strong commitment to road safety we also feel that Ontario can lead the way in implementing these concepts and provide a pathway for other jurisdictions to follow suit.”
OTA recommends developing a national education and awareness campaign that emphasizes how to safely share of the road with trucks, cyclists and pedestrians.
Interactions between trucks, cyclists and pedestrians can be mitigated in large part by separation, increasing attention and improving visibility. Some ways this can be achieved is by updating Roadway Design Guidelines to require additional lighting, signage and advanced warnings in and around intersections with high pedestrian and (or) cyclist volumes; explore options for separate signal timing at intersections that may not be truck-friendly, with encroaching curbs and other features; determine the suitability for a user fee structure (alike to licence plates) for cyclists that would contribute to future separated lane development.
As a third layer to implementing an effective strategy for VRUs further enforcement and regulatory changes are needed, including enforcement of the current laws on all road users parties equally.
Vehicle technology can help reduce physical interactions between trucks and vulnerable road users, including newly-developed trailer side skirt technology (for enhanced GHG reduction), additional mirrors, blind spot warning, pedestrian detection, 360 view cameras, see-through passenger doors and a host of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Additional technologies on bicycles could also improve their visibility to truck drivers (e.g. head lights, reflectors and rear running lights).