Reportedly, as noted in a recent media article on commercial trucks and bicyclists sharing the streets in American municipalities, fewer motorists are dying in accidents presently than in prior years, although “the death tolls for pedestrians and bicyclists have held relatively steady” over the past 10 years.
That spells both good and bad news, obviously. On the one hand, the discernible downward trend in fatalities for drivers and their passengers in motor vehicles is certainly encouraging. On the other hand, though, it is manifestly discouraging that a similar downward tick isn’t on clear display for bike riders and people getting around on foot.
And for walkers and bicyclists, it could get worse, note some safety experts.
The reason: Increasingly more people are avidly taking to their bikes for urban transportation, with more people walking to and from work, as well. That resurgence in healthy and economical movement is coinciding with more trucks plying city streets as well.
That synergy spells a recipe for disaster, resulting in a most literal collision course between trucks on the one hand and bicyclists and pedestrians on the other.
As noted in the aforementioned article, “Safety advocates would like to see a range of reforms.” Those centrally include things like size restrictions on trucks operating on city streets, more stringent training for truckers plying urban thoroughfares, and road design that more effectively integrates cars, trucks, bikers and walkers. There is also a growing call for so-called “side guards” that would preclude bikers and walkers from falling under the wheels of trucks.
Although there is no firm consensus on everything that needs to be done, there is a strong clarion call for safety-promoting action.
The need for that is great. According to one estimate, the number of work commuters across the country who travel by bicycle increased by more than 60 percent between 2000 and 2013.