04/09/2013 11:24 EDT | Updated 06/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Olivia Chow Wants Side Guards Mandatory On Heavy Trucks In Canada


TORONTO - New Democrat MP Olivia Chow says Canada is a step closer to safer roads after an Ontario truck manufacturer agreed to put side guards on all its new vehicles.

But Chow says it's still not enough.

The NDP transportation critic has renewed her calls for the federal government to implement a private member's bill she introduced in the House of Commons to make side guards mandatory on heavy trucks in Canada.

It follows the deaths of several cyclists who died beneath the wheels of big trucks in Toronto and elsewhere.

Cambridge, Ont.-based Shu-Pak Equipment Inc. says it will now install the guards on all new trucks it manufactures.

Standing next to family members of a Toronto cyclist who was killed by a truck, Chow thanked Shu-Pak's president David Tanner for making the move voluntarily.

But she said many European countries made the side guards mandatory at least 30 years ago and it's time for Canada to catch up.

Karen McNeil Hartmann, whose husband Ulrich died in 2006, said she and her family believe side guards — which cover the spaces between a truck's huge wheels — might have saved her husband's life.

"We know that side guards save lives, mandatory or not," she said.

"While safety rails will not prevent all future accidents, we believe that it is an initiative that will save many future lives," added Tanner.

Chow said she has support from many safety groups, adding Ontario’s chief coroner recently recommended the federal government implement similar legislation "because it saves lives."

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Jack & Olivia: CBC and Real Life See Gallery