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Vancouver council makes side guards mandatory for city-owned heavy trucks after death of cyclist

Agustín Beltrán was killed in Yaletown by a dump truck driver

Vancouver’s city council passed a motion that will make all heavy trucks that are owned by the city to have side guards. The mandate was created following the news that 28-year-old Agustín Beltrán was killed by a dump truck driver in the Yaletown neighbourhood. The PhD student was riding in a bike lane when a dump truck driver hit him when he was turning.

Side guards create a protective barrier between the two wheels on a trailer or a heavy truck. They are created to stop cyclists or pedestrians from falling under a truck in the event of a collision.

The motion was a result of Beltrán’s partner and cousin who begged the city to mandate guards to protect vulnerable road-users.

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Beltrán’s cousin, Rodrigo Alessio, went to the meeting to express his concern over the tragedy, and to push for side guards to prevent it from happening again.

“My cousin Agustín tragically lost his life while riding his bicycle from his apartment to Stanley Park,” Alessio said. “Riding a bicycle in the city shouldn’t be life-threatening.”

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“I lost my partner and best friend while doing what he loved most,” Renata Rovelo Velasquez said . “We biked everywhere, to work, to the supermarket, to parties.”

Rovelo Velasquez was there when her partner died, saying she saw the collision from just a few metres away.

“I know that Agustín’s life would have been saved if that truck had had side guards,” she added. “It is also possible that other things would have saved his life: bicycle traffic signals, clear regulations on the right of way and not allowing trucks inside the downtown area.”