Home > News

Canadian cities have a cement truck problem

There have been many collisions lately

In many cities across Canada, there is a huge uptick of condos being built. That means a lot of construction. That means a lot of cement trucks. It also means bike lanes being blocked or rerouted to the road.

There’s been several fatal collisions recently when a cement truck driver has struck and killed cyclists or pedestrians.

The collisions have occurred all over the city, but the majority of them often take place close to construction sites.

Last night, a cement truck driver hit a street car. The truck was headed North on Parkside Drive when it T-boned the transit vehicle. The street car was more than halfway through the intersection at Howard Park Avenue.  It took place toward the end of the work day, and it’s unclear if the driver was finished for the day.

Fortunately, it seems that no one was injured. A collision between a cement truck driver and a vulnerable road user such as a cyclist, runner or pedestrian leaves little hope of survival.

This summer, an 18-year-old was killed when he was hit by a cement truck driver on Avenue Road in downtown Toronto. Both the cement truck and cyclist were in the curb lane travelling north on Avenue Road when the truck possibly didn’t give the cyclist enough room and he was struck.

Following last night’s collision between the cement truck driver and the street car, some were calling for a ban to the large vehicles. Most cement trucks carry approximately six cubic meters of concrete, so not only are they large, but they have limited blind spots. Driving them downtown can lead to precarious situations.

However, there were those who suggested that a ban on cement trucks is perhaps not so realistic, due to the many condos being built. Currently, anyone can drive a cement truck with a DZ air brake license; there is no further training required.

Additionally, the drivers have a time limit on how long they can take from the quarry to the site. One of the main reasons for rejecting a great number of truckloads of concrete every year is due to the strict accordance to the 90-minute time limit.  If the truck arrives past that timeframe, the concrete is rejected.

Of course a time limit for  concrete should not be a reason why a cement truck driver should drive recklessly and perhaps kill a cyclist or pedestrian, but it does raise questions about increased training.

There seems to be no end in sight with condos and construction in most cities in Canada, so that only means there will be a continued stream of cement trucks driving the streets. That also means that the risk to vulnerable road users will continue unless more is done.