By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – Brianna Arnold says her family felt helpless after her 54-year-old uncle was hit by a car in Worcester and killed. Now exactly one week later, she is hoping her voice will make the streets safer for bicyclists. “Any safety laws can help,” she said. “Extra space, bike lanes, anything like that. I mean, we know he had the light on the back of his bike, so he was doing the right thing.”

Arnold was among many who testified in a legislative hearing on Beacon Hill to discuss proposed bicycle safety laws. Also there, Dustin Weigl, whose brother Christopher Weigle was killed when the 23-year-old Boston University graduate student was hit by a truck on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston more than three years ago. “It almost feels like it’s still not real. It’s very hard to describe.”

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He’s pushing for a law requiring side guards on trucks. The City of Boston has already installed them on city trucks. Side guards are designed to block bicycles from being pulled under the wheels, in the event of a collision. That’s what happened to Christopher Weigl. “This is an easy enough thing to do, and it’s well worth the time and effort for it.”

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Boston Public Works truck with side guards (WBZ-TV)

Boston Public Works truck with side guards (WBZ-TV)

Another proposed bill would prohibit vehicles from stopping or parking in marked bike lanes. Also, lawmakers are talking about requiring vehicles to stay at least three feet away from bicycles whenever passing. It’s unclear when the package of bills will go up for a vote.

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Arnold hopes her voice adds to the urgency. “More education and awareness could save many lives, one of which could’ve been my uncle.”

Christina Hager