A new innovation in the trucking industry has been gaining a lot of media attention recently. The product is called a side underride guard, and it shows great promise of drastically reducing injuries and fatalities due to side collisions with trucks.
What is an underride guard?
Imagine driving down the freeway next to a semi-tractor trailer. The ground clearance on the vehicle is immense – almost as high as a compact car. If your car skids on a patch of ice and swerves into the truck beside you, you’ll likely be sent underneath the chassis – which greatly increases your likelihood of serious injury or death.
An underride guard is a sturdy, metal band that extends from the base of the trailer down to just above the ground. In the event of a side-impact collision, it helps to prevent the other driver from going under the truck.
Impact on bicyclists
When bicyclists collide with large trucks, the result is almost always fatal. In the U.S., half of all bicyclists who were killed in collisions with trucks hit the vehicle from the side. Many policy makers believe that requiring all large trucks to install sideguards could greatly reduce deadly collisions with bicycles.
The United Kingdom recently passed a truck sideguard mandate. Since its adoption, bicycle-truck collision fatalities have gone down 61%. In the U.S., Congress introduced a bill that would have required truck sideguards across the country – but it was never passed. However, some cities have taken matters into their own hands. Boston became the first U.S. city to implement a truck sideguard ordinance. If other cities and states follow suit, it could prevent bicyclist fatalities on a large scale.