Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City will begin retrofitting more than 200 City trucks with side guards in 2015 as part of its Vision Zero program. Side guards are rails between the front and rear wheels of a truck that can protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists from being caught under the vehicle in case of a collision with the side of a truck. In New York City trucks are only 3.6 percent of vehicles on the road, but collisions with trucks account for 12.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 32 percent of bicyclist fatalities.
The expansion to 240 vehicles will make New York City the largest municipal fleet in the nation to install truck side guards. The devices have also been implemented on varying scales Boston, Somerville, and Newton, Massachusetts and in Portland, Oregon. In the United Kingdom, widespread adoption of side guards is credited with reducing fatalities and severe injuries in side impacts by 61 percent for bicyclists and 20 percent for pedestrians. It was reported in the last issue of the Juniper Berry that there were 8 accidents involving sanitation vehicles and pedestrians over the last 8 years within the boundaries of Community Board 5.