Truck SIDE GUARDS: Let’s get the debate out in the open. Somebody’s life is depending on it. #VRU

The question was brought to my attention as to whether truck side guards, if they were strong enough to prevent passenger vehicle underride (i.e., probable death or severe injury), would be more harmful to pedestrians and cyclists (Vulnerable Road Users–VRU).

I didn’t know. So I asked the experts with whom I am acquainted, and this is what I found out:

  • Hi MarianneWell-designed rear, side, front underride protection on trucks, will not make it more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, but potentially make it safer for peds and cyclists.

    This is discussed in my truck report of 1993 and PhD,  and our 2014 paper on side underrun barriers. Side Underrun Barriers Rechnitzer & Grzetieta

    Of course, that is the point – to have performance criteria for these systems – front and side –  that include peds and cyclists.


     Dr George Rechnitzer, Forensic and Safety Engineering
     Victoria, Australia, Website:

    Adjunct Assoc. Professor George Rechnitzer, Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Web:

  • The other feedback, which I received from a crash reconstructionist friend who sees the aftermath of lots of crashes firsthand, was more short and to the point: “I think that stronger side skirts will save lives no matter what vehicle is in play. Would you, as a cyclist, rather bump your head on a resilient skirt (or a flexible one like mine for that matter) or slide underneath a trailer and end up looking like a pancake?”

Goodness, I sure hope that we can help shed light on issues such as these at the Underride Roundtable on May 5, 2016. Delays resulting from endless debate and/or stalling on problem-solving has already led to too many needless and preventable deaths.

Underride guard design by Aaron Kiefer 011

Aaron Kiefer’s Innovative Side/Rear Underride Guard

Hopefully, Coming Soon To A Road Near You!

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