Harvard Announces Truck Safety Initiative

{shortcode-11eaa3ec443c57fde1bbb682dd9f6092e3c5b483}Harvard will install side guards on large trucks to increase cyclist and pedestrian safety, according to a University announcement Wednesday. The guards will be installed on both Harvard-owned trucks as well as those owned by outside vendors.

Without side guards, bikers and pedestrians can end up in the space between the front and rear wheels of a truck during a side collision before being swept beneath the rear wheels. Side guards prevent this from happening by covering this exposed space.

Harvard’s Office for Sustainability led the initiative in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center and other University departments. The program was developed over the past year to align with the Volpe Side Guard Standard, which provides technical specifications for the guards depending on the size of the vehicle.

In the past six years, 10 of 16 bicyclist deaths in the Boston and Cambridge area have involved large trucks. According to Volpe, the national side guard mandate in the United Kingdom decreased cyclist fatalities initiated by a side collision with a large truck by 61 percent and decreased pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent.

Harvard is the second higher education institution in the United States to install side guards on large vehicles. The University of Washington implemented a similar program in 2015.

— Staff writer Yasmin Luthra can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @YasminLuthra.


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