Every time someone gets sucked under the rear wheels of a turning truck, we ask "why aren't side guards required?" The answer in Canada is that they are too expensive. Using Europe as an example doesn't work because well, it's Europe and they think differently about cycling and pedestrians. But China?
In Hunan, China, you see a lot of things that make you wonder about attitudes toward safety; never mind helmets or talking on cellphones while driving, how about this common sight, or people driving the wrong way against traffic, driving on the sidewalk, or never, ever giving right of way to a pedestrian.
But every dump truck, every cement mixer, every transport truck has side guards, often painted red and white for extra visibility. They are the law.
It really isn't such a big deal. It's time to stop asking every time a truck squishes a cyclist whether the victim had a helmet on, and start asking whether the truck had side guards. That's the safety device that would make a serious difference, and if China can do it, why can't North America?