In Europe, side guards are on every truck; they are even designed right into the body of them. In Canada, there have been calls from coroners to make them mandatory; the calls are ignored or refuted by the Minister of Transport.
Now, a new study of the efficacy of side guards has been cancelled by Transport Canada. According to the Globe and Mail's Renata D'Aliesio, it's because ". The transportation regulator contended there was no point in moving forward because it had found no research to show truck skirts could make streets safer." She continues:
But that’s not what the engineers found. A copy of the study’s first phase, obtained by The Globe and Mail through access-to-information legislation, reveals the National Research Council (NRC) reported promising findings from its initial analysis of side skirts. All three models tested prevented bicycles from sliding underneath a transport truck in a collision – a dangerous scenario that has wounded or killed scores of cyclists in Canada over the past decade.
The government spokesperson contradicts this, saying:
A decision was made not to proceed with the study because the department was unable to find any research indicating that a similar technology, specifically side guards, was effective at improving pedestrian and cyclist safety.
So what if there is British research that says side guards reduced the number of deaths by 61%. Transport Canada says "other factors" may have been in play.
So why did the government spike the study? Perhaps because of the opposition of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which objects to the cost. Perhaps the government agrees with commenters at the Globe, who say that bikes shouldn't be on the road in the first place. More in the Globe and Mail.