City of Vancouver to require side guards on its trucks

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The City of Vancouver will require side guards or lateral protection devices on all trucks owned or contracted by the municipality, following a unanimous council vote last week.

Municipal staff have been directed to report back with recommendations and a timeline for the work, a city spokesperson told, referring to the rules that will apply to about 400 city vehicles.

The move comes weeks after 28-year-old cyclist Agustin Beltran, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia, died after colliding with a turning dump truck.

side guard on European truck
Side guards are commonplace in European jurisdictions. (Photo: istock)

Side guards are protective barriers installed between two sets of wheels to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from going under the vehicle.

The British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) said the bylaw will only affect the city’s vehicles and those contractually obligated to do business with them.

BCTA president Dave Earle told that, although the motion does not affect commercial fleets, it is something to keep an eye on as it is standard in Europe and other jurisdictions.

The latest Vancouver motion, brought forward by councilors Rebecca Bligh and Christine Boyle, includes advocacy to the federal minister of transportation and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for side guard requirements.

Boyle said in the week that followed Beltran’s death, she heard from many residents how truck side guards save lives.

Transport Canada previously rejected a recommendation by Ontario’s chief coroner, which called for such guards to be mandated after reviewing the deaths of 129 cyclists in the province between 2006 and 2014. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities made a similar call in 2016, and Transport Canada responded with a report on various strategies available to protect vulnerable road users.

Vancouver council also directed staff to institute a review of traffic planning in areas where right hand turns intercept with bike lanes at intersections, to ensure that hazards and dangerous interactions between vehicles and cyclists are mitigated.

This story has been updated with comments from Vancouver city councilor Christine Boyle.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • Congratulations Vancouver!
    Although Transport Canada rejects their efficacy they have NEVER used a vehicle fitted with a sideguard in testing. So their effectively ignoring the science.
    In Canada Vancouver is joining St John’s, Halifax and Montreal in putting the protection of vulnerable road users as a top priority. I gifted a sideguard to a reluctant City of Ottawa dumptruck and after it was installed Mayor Watson wrote to TC in support. In the US sideguards have taken on momentum cities are coming inside faster than I can keep up.

    New York City was first now St John’s and soon Montreal have included in tenders that your entire fleet must have sideguards in order for you to meet tender requirement to subcontract for their city. Ladies and Gentlemen sideguards are the future.

    To your readers, drivers and owners alike, sideguards save lives. Proven! They cost less than a spare tire.

    I’ve spoken to drivers and owners who have experience with sideguards and they can tell you the comfort they have knowing they have that extra protection should a pedestrian get too close. From my first public appearance asking for sideguards to be grandfathered into legislation I have had the total support of a driver and his family who experienced the horror first hand when young Zachary wrote his bicycle under the side of his unprotected truck.

    I’m happy to discuss or debate the topic with any and all. If I don’t have the definitive answer at my fingertips I can get the facts to any question regarding their design, price, efficiency and I have one in my garage that can be fitted to a truck or trailer and cut to size for a smaller truck.

    Please give me the chance to convince you.