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Halifax begins installing side guards on city heavy duty vehicles

Newly installed side guards on Halifax heavy duty vehicles are pictured. Reynold Gregor/Global News

Halifax’s first two city vehicles with side guards were unveiled Tuesday, more than two years after cyclist Johanna Dean died when she was hit and killed by a truck on Windmill Road in Dartmouth.

READ MORE: ‘She was my best friend and my soulmate’: Cyclist remembered by twin sister

Regional Council approved installing side guards on the city’s heavy duty vehicles in June.

The guards prevent cyclists or pedestrians from falling under the vehicle if a collision occurs.

Dean’s family has been supportive of council’s initiative. The 30-year-old woman was heading northbound on Windmill Road when she was hit by a truck turning right onto Albro Lake Road in May 2014.

READ MORE: Side guards, bus passes and Sidney Crosby: highlights from Halifax Regional Council

Bruce Zvaniga, Halifax’s director of transportation and public works, said the guards are a matter of safety.

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“We’ve had experience where we’ve had unfortunate collisions where cyclists have been dragged under the rear wheels and have been killed,” said Zvaniga.

“The side guard is to protect against that type of collision. To push the cyclist away so they wouldn’t get run over by the rear wheels.”

The city’s entire fleet of large trucks with open wheel wells will have the guards put in at a cost of $2,500 each. New vehicles purchased or leased after April 1, 2017 weighing more than 4,500 kilograms will also see side guards installed.

Municipal staff originally recommended against putting side guards on vehicles in March, but councillors asked for the issue to be reexamined.

READ MORE: Staff report recommends against side guards on HRM vehicles despite safety concerns

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