The city is planning to retrofit more than 200 vehicles with new side guard rails in an effort to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.

It's part of the mayor's Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths.

The pilot program involves not only the Sanitation Department, but also other city agencies like the Parks Department and the Department of Environmental Protection.

The guards will be installed between the front and rear wheels, and are designed to prevent a person from falling under the truck if they get hit.

The mayor's office says trucks make up less than 4 percent of vehicles in the city, but they account for 32 percent of bicycle deaths and 12 percent of pedestrian deaths in collisions.

"These trucks' side guards will protect pedestrians and bicyclists if there is an impact on the side of the vehicle and more or less, moving them away from the truck so there's no impact with the back wheel. This is very common technology in Europe and something we want to lead and help introduce here," says Keither Kerman, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

The truck guards have been credited with improving safety in other cities including Boston and Portland, Oregon.