Because fenders, bumpers, and cowcatchers have been ubiquitous throughout our industrial history they are regularly proposed as safety intervention devices for runover accidents that occur with low speed industrial and construction vehicles. It has been alleged variously that they will protect pedestrians through the mechanisms of deflection, shielding, and tactile feedback. These notions are examined using straddle cranes, road grinders, and road wideners under low speed scenarios (4 mph). Anthropomorphic dummies and volunteers are used to simulate what actually happens to people when hit by various combinations of ground clearance and runover protection. People think they are safe if a slow moving vehicle with a bumper, fender, or cowcatcher hits them because they expect to either bounce off of it or be moved out of the way. However, the tests in this paper show that these protection devices actually entrap people; and if the vehicle continues moving, the vehicle rolls right over them. Protection devices with only a few inches of clearance between the device and the ground may snare a person’s shoe without entrapping his leg, but his hands and arms are not prevented from being entrapped and then run over.

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