Fresh calls for HGV safety measures as cyclist death toll rises - but are stickers and lenses enough?

Insurance company Aviva funds decals to warn cyclists of dangers of left-turning lorries

by Sarah Barth   November 10, 2013  

LGV-sign

In a week that has seen the death toll for cyclists hit by lorries rise to seven this year, two organisations have issued new calls for safer HGV measures.

Aviva, the insurance company, has announced that it will fund the cost to equip LGVs belonging to companies that insure with them with a decal to affix to the rear left-hand side of lorries warning cyclists about the danger of pulling along the inside of a truck, especially if it is turning left at a junction.

The company will also promote Enlightener Fresnel Lenses – a thin optical lens which is affixed to the inside of the passenger window to improve the driver’s view of the major blind-spot areas, directly below and behind cabs on LGVs.

Ian Ferguson, Chief Underwriting Officer, Intermediary Business, Aviva, said, “Whether inspired by Sir Bradley Wiggins or simply to commute to work and improve fitness, cycling has become a very popular activity on the UK’s roads.

“However, with the growing number of cyclists has come a similar rise in collisions.

“This is a critical road safety issue, and everyone has a role to play. As a leading insurer, we believe more can be done to improve cyclist safety, specifically involving their interaction with LGVs.

“By helping our fleet customers take a couple of small steps to make cyclists visible to drivers and alert cyclists about the dangers of riding along the inside of a lorry, we hope we can play our part in reversing the shocking increase in the number of cyclists killed or suffering life-changing injuries.”

In London over the last 4 years, LGVs have been involved in more than half of the cyclist fatalities, while accounting for less than 5% of traffic.

London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, CBE, said, “I welcome Aviva Insurance taking these positive steps, which will help to make cycling even safer on London and the UK’s roads.

“The number of people cycling in London continues to grow and we’re working closely with the freight and construction industries to further improve the safety standards of lorries on the capital’s streets. 

“Through providing these vehicles with the tools to help both drivers and cyclists be more aware of each other, we can further reduce the risks of collision in London, across the UK and Europe as a whole.”

Gordon Telling, Director of Policy at Sustainable Freight Solutions, said of the initiative, "Too often, cyclists inadvertently find themselves in danger because of their lack of understanding about how large vehicles move when they are turning.

“This combination of measures will both help cyclists to understand the danger zones around large vehicles and help drivers to see those cyclists and avoid them."

Also this week, the company Smart Witness, which manufactures vehicle CCTV, has called for side, front and rear CCTV cameras to be made compulsory for all lorries - a perhaps unsurprising commercial move.

Simon Marsh, a spokesman for Smart Witness told Motor Trades Insight: “The number of tragic deaths can be reduced significantly if lorries, coaches and construction trucks are fitted with safety cameras that clearly show HGV drivers if cyclists or other road users are nearby.

“Long vehicles often have several blind spots and wing mirrors are simply not effective enough for the driver to see what is on his inside or outside, which is especially important if the driver is about to make a turn.

“We have found that the haulage firms who have installed the Smart Witness video cameras have seen a significant reduction in accidents. Our system of cameras fitted around the lorry or coach give the driver a much better view of both the left and right-hand sides of his vehicle and can show if vehicles are directly behind as well.”

Just this week we reported the death of Brian Holt, killed when he was hit by a tipper lorry on London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 in Mile End.

Mr Holt, a married father, was described by colleagues at Mile End Hospital, where he worked as a porter, as a “wonderful man who would be sadly missed”.

The collision happened at the junction of Mile End Road and Bancroft Road at aboyut 4:50 on Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses said the lorry struck Mr Holt after pulling away from traffic lights at the junction.

The Metropolitan police believe that the lorry was not turning at the time of the collision.

26 user comments

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Anyone know where I can get a don't overtake and left hook me sticker?

posted by bendertherobot [493 posts]
10th November 2013 - 13:37

27 Likes

The sad fact is that there are no blind spots on modern HGVs. Since 2009, all HGVs registered after 2000 have to be fitted with 'blind spot' mirrors - http://www.newlegislationtruckmirrors.com/downloads/leaflet_en.pdf
No one seems to want to admit that drivers fail to check all their mirrors. Stickers and fresnel will make little difference to the driver who sets off from the lights without checking that a cyclists has arrived in front of him. How would a driver fail to notice this? Well I see plenty using the time at traffic lights to do paperwork, check notes, pour coffee etc.
I drive an HGV in cyclist rich areas almost daily. They don't appear out of thin air! Any driver watching his mirrors whilst waiting at lights will see them all arrive. Taking a left turn can result in cyclists ignoring your signal in order to get to the ASL so a driver needs to be vigilant to this.
A bit idealistic you may think? Well I am certain that most drivers who actually experience road cycling are more aware and safer around cyclists. All vocational drivers now have to undertake 7 hours of training every year (or 35hrs every 5 years). There are cycle awareness modules available towards this compulsory qualification. It seems to me that such a module should be compulsory for all vocational drivers.
Unfortunately, each time such tragic events happen I hear the same old solutions being dragged out often by people with no experience of driving HGVs or even cycling. The driver in the cab is the only person who can prevent these events, start there!

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
10th November 2013 - 15:11

25 Likes

hexhome wrote:
The sad fact is that there are no blind spots on modern HGVs.

If you do hold an LGV licence, I'm assuming that it's only a "C", rather than a "C+E". Once the unit of an artic starts turning, there is a massive blind spot on both sides of the trailer. you will also no doubt agree that a driver can't be looking at every mirror simultaneously. And of course, if you drive for a living, you will be aware that not every driver, coming towards the end of a 15 hour shift after as little as a 9 hour reduced rest period betweeen shifts (shocking when you think about it), will be as alert as they could be. You will also be aware that, at night, non road specific cycle lights (and HID lights on cars) can turn every mirror into a blind spot, particularly in the rain. And, finally, you will know, rightly or wrongly, that many trucks will have dirty, defective, or missing mirrors.

As a fellow HGV driver, I'm sure you will agree that the safest place for cyclists to be is behind a truck, not along side it or in front of it.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
10th November 2013 - 16:24

22 Likes

I see these stickers on HGV's all the time, but it only takes an unobservant minority to render them useless, and I wonder if cyclists fully understand the level of risk of not being seen along with the consequences. At a glance even the sticker depicted above could look like an order rather than a helpful safety warning, some cyclists may not understand the history and reasoning behind it.

Basically I don't think funding some stickers will particularly change anything.

posted by kie7077 [662 posts]
10th November 2013 - 16:53

13 Likes

We need some hard hitting public advertising (like the ones aimed at schoolkids who text and walk into road) basically scaring cyclists to stay the hell away from HGV and tippers. Until we get physically segregated roads we need to keep vulnerable road users away from heavy vehicles and the only people who can do this are the cyclists themselves. Every day riding in London I see cyclists squeezing up inside of HGV and bus Sad

posted by hampstead_bandit [364 posts]
10th November 2013 - 18:15

15 Likes

hexhome wrote:
The driver in the cab is the only person who can prevent these events, start there!

Sounds like a very good idea.

posted by jacknorell [880 posts]
10th November 2013 - 18:46

12 Likes

Neil753 wrote:
And, finally, you will know, rightly or wrongly, that many trucks will have dirty, defective, or missing mirrors.

If that safety equipment is dirty, defective, or missing, is the vehicle still road worthy?

If it remains road legal, there's a massive legal problem. Would need fixing.

And if the equipment is allowed to be used in that condition, there should be strict liability for the haulage company AND whichever company contracted it.

posted by jacknorell [880 posts]
10th November 2013 - 18:48

16 Likes

hampstead_bandit wrote:
Until we get physically segregated roads we need to keep vulnerable road users away from heavy vehicles and the only people who can do this are the cyclists themselves. Every day riding in London I see cyclists squeezing up inside of HGV and bus Sad

Sometimes the problem IS segregation: using an on-kerb cycle track allows a lorry to come up alongside cyclists at a junction rather than remaining behind cyclists who have arrived at the junction first. Putting sticks on lorries telling cyclists not to go where the cycle infrastructure puts them is contradictory, at best - murderous at worst.

But in general:

If I've got a HGV in front of me, that's generally where I'll leave it. I'll only overtake (not on the inside) if I'm absolutely sure it is stuck fast in stationary traffic and still will be once I'm past it. Your logic applies, my instinct for self-preservation kicks in.

BUT, if I've got a HGV behind me, my instinct for self-preservation is useless. I can do (almost) NOTHING to stop him rear-ending me or overtaking me inappropriately or even starting to overtake me and then running out of road and staying in a dangerous position alongside me. If the cyclist is in front because he got to the lights first or was already progressing along a road when the HGV joined it, then there is nothing the cyclist can do about the presence of the HGV. If a HGV tailgates a cyclist, the cyclist may disappear from view, but will still be there. So the HGV has to stay well behind.

A relative of mine lives in a village which has one very long and narrow main street which winds along the flat floor of a steep valley. The street is busy - the village would long have been bypassed if it wasn't completely impracticable because of the topography. Parallel streets can only be reached by means of steep climbs, and none of them is really continuous. As well as the usual busy main road traffic, there is a quarry nearby. So if I cycle along that street with a child on the back of my bike, it's highly likely that I'll have a quarry lorry or some other lorry behind me. There is only road that the lorries and I can both use, and there is nowhere where cycle infrastructure could be added to this narrow road with its narrow footpaths. There are cycle routes signposted that go up and down the local hills, but they aren't really practicable for taking a child to nursery school in the morning. Segregation isn't a possible future reality, let alone a current one. But I feel safe on that road, even when riding a heavy bike and a child passenger. The lorry drivers stay well back unless a genuinely safe opportunity to overtake on a straight stretch of road presents itself, a gap in oncoming traffic large enough for them to complete the overtake successfully with ample clearance without going much faster than the cyclist being overtaken. They drive smoothly (no intimidating engine revving) and they don't tailgate. If you came to this village with your "cyclists beware of lorries" proposals, I don't know if the local cyclists would be especially impressed - what keeps them safe is not their own awareness of danger, but the lorry drivers' prioritization of safety.

posted by bambergbike [88 posts]
10th November 2013 - 21:16

17 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
And, finally, you will know, rightly or wrongly, that many trucks will have dirty, defective, or missing mirrors.

If that safety equipment is dirty, defective, or missing, is the vehicle still road worthy?

If it remains road legal, there's a massive legal problem. Would need fixing.

And if the equipment is allowed to be used in that condition, there should be strict liability for the haulage company AND whichever company contracted it.

Trucks are clean and serviceable when they leave the depot, and we do what we can, but the vortex of air flowing around a mirror makes that mirror dirty within minutes on wet days. And, for example, if the heating element stops working on a mirror, it's unlikely you'll have a job for long if you keep stopping to seek roadside assistance. In any case, the requirement to stop must be balanced against the risk of another vehicle hitting the stationary one. It's a similar situation if a mirror gets cracked, sometimes it's safer to keep going.

We're talking about reality here, and making it clear that there are so many variables when it comes to drivers and their vehicles, and that mixing it with trucks is pretty dumb. Knowing what I do, I wouldn't go anywhere near a truck when I'm out on my bike, if I can possibly avoid it.

And yet you see a lot of cyclists using the fastest, most direct route, many of them doggedly determined to exercise their "rights" (as they are indeed entitled to do), and yet if they only allowed a few extra minutes for their journey then a whole new vista of safer, perhaps more enjoyable, cycling experiences might suddenly become available.

I stay behind cyclists, in the last few hundred yards as I come up to a junction, and I expect cyclists coming up behind me to stay behind me in return. Perhaps that's a little euphemistic, given the almost pathalogical desire to "get in front of that truck" demonstrated by many riders, but that's the kind of ettiquette that saves lives.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
10th November 2013 - 21:21

8 Likes

So you are justifying killing a person because a driver is tired, inattentive or not as alert as they should be. All those things are very much in the hands of the driver not the cyclist. Shame on you.

posted by paulrbarnard [177 posts]
10th November 2013 - 23:04

28 Likes

Neil753 wrote:

I stay behind cyclists, in the last few hundred yards as I come up to a junction, and I expect cyclists coming up behind me to stay behind me in return. Perhaps that's a little euphemistic, given the almost pathalogical desire to "get in front of that truck" demonstrated by many riders, but that's the kind of ettiquette that saves lives.

Problem is that we are often guided up the inside by cycle markings leading to the ASL. I don't believe that it's a 'pathological' desire, just poor design.

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
10th November 2013 - 23:45

17 Likes

Neil, C + E with 25+ years experience of most types. Ex BRS assessor and TM.

You make excellent points which are of course valid and my aim in making my comments was not in any way meant to excuse cyclists from our own responsibility to stay safe. But (sorry);
assuming RHD, the blind spot to the off side during a left turn is now in a 'safe' area as far as cyclists are concerned. There is a danger from tail swing which will now be unseen but again is minimal as far as cycling interactions are concerned.
Yes the nearside mirror does reduce in field of vision during the maneuver however, full mirror checks should be made before commencing the turn. In all but the tightest turns, the class iv mirror should cover the area more than adequately, it covers 15 metres out whilst travelling ahead and this reduces to 7 metres at 45 degrees beyond which point the driver can simply look through the nearside window! I agree that it is impossible to watch all mirrors all the time, but our training and experience teaches us where the danger area will be.

Any driver continuing a journey with missing, broken or dirty mirrors is leaving themselves open to many problems in a VOSA pull. Takes less than a couple of minutes to clean them and in my experience there are plenty of opportunities.

Recent collisions appear to be a failure to check the area to the front before moving off. No disadvantage to articulated vehicles there!

It's not easy, but my point was that complete segregation will never happen, one hope of improving the situation short term is to include a cycle awareness module into the DCPC. As a cyclist, I am certain that I am safer around cyclists. If all vocational drivers undertook such training I believe that they also would be safer with cyclists.

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
10th November 2013 - 23:47

13 Likes

Paul, no, we are talking about the real world and how to improve it rather than postulating!

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
10th November 2013 - 23:47

8 Likes

Duplicate post removed

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
10th November 2013 - 23:54

8 Likes

paulrbarnard wrote:
So you are justifying killing a person because a driver is tired, inattentive or not as alert as they should be. All those things are very much in the hands of the driver not the cyclist. Shame on you.

I'm not saying that at all. I'm merely pointing out some of the realities of life that, as a cyclist, lead me to stay well clear of trucks.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
11th November 2013 - 1:40

15 Likes

Great to hear from you hgv experts, good work.

I think they have a cyclist module in the bus driver training at Lothian (the main Edinburgh bus firm). Some of their videos are on youtube such as The Shadow Cyclist vs Bus.

posted by vbvb [392 posts]
11th November 2013 - 2:19

14 Likes

Absolutely none of this does what is a blindingly obvious way of stopping any 2 road users form banging into each other - eye contact.

When trucks in towns were less that 10T GVW and the railway distributed the trunk freight using Scammell Scarabs and 1 axle semi trailers, we had drivers sat at eye level with pedestrians and cyclists alongside and in front, and trucks that could turn in the length of the trailer - watch Robin Webb's memorial video to his daughter - killed by a truck in London.

Mirrors and CCTV are no proper substitute for direct vision. I call on Neil753 and hexhome to get inside and outside a Dennis Elite 2 or a Mercedes Econic. The former are increasingly being specified for dustcarts for their walk-in cab design* - not (surprisingly) because they give a superb view out from the driving position, and an amazing view in - you can clock the driver from head to hips from outside. A properly designed truck does not need a mass of mirrors to see what is directly outside.

*Walk in cabs are being specified on safety grounds - but not cyclist safety. Its the safety of staff climbing in & out of the truck and slipping on the steps up tor the macho "King of the road" throne position in the cab.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [543 posts]
11th November 2013 - 7:21

9 Likes

Can anyone explain what bleeding use the stickers are when, like the truck I saw one on last week, came up from behind me and the drifted into the cycle lane thus blocking me off?

Thankfully I've got the bike handling to bunny hop on to a pavement to get myself to safety whilst some gobshite ponces round with a fresh sticker saying I shouldn't have been on his left hand side but not everyone does.

posted by farrell [1791 posts]
11th November 2013 - 11:26

9 Likes

I'd have to say my experience with hgv drivers is pretty positive and I've been cycling since I was 16 or so. Whenever I have been hit its by inattentive and outright dangerous motorists in cars...the last driving on the wrong side of the road and leaving me with a head injury and more than a year of cognitive rehabilitation therapy. The driver was a forklift driver by profession supposedly late to pick his daughter up and as ever the authorities were useless. He faced no charges at all due to lack of independent witnesses and is back behind the wheel right now with a newly refreshed sense of 'no one can touch me' so many thanks to those in public office for all your work on that myth known as 'road safety'.

HGV drivers have in my experience been more patient and just more decent when passing and I always wave to thank them for recognising the value of the life just in front of them.

LGV is more hit and miss, literally. Too many deliveries to make coupled with a lethal mix of both good speed and considerable weight makes these funerals waiting to happen. For me though it's always the car...the only legalised form of murder weapon proving time and again that radical revision of the driver training and control of licence issuing and revocation is desperately overdue.

To me it's simple. If you kill (and it was your fault) you lose that licence for life. It's the same for firearms licences (and guns kill less than cars) and ultimately if society values life it needs to send a powerful message to us all that playing with other people's lives is not acceptable.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [201 posts]
11th November 2013 - 11:57

13 Likes

A V Lowe wrote:
Absolutely none of this does what is a blindingly obvious way of stopping any 2 road users form banging into each other - eye contact.

When trucks in towns were less that 10T GVW and the railway distributed the trunk freight using Scammell Scarabs and 1 axle semi trailers, we had drivers sat at eye level with pedestrians and cyclists alongside and in front, and trucks that could turn in the length of the trailer - watch Robin Webb's memorial video to his daughter - killed by a truck in London.

Mirrors and CCTV are no proper substitute for direct vision. I call on Neil753 and hexhome to get inside and outside a Dennis Elite 2 or a Mercedes Econic. The former are increasingly being specified for dustcarts for their walk-in cab design* - not (surprisingly) because they give a superb view out from the driving position, and an amazing view in - you can clock the driver from head to hips from outside. A properly designed truck does not need a mass of mirrors to see what is directly outside.

*Walk in cabs are being specified on safety grounds - but not cyclist safety. Its the safety of staff climbing in & out of the truck and slipping on the steps up tor the macho "King of the road" throne position in the cab.


Trailers are designed to carry a shipping container of a standard size, loading bays are built to offload from a standard trailer height, and economies of scale mean that bigger trucks mean lower operating costs. My sympathies but this is the reality globally.

On a personal note, sitting higher up gives me better visibility on the open road, means my windows and mirrors stay cleaner, means I have slightly less polution entering my lungs, helps protect me from hijack, and reduces my chances of injury when hit by a car. I agree that high cabs can cause issues at ASLs, so I'm very careful to check before I move off, but overall I think the higher cab position is bettter for safety.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
11th November 2013 - 12:39

4 Likes

hexhome wrote:
But (sorry);
assuming RHD, the blind spot to the off side during a left turn is now in a 'safe' area as far as cyclists are concerned. There is a danger from tail swing which will now be unseen but again is minimal as far as cycling interactions are concerned.
Thanks for your input, which is appreciated, but I'm not so sure. You can easily find a cyclist doing a wide sweeping offside overtake, completely hidden in the "safe" blindspot, only to become visible momentarily as they shoot past the leading offside edge of the trailer.

hexhome wrote:
Yes the nearside mirror does reduce in field of vision during the maneuver however, full mirror checks should be made before commencing the turn. In all but the tightest turns, the class iv mirror should cover the area more than adequately, it covers 15 metres out whilst travelling ahead and this reduces to 7 metres at 45 degrees beyond which point the driver can simply look through the nearside window! I agree that it is impossible to watch all mirrors all the time, but our training and experience teaches us where the danger area will be.
You may be right, but how easy is it for a cyclist to determine that the mirror is of the correct type, isn't misted up or broken, and the driver just happens to be looking at that particular mirror, at that split second, as they zoom up the inside?

hexhome wrote:
Any driver continuing a journey with missing, broken or dirty mirrors is leaving themselves open to many problems in a VOSA pull. Takes less than a couple of minutes to clean them and in my experience there are plenty of opportunities.
That's the official answer, and I agree with you there, but I can say that I've never been supplied with spare lenses in twenty years of driving, much less the tools to replace them, and you must know as well as I do that there is a general mallaise amongst many firms when it comes to things like the prompt repair of mirror heater elements. And how many lorries do you see coming off the M25 and actually parking up to clean their mirrors before heading into London? Having spotless optics means constant cleaning, and it just isn't feasible to stop every few hundred yards. We've got to get the message across that mirrors aren't the key to cycling nirvana. And VOSA, frankly, are thin on the ground. In fact, I've only ever been stopped for a random check once in my career. The fact that there are so many defective lorries discovered suggests that the deterent effect is minimal.

hexhome wrote:
It's not easy, but my point was that complete segregation will never happen, one hope of improving the situation short term is to include a cycle awareness module into the DCPC. As a cyclist, I am certain that I am safer around cyclists. If all vocational drivers undertook such training I believe that they also would be safer with cyclists.
I totally agree, but there's always room for improvement in our industry.

It's really important not to give cyclists a false sense of security here. The only message HGV drivers should be spreading is the one that errs on the side of caution, not reassurance. There's been far too much talk about perfect mirrors on perfect trucks, driven by perfect drivers, employed by perfect organisations all chomping at the bit to promote "cycling awareness"; but the reality is very different, with many tired or inexperienced drivers driving trucks that are far from perfect, with employers just paying lip service to safety, on streets that are filling up with more and more cyclists. As HGV drivers, we have a duty to say it how it actually is, not how it ought to be.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:27

2 Likes

Neil, you must be one of the very few who hold back on the approach to a junction if there is a cyclist ahead of you. All to often I've had rigids cut me up on approaching a junction and forcing me behind them. I've even had them pull up beside me and straddle lane one and two resulting in my lifting my bike on to the footpath. And that's with me using the primary position at lights. Other occasions have had them roll their vehicle so close that I can't make I contact or remind them which way I'm going to turn.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1118 posts]
11th November 2013 - 15:10

1 Like

Neil753 wrote:

As a fellow HGV driver, I'm sure you will agree that the safest place for cyclists to be is behind a truck, not along side it or in front of it.

Neil753, you do come across as an intelligent person until lines such as the above are trotted out.

So what you are saying is that we cyclist are now supposed to keep looking behind incase a big vehicle is heading towards us. At which point stop, stand to one side and maybe doft helmets to the "king of the road." REALLY!

As one with so much driving experince you will know that it is your responsibilty to drive your vehicle in accordance with the conditions and with due care and attention. It's not the cyclist's responsibility to make you life/job easier via day-glo, hi-vis or by getting out of the way. Yes ok cyclists can help by not wearing ninja suits and have no lights when it dark only to leap out in front of unsuspecting traffic to achieve what?

Go on mate, you know you want to say it, "cyclist are nothing more than lycra covered lemmings looking for a vehicle to mash themselves on!"

________________________
On the other hand, whilst death and injury are not very nice to say the least, why is this world so intent of everything being safe. Considering the millions of miles that are cycled every year or the tens of thousands of cyclist surely a few deaths are expected? I'm sure not many of the drivers involved wake up and think "I'm going to run me a cyclist over today!"

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [425 posts]
11th November 2013 - 16:48

1 Like

Having driven a Volvo Car , a few years back , i am aware that they had " Detection Equipment for pedestrians/cyclists in their path , that caused the brakes to engage . Why do HGV /Coaches not have something similar ?

Cars have "flashers" that tell you they are turning , Trucks have them on their cabs , but why not along their trailors , since they have white side lights at a variety of points required by reg.s?

Personally i knock on the glass when a vehicle tends to try to squeeze into my space , works with buses as well as vans , but could HGV s , have those pressure pads that some buses have on the ceiling that are pressed , to alert the driver for the bus stop ?

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [405 posts]
11th November 2013 - 18:45

3 Likes

Neil753 wrote:

It's really important not to give cyclists a false sense of security here. The only message HGV drivers should be spreading is the one that errs on the side of caution, not reassurance. There's been far too much talk about perfect mirrors on perfect trucks, driven by perfect drivers, employed by perfect organisations all chomping at the bit to promote "cycling awareness"; but the reality is very different, with many tired or inexperienced drivers driving trucks that are far from perfect, with employers just paying lip service to safety, on streets that are filling up with more and more cyclists. As HGV drivers, we have a duty to say it how it actually is, not how it ought to be.

It is probable that we are heading for the same destination from differing directions. I certainly was not intending to give false security to cyclists. You are correct, the only safe thing for a cyclist to do is to keep totally clear of an HGV.

However, this is easier said than done. Bicycles travel far faster than HGVs in city centres and cycle lanes encourage bicycles to pass on the inside and to stop at junctions ahead of HGVs. This is contrary to the opinions of some experts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPkbNFt5NuY This would certainly solve the left turn issue.

All of the points you raised are true, we don't live in a perfect world and it I doubt that it will ever be possible to reduce fatalities to zero. My point is that cycle awareness training as a module in the DCPC, which most of us as vocational drivers must take, would reduce the number of collisions, simply because the collisions occur because the driver was not aware of the cyclist!

Edited to add this gem of a video Smile http://youtu.be/Tb_KNxGI2T4?t=10m

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
11th November 2013 - 21:07

4 Likes

Yorkshie Whippet wrote:
It's not the cyclist's responsibility to make you life/job easier via day-glo, hi-vis or by getting out of the way. Yes ok cyclists can help by not wearing ninja suits and have no lights when it dark only to leap out in front of unsuspecting traffic to achieve what?

I can't speak for Neil but that is certainly not the point being made here. For the foreseeable future bicycles and HGVs are going to have to live together. Yes a driver should see you wherever you are and whatever you are wearing. Neil pointed out that in poor visibility and rain it is easy to miss something in the mirror. He is damned right! So no, it is not the cyclists responsibility to wear Hi Viz or avoid the danger areas but it WILL help an HGV driver see you in a mirror. Mirrors absorb some of the light they reflect, glass is never 100% clear. What seems a bit murky to the eyeball can be dark in a mirror.

This is not victim blaming, just my opinion as an HGV driver and cyclist.

posted by hexhome [26 posts]
11th November 2013 - 21:18

2 Likes