Researchers pinpoint the HGV type most likely to kill you

Study authors call for an overhaul of design requirements to protect vulnerable road users

New research has pinpointed the type of HGVs most likely to be involved with cyclist collisions, due to blind spots.

Researchers at Loughborough University have found that lorries with high cabs have much poorer visibility, therefore posing much higher risk to cyclists.

The work was commissioned by Transport for London, who asked researchers to investigate why so many collisions with vulnerable road users were caused by HGVs.

Nineteen different models of truck were examined in the study - from construction to long haul vehicles - and CAD designs of each were used to model the dangerous blind spots from each vehicle’s cab.

The researchers also examined reports of collisions,recreating the scenarios to see what the drivers could and could not see.

The team said that while all cab designs had flaws, the high cabs were by far the riskiest -  and called for a new design standard to be set to minimise the dangers to other road users.

Project leader Steve Summerskill said: “We found that all standard vehicle configurations have blind spots which can hide vulnerable road users from the driver’s direct vision.

“However the height of the cab above the ground is the key vehicle factor which affects the size of direct vision and indirect vision blind spots. Low entry cab designs, which are the lowest of the 19 vehicles tested, demonstrated real benefits in terms of reducing direct vision blind spots when compared to standard vehicle designs.

“If you seriously want to reduce the number of collisions involving vulnerable road users and HGVs you have to improve the direct field of vision for drivers – and from our research this means lowering HGV cab designs or adopting low entry cab designs.”

Ian Wainwright, Head of Freight and Fleet at TfL, added: “The best decisions are those based on evidence, and the research that we commissioned Loughborough to undertake is another tool in the box to make the right choices to improve road safety. This research into comparing direct vision of HGV drivers will create the platform to take efforts on road safety further.”

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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