Posted on 30th Jun, 2016 by Jonathan Peach
Although lorries make up just 4% of London’s traffic, they’re responsible for more than 50% of the cycling fatalities. The main reason behind accidents involving cyclists and HGVs is the blind spot problem, which often leaves cyclists out of sight and at risk. Through better awareness of HGV blind spots and the use of safety technology, the blind spot problem can be greatly reduced.
The main blind spots sit in the area between what you see when you look forward and what you see in your exterior view mirror AND the area obscured by the bodywork of your vehicle. In larger vehicles, like HGVs, this blind spot is more of an issue because of the size and shape of HGVs in comparison to smaller and more streamlined cars.
It’s these blind spots that are responsible for the majority of accidents involving HGVs. More than 80% of serious cyclist accidents happen at, or within 20 metres of a junction as a result of a driver not being able to see what’s around him clearly. When a lorry turns left at a junction, the blind spots on the front diagonal and sides of a HGV prevent a driver from being able to see a cyclist to its front and its side. This makes it far too easy for a cyclist to be hit and subsequently fall under a HGV’s back wheels.
While side guards and mirrors can certainly help improve the problem of blind spots, they’re still not enough. Even though visibility is improved with these extra features, HGV drivers still don’t get a complete overview of the road and can be caught out especially when failing to check their mirrors.
The other main blind spot in HGVs is at the rear. As HGVs rarely have a centre rear view mirror, drivers have no idea what’s directly behind them. While this is less of an issue than the blind spots to the front and sides, the rear view blind spot can still cause problems.
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