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.
Blind spots to look out for on HGV’s
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.
Safety tips for cyclists
- Make sure you’re kitted out for busy roads and dressed in brightly coloured reflective clothing. It’s also a good idea to fit your bike with high quality lights to ensure the best visibility.
- Avoid cycling in the front left zone of a lorry, where you’re most at risk. Always make sure you’re positioned slightly behind this point when you come to a stop.
- Don’t ever make assumptions about a driver’s intentions – especially at traffic lights. Hold on and wait for a HGV to manoeuvre before moving on yourself.
Blind Spot tips for HGV drivers
- Check your mirrors regularly, especially before you move off, change lanes, or turn.
- Ensure your vehicle is fitted with the best in safety features, such as side guards and mirrors.
- Use all the signals you have and give plenty of warning – this will help to show other roads users your intentions.
- Eliminate distractions – driving a HGV is difficult enough as it is without the added issue of distractions.
- Invest in safety technology from Vision Techniques. Our wide range of road safety technology products includes TurnSafe, our cyclist camera and detection system, our CCTV cameras, and VT Banksman, our reversing radar system.
If you’re looking for the most advanced in video analytic detection systems, you might also like to try VT MotionEye. The revolutionary new product detects any dangers and minimises the risk of blind spots by offering a 180 degree view.