RSA and gardai target cyclists and HGV drivers to highlight ‘blind spots’ on trucks
To mark the start of Bike Week, June 13-21, the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána, have launched a new campaign, targeting cyclists and truck drivers. The aim of the campaign is to highlight the existence of the ‘Blind Spots’ around trucks.
Due to their size and design, a truck has significant blind spots that present a danger to vulnerable road users. A driver’s field of vision, within a cab, is limited; the area immediately in front, behind and to the left of the vehicle is often hidden from view and cyclists and pedestrians are at an increased risk of being struck.
In Ireland’s urban areas, between 2007 and May 2015, 54 Vulnerable Road Users (cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists) were killed in collisions involving trucks. Collisions involving trucks accounted for 20% of urban VRU fatalities.
Commenting on the new campaign Mr Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport said, “A blind spot is an area around a vehicle not visible to the driver and there are many on a truck which pose added risks for both cyclists and pedestrians. Sadly, this issue has directly led to a number of fatal and serious injury collisions. Ireland has taken progressive steps to improve the indirect vision of a truck driver by requiring the fitment of additional mirrors on the cab since 2010 which has halved the number of deaths linked to the blind spot issue. However, it hasn’t eliminated casualties, therefore I really welcome this new campaign, which will help to raise greater awareness of the issue among cyclists and truck drivers.”
According to Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority, the message is simple, “If you cannot see the driver, the driver cannot see you. Cyclists need to be aware of the existence of the ‘Danger Zone’ on trucks and should never ride along the kerb side of a truck, especially if it’s turning left. Truck drivers too need to be aware of the fact that the mirrors on their cab will not always give them a total view of any cyclists that may be riding alongside or behind the vehicle. So drivers should lookout for cyclists at junctions and especially when turning left.”
Ms. Murdock also took the opportunity to highlight the danger of the blind spot on trucks for pedestrians, particularly older pedestrians. “Collison investigations have shown that pedestrians crossing the road in slow moving urban traffic too close to the area immediately in front of a truck, which is normally hidden from the driver’s view, may well have been a significant contributory factor in the deaths of older pedestrians. Pedestrians, especially older people, are therefore advised never to cross the road in front of large vehicles.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Curran, Garda National Traffic Bureau (GNTB) said, “This is a very worthwhile campaign and An Garda Síochána fully supports any initiative that makes it safer for our most vulnerable road users. Cycling in particular is a very safe activity, a popular mode of transport and a great way to keep fit…but we all must realise the dangers that are out there, especially when in close proximity to large vehicles at junctions and when turning left. This new video released today really shows the difficulties that drivers of large vehicles face and as said already if you can’t see the driver, the driver cannot see you.”
While (Class VI) ‘Cyclops’ mirrors are now required on the front of all larger trucks to help eliminate this problem, Ms Murdock reminded drivers that they needed to be positioned correctly or they wouldn’t be able to detect pedestrians or cyclists in the space immediately in front of the cab.
To mark Bike Week, the RSA has developed a new 30 second video to highlight the danger of the blind spot on trucks. The video is aimed at both cyclists and goods vehicle drivers and will be deployed online and promoted on social media. In addition the RSA will be screening its 60 second cycling safety TV advert, running 20 second cut downs of the ad through Video on Demand (VOD) and promoting its four Rules of the Road for Cyclists videos online.