Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

HGVs and blind spots

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) are an integral part of our society. In 2017, HGVs transported 147.2 million tonnes of goods around Ireland. They are vital to our economy, however due to their size and design, they can pose a very real danger to pedestrians and cyclists.

There are significant blind spots at the front, nearside and rear of HGVs that can completely mask a cyclist or pedestrian from the view of the driver. Demonstrations recently carried out by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have shown that a pedestrian in front of a high cab truck cannot be seen by the driver up to six meters from the front of the truck.

On an episode of RTE’s Crimecall this week, a road safety segment featured a video with a gentleman on a pedal bicycle that was knocked-down by a truck turning left. What caught my eye was the truck was clearly indicating to turn left, and the cyclist in the video continued to cycle up the inside of the truck in the blind spot area despite that.

My point is that drivers always seem to come off with the blame but cyclists must take responsibility too, and respect the size of the trucks and that the driver cannot see them in those blind spot.

There are more blind spot mirrors being developed and also blind spot detection for heavy commercial vehicles. One system of the latter features two radar sensors on each side of the vehicle. These act like electronic eyes to monitor the surroundings in the lanes adjacent to the vehicle, along the entire length of the trailer and also in the area immediately behind it.

A cyclist interviewed on Crimecall told of his story – how he ended up beneath the truck and was in a coma for some weeks. A terrible accident for anyone to endure.

On the nearside of a truck, a cyclist can be completely obscured from the driver’s view, unseen in any of the mirrors. This is a very real issue. Last year 24 road users lost their lives due to a collision with a truck in our towns and cities.

An Garda Síochána has the following advice:

  • When crossing the road, use a designated crossing location such as a light controlled or zebra crossing
  • Never cross the road between traffic, especially in front of a truck
  • When cycling, wear high visibility clothing and a helmet
  • Never cycle alongside a truck if there is a junction ahead
  • If you have to overtake a truck, do so as fast as possible, minimising the amount of time you spend in the blind spot.

When stopped at a junction, do not wait alongside a truck. Proceed into the cycle box or wait behind. Take up a safe road position when in motion. Use correct hand signals.