A British study clarifies the problem with trucks

I thank Bob Shanteau, California traffic engineer and cyclist, for this link.

The paper, from the U.K., puts numbers on the problem with bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities in collisions with large trucks.

A quote:

Lorries are involved in around 4,200 fatal accidents in Europe every year, according to the European Transport Safety Council. In Belgium, 43% of cycling fatalities involve lorries, while in the Netherlands it’s 38% and 33% in the UK. Lorries cause more than 50% of cyclist deaths in some cities, like London.

And another:

The analysis highlighted the time lapse between drivers checking mirrors, making observations through a window, and then pulling away. ‘If this time period is four seconds, this is enough time for a cyclist to undertake the HGV, with the driver being unaware of his or her presence,’ the paper says.

Bob posted the link on facebook, and a discussion is underway.

The study recommends that trucks be designed for better visibility.

That would help if the bicyclist is next to the cab, or in front of the truck, but a bicyclist who has not yet advanced as far as the cab is only going to be visible in a mirror, or not at all.

Knowledgeable bicyclists avoid riding into this trap, but the cities of Boston and Cambridge — now increasingly, other communities, invite bicyclists into it with bike lanes striped up to intersections and past driveways where trucks turn right.

The cities’ actions place all the responsibility for preventing the collisions on the truckers’ seeing and avoiding bicyclists whom, as the study shows, they often cannot see.

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One Response to A British study clarifies the problem with trucks

  1. danc says:

    Thanks for sharing Bob Shanteau discovery. The UK paper reminds me a John Adam’s road safety quote in “Risk and Freedom” p10: “Judgments about whether safety can be promoted by means of vehicle and road engineering, or by altering road user behaviour, depend on the views taken about the possibilities for making roads and vehicles more “foolproof” on the one hand, and for making human beings less “foolish” on the other.

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