Safety Guidance: Understanding HGV Blind Spots
Understanding the blind spots of larger vehicles like HGVs can help to reduce traffic collisions, and reduce the danger to cyclists and pedestrians.
Despite representing less than 5% of London's traffic, HGVs are responsible for more than 50% of the cycling fatalities in the city.
London is tackling this issue with a new HGV Safety Permit scheme, which HGV drivers can apply for as of this month (October 2019). The TfL reports that HGVs will be banned from the capital unless they adhere to a series of vehicle safety measures which are designed to reduce the risks HGVs present to cyclists and pedestrians:
- Blind spot elimination and minimisation, for example: a fully operational camera monitoring system; Class V and VI mirrors; and a sensor system with driver alerts
- Warning of intended manoeuvre, for example: audible left-turn vehicle manoeuvring warning and external pictorial stickers and markings
- Minimising physical impact of a hazard, for example: side-underrun protection
To contribute to tackling the disproportionate number of fatal collisions, we have provided some guidance which gives a better understanding of the blind spots of large vehicles can help to reduce the risk to cyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles.
HGV Blind Spots
As you can see in the above image, the main blind spot to be aware of is the area obscured by the bodywork of the vehicle. In larger vehicles, like HGVs, blind spots are more of an issue than with cars because of the size and shape of HGVs in comparison to smaller and more streamlined vehicles.
It is these blind spots which 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 the driver not being able to see what's around them clearly.
- It is safest to avoid making assumptions about a driver's intentions – particularly at traffic lights. Where there is an HGV, it is safest to wait for it to move before making any maneuvers.
- If you are a cyclist, high quality lights and wearing brightly-coloured, reflective clothing is essential for busy roads.
- Avoid cycling in the front-left zone of a lorry (the most obstructed view from the driver's side) as you will be most at risk there. For best visibility, it is advised that you position yourself slightly behind this point when coming to a stop.
Video from the Metropolitan Police in which an HGV driver and cyclist swap positions to gain a better understanding of the nature of HGV traffic collisions.
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