Preventing bike-truck collisions and minimizing harm

Following two recent crashes between cyclists and trucks in Dunedin, one of which was fatal, there’s been discussion about measures that could reduce the risk trucks pose to more vulnerable road users. Spokes and CAN have suggested a variety of options, and we’ll be following up with the relevant authorities:

  • Lowering speed limits (even though the recent collisions apparently involved slow-moving, turning vehicles, safety could be enhanced if trucks didn’t have to merge into dense, fast-moving traffic)
  • Improving visibility and signage at intersections, including advance stop boxes for cyclists and stop signs at busy intersections
  • Equipping trucks with front and side underrun protection
  • Providing road safety education for all road users

In London last year, nine of fifteen cycling fatalities involved collisions with trucks, mostly “hook” incidents in which a turning lorry hit a cyclist. An article in the Guardian discusses various proposals for reducing such collisions, including placing special mirrors at intersections to give truck drivers a better view of the blind spot to the left of their vehicles.

Could be a long time coming in Dunedin. In the meantime, if you’re out there on your bike among big trucks, here’s CAN’s advice about staying safe:

  • Never cycle on the left-hand side of a truck, bus or car at an intersection, unless you’re in a separate lane.
  • Avoid blind spots. Take up a visible position at intersections: well out in front and not by the left-hand kerb or close to a truck or bus.
  • Wear bright, visible clothing. Use lights at night or in poor weather.

And if you happen to be driving a truck (or bus, or SUV, or Mini):

  • Look twice for cyclists, especially those coming from the left-hand side
  • Give cyclists plenty of space. Allow 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist.
  • For truck and bus drivers: get the best mirror system you can to enable you to watch for cyclists on the left-hand side.

Erika Büky

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1 Response to Preventing bike-truck collisions and minimizing harm

  1. Mike Hammond says:

    On way to work in early mornings- I tend to cut across empty car-parks…and use footpaths with low people use (while being respectful and considerate to pedestrians, etc). I find many designated cycle lanes on our one-way system are to be avaioded at the busier times of day!

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