Friday, 25 May 2018
For the sixth in our series of blogs outlining some key proposals included in Cycling UK’s response to the Government’s review of cycling and pedestrian safety, Head of Campaigns Duncan Dollimore explains why the Government should introduce a national ‘direct vision standard’ for HGVs. This would enable lorry permit schemes, modelled on an initiative being introduced in London, to be adopted in urban areas throughout the country.
The idea behind our ‘Cycle safety: make it simple’ campaign was that cycling safety is sometimes over-complicated, and that some of the measures to improve safety for people walking or cycling are really quite simple. That’s why we’ve highlighted particular problems, offered the solutions, and asked “Why wouldn’t you do it?”
Of all our ‘why wouldn’t you’ themes, the one that perhaps frustrates me the most involves vehicle design. But don’t panic – we’re not going to get too technical here; we’re going to keep this simple because, I promise you, it really is.
I can see you!
Next time you see a bin lorry, take a good look at the front: the driver’s cab. It’s likely to be what’s known as a low entry cab (LEC), allowing the driver to step in and out of the cab rather that up some steps and into a cab with a higher seating position. The driver will be seated close to a large glass front windscreen, with the cab looking more like the front of a bus than a traditional lorry, and with a glass panel folding door on the left- hand side, just like you have on a bus.
That’s important because it gives the driver a better view of people outside the cab, including pedestrians crossing the road in front the cab, and cyclists on the left-hand side.
But the front of the bin lorry probably won’t look much like the front of the other lorries you see in busy town centres and cities most days, because the basic design of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) cabs has hardly altered since the 1970s. The traditional high seating position may have benefits on trunk journeys along motorways, but that’s a different environment to urban driving at slower speeds, and alongside pedestrians and cyclists.