Few people have any idea of what a heavy vehicle driver can and can’t see from the seat of their truck or bus.
Photos and videos only go so far in enabling one to understand the reality of driving a truck on our crowded roads.
Share←the→Road Blind Zone Demonstrations are held at conferences, public events such as truck shows, cycle races, family bike days in fact any event where there are people who share the road with others. Given that few people have had the opportunity to climb up into the driver seat of a truck or bus, there are always queues at the demonstrations waiting to do so.
We mark out the blind zones with cones and tape. When available we position vehicles and bicycles in the blind zone areas then ask participants to find them when they are in the driver’s seat. On two occasions now local fire engines which were part of the event were positioned in a blind zone. Participants are usually quite shocked to realize a vehicle as big as a fire engine can be invisible to a driver.
There are two desired outcomes for our Blind Zone Demonstrations:
- 'This experience improved my understanding of heavy vehicle blind zones';
- 'As a result of this experience today, I am likely to change my behaviour when riding a bike near heavy vehicles'.
In conversations at Blind Zone Workshops or Demonstrations, we find the people we talk to will have an increased understanding of our key messages:
We advise people using bikes that they shouldn't pass a heavy vehicle on the left-hand side at intersections (if absolutely necessary, overtake on the right hand side), and that it's essential to position yourself so the heavy vehicle driver can see you.
We also encourage people on bikes to make eye contact with heavy vehicle drivers; ensuring contact is made with a wave and smile is good too! Another key message is that, if drivers leave a good following gap (about four seconds) it's easier for people on bikes to look for a safe place to pull over, to let the heavy vehicle pass.
Finally, for people on bikes with less experience, we ask them to consider careful choice of routes, to avoid heavy vehicles or heavy, fast traffic, and to ensure they have excellent control of their bike.