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In cities and towns across the UK, HGV training includes teaching drivers about blind spots inherent to the large vehicles they drive. Drivers are taught that cyclists can virtually disappear from the field of view if they pull into certain spots where mirror coverage is limited. They are taught to always be on the lookout for cyclists, as well.

However, some very influential people in the cycling community believe that training is not enough. They are pushing the government to mandate high visibility cabs that ride lower to the ground and include all-glass doors. They believe these high visibility cabs will reduce the number of accidents between HGVs and cyclists in urban areas.

A high visibility cab would indeed eliminate some of the blind spots articulated lorries, tipper trucks and other HGVs are known to have. Increased visibility will also likely lead to safer conditions for everyone on the road. Nevertheless, are they the real solution, or are they only part of the solution?

It Takes Two

In response to the push for a government mandate, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has been trumpeting the quality HGV training today’s drivers receive. The FTA believes that further regulation and a high visibility mandate are not the best ways to go about increasing road safety. We agree.

What many people fail to realise is that it takes two vehicles and drivers to be involved in an HGV/cycle crash. The HGV driver is only one half of the equation. That’s why a programme in London, known as the ‘exchanging places’ programme, educates cyclists by letting them sit inside the cab of a lorry. Doing so awakens them to the reality that HGV drivers have a difficult time seeing them.

It’s possible high visibility cabs would help somewhat, but they are only part of the solution. The other part is continued training that focuses specifically on HGV/cycle crashes. This includes both cyclist and HGV training.

Accident Causes

According to RoSPA, the two most common causes of accidents involving cyclists and motorised vehicles area failure to look both ways when entering a junction (either driver) and a cyclist pulling off the curb and onto the street. In accidents caused by HGV drivers, the most common cause is being too far left when making a left turn.

In all three cases, high visibility cabs would do little to help. Driver training is what is needed. Cyclists need to be trained how to safely enter traffic from curbs or other inconspicuous spots. HGV training needs to deal more effectively with left-hand turns. Both cyclists and HGV drivers need to do a better job of looking both ways at junctions.

The HGV Training Centre is doing its part by offering comprehensive HGV training throughout the UK. All of our facilities are staffed by experienced professionals with a mindset of safety. When drivers complete our training, they are fully equipped to operate their vehicles in accordance with the law and standard safety procedures.

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