HGVs and vulnerable road users
Many different types of large vehicles, including skip lorries, dumper trucks, box vans, concrete mixer trucks, articulated HGVs and so on, share the road with pedestrians, pedal cyclists and motorcyclists. Although there are relatively few collisions between large vehicles and these vulnerable road users, when they do occur, they often result in serious or fatal injury.
The use of HGVs on our roads is governed by a comprehensive regulatory regime. A considerable amount of work is also underway, particularly with good practice management schemes and technological solutions. In recent years, there has been considerable focus on understanding the risk to cyclists and developing measures to reduce this risk. However, not enough attention has been paid to the risk to pedestrians: more work needs to be done in this area, especially as more pedestrians and are killed or injured in collisions with HGVs than cyclists.
Research has shown that the way HGVs are currently designed results in several blind spots, meaning vulnerable road users can easily be hidden from the direct vision of the driver, creating a huge potential accident risk for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. A new standard is required for the construction of HGVs that allows vulnerable road users to be more visible to the driver.
It can often be difficult for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians to interact safely with large vehicles, especially in crowded, busy urban areas. Therefore, it is crucial to design roads and streets to cater for the needs of vulnerable road users. The Safe System Approach includes many measures to prevent fatal collisions from occurring. The two main approaches are separating different road users by physical infrastructure, and where separation cannot be achieved, reducing vehicle speeds to reduce the likelihood of crashes occurring and the severity of any that do occur so they are unlikely to cause fatal injuries.