Good Thinking

New lorry design could save cyclists' lives

New lorry design could save cy...
The new Direct Vision truck cab is designed to reduce blind spots
The new Direct Vision truck cab is designed to reduce blind spots
View 2 Images
The new Direct Vision truck cab is designed to reduce blind spots
1/2
The new Direct Vision truck cab is designed to reduce blind spots
According to the researchers, the redesign of the cab could offer a 50-percent increase in field of view compared to traditional cabs
2/2
According to the researchers, the redesign of the cab could offer a 50-percent increase in field of view compared to traditional cabs

A UK team at Loughborough University is proposing a new cab design for lorries that would offer drivers a better view of the road around them, thus potentially saving the lives of pedestrians and cyclists. According to the researchers, the redesign of the cab could offer a 50-percent increase in front and side field of view, compared to traditional cabs.

The increased visibility is accomplished thanks to an 80-cm (31.5-in) longer cab with a rounder nose, larger glazed areas, smaller dashboard, and a slightly lower seated position for the driver.

According to the researchers, the redesign of the cab could offer a 50-percent increase in field of view compared to traditional cabs
According to the researchers, the redesign of the cab could offer a 50-percent increase in field of view compared to traditional cabs

These combined features should greatly reduce blind spots, which can be the cause of accidents. The Loughborough team cites a study which indicates that last year, nine of 14 cyclist fatalities in London involved HGVs (heavy goods vehicles). The study also indicates that 43 percent of cycling accidents in Belgium involve lorries.

The biggest issue with any fundamental design change like this is convincing companies to take on the large cost of upgrading their existing lorries to a new, safer designs. Trucks like this are not cheap, and if a company is operating an entire fleet, the cost would be difficult to absorb. Over time, as lorries need to be phased out due to age, they could be replaced with new models, but unless it's government-mandated, it would be hard to imagine most companies jumping to replace an entire fleet.

Still, it's an interesting change that could make the road a safer place, and that's definitely a good thing for everyone. For another take on a cyclist-safe lorry, check out the design put forward last year by the London Cycling Campaign. Additionally, UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's has recently started using trucks equipped with cyclist-spotting 360-degree video systems.

Source: Loughborough University

6 comments
ClauS
Or you can use the significantly better Colani truck design conceived decades ago. The main problem, as correctly stated in article, is that without a regulatory change nobody will implement anything.
Slowburn
Lets see a few million for a new truck or a few hundred dollars in cameras and video screens? BICYCLISTS; TRUCKS AND BUSES ARE OUT TO KILL YOU. RIDE LIKE IT!!!
Dave Andrews
Is "lorry" a British term for a semi truck? The drawing looks like a semi. In any case, Slowburn's comments about a truck costing "a few million" are just a bit off. A decent semi truck, brand new, costs roughly $75,000 to $125,000US. Even the International Lonestar, maybe the sweetest semi cab out there still only costs $130,000 to $170,000. For a semi to cost "a few million" it had better get 200 miles per gallon, have a gold bumper and be able to fly over traffic!
Gregg Eshelman
Look up the International Harvester Sightliner. It had two big windows in the nose below the dash. One features in the movie "Real Steel".
Slowburn
@ Dave Andrews Add financing expenses.
pmshah
Blind spots have always been the problem while driving regardless of what vehicle it is. I devised a very easy solution for it. The driver side door mirror covered the left side of the vehicle. The the windshield mounted rear view mirror was set such that it covered the area from driver side rear pillar to whatever area it covered on the passenger side. The passenger side door mounted mirror covered area from the passenger side pillar well into a lane beyond that. Wasn't too difficult.