Bike riders in Melbourne will be given the chance to see the road from a truck driver’s point of view at a special event hosted by Bicycle Network and Rail Projects Victoria.
On Thursday 6 June, bike riders and pedestrians will be invited to sit in the driver’s seat of a truck parked in Federation Square as part of Swapping Seats, an initiative to raise awareness about heavy vehicle blind spots.
The education campaign aims to build a positive relationship between the drivers of heavy vehicles and people who ride bikes. It also aims to improve awareness about how little truck drivers can from their seat and where riders should position themselves on the road to be most visible.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that truck blind-spots block out a lot more of the road than people who ride bikes often realise.
“Due to the design of many truck cabins, visibility is so poor that truck drivers often can’t see bike riders around them. Truck drivers simply can’t see what their mirrors don’t show them,” Mr Richards said.
“Until legislation, truck design and visibility standards are improved, the Swapping Seats campaign can help people understand how to reduce their risks and best position themselves on the road.”
As Victoria undergoes a construction boom, the number of trucks driving on the roads is set to increase significantly, posing new risks on inner-suburban and CBD streets.
Melbourne Metro Tunnel Authority is committed to fitting trucks with side protection rails to stop bike riders and pedestrians falling under a truck in case of a collision, but it is not mandatory across all trucking fleets on our roads.
“We need to stop crashes between truck drivers and bike riders from happening. Heavy vehicles are involved in 34 per cent of bike rider fatalities and sadly the chance of surviving a crash with a truck is low,” added Mr Richards.
For years, Bicycle Network has been campaigning to see trucking safety standards mandated nationally which includes lower cabs with larger windows, Class V mirrors, reversing and blind spot cameras, audible squawker systems and side protection rails.
Education programs like Swapping Seats complement physical crash mitigation measures, while vulnerable road user training should also be a key part of the state government’s recent $4 million budget allocation to truck driver training.
The Swapping Seats event will be held from 7:30am to 6:30pm on Thursday 6 June at Federation Square and is free for all bike riders and members of the public.
Swapping Seats has been commissioned by Rail Projects Victoria in partnership with Bicycle Network.