SAFER HEAVY VEHICLES

We can better protect people riding bikes by fitting our heavy vehicles with new safety technologies.

 

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The problem

Heavy vehicles pose a huge crash risk to people who ride, particularly due to the number of driver blind spots. Our efforts to reduce these risks have so far been insufficient.

Australia’s freight sector is growing, which means we are likely to see more trucks on our roads into the future. At the same time, our capital cities are developing strategies and policies to increase the number of people riding bikes.

The risks of death and serious injury to people riding bikes as a result of heavy vehicle collisions may rise if we don’t act. So far, little has been done. 

  • On average, 23 per cent of bike rider fatalities each year involve a heavy vehicle, a statistic that has not changed for 20 years.
  • Mitigation measures such as side under-run protection rails, blind-spot detection via mirrors, sensors, audible left-turn warning systems and training are not mandated across all heavy vehicle industries.
  • Following the tragic death of a Arzu Baglar in Melbourne in March 2017, the Federal Government failed to bring Australia’s regulations for heavy vehicles into the modern age. 

While many trucking companies are taking their own measures to reduce risks and improve fields of vision, the Federal Government has the authority to ensure more compulsory measures.    

 

Blind spot car and bike
TURNING BLIND

Many collisions between heavy vehicles and people riding bikes are caused due to blind spots. Vehicle blind spots and carelessness are a deadly combination. Here’s some ways that you, as a bike rider, stay out of harm’s way.

read more

The solution

The introduction of mandatory safe systems on heavy vehicles across Australia to protect our most vulnerable road users. 

The solution is simple: mandate technologies that assist our nation’s truck drivers in making safer traffic decisions. 

In 2015, Bicycle Network made a submission to the Inquiry into Aspects of Road Safety in Australia calling for the Federal Government to:

  • actively pursue technologies to improve the safety of heavy vehicles on our roads. 
  • implement Electronic Work Diaries to ensure compliance with fatigue laws 
  • actively pursue Phase II of the National Heavy Braking Strategy with a view to adopt a new Australian Design Rule by 2017. 

Bicycle Network continues to advocate for the protection of people riding bikes by placing pressure on state and federal governments to mandate safety technologies for heavy vehicles.   

WHAT FEATURES MAKE A TRUCK SAFER?

There are a number of internationally recognised safety features for heavy vehicles. 

Click a link below to find out more…

Devices for indirect vision

This refers to any devices for observing the traffic area adjacent to the vehicle which cannot be observed directly. Put more simply, this means any mirrors other than the conventional ‘rear-view’ mirror.

The devices of most relevance to people riding bikes are ‘Class IV’ and ‘Class V’ mirrors, which allow the driver to view areas immediately adjacent to the vehicle. These mirrors must be fitted in Australian freight vehicles.

Read more: UN Regulation No. 46 | ADR 14/03   

Blind spot information systems

Blind Spot Information Systems (BLIS) provide drivers with information about vehicles (including bikes) in the truck’s blind spots.

In most cases, the systems are radar sensors fixed to the side and rear of the vehicle, which act like electronic ‘eyes’ that alert the driver of potential risks.

Read more: UN Regulation No. 151 | ADR 105/00   

Lane departure warning systems

Lane departure warning systems will alert the driver when their vehicle is drifting out of a designated road lane. The alert may be an audible signal, a vibrating steering wheel or seat, or in some cases the vehicle may even take control and correct itself. 

Read more: UN Regulation No. 130 | ADR 99/00   

Side underrun protection

Side underrun protection (also referred to as a ‘lateral protection device’) are rails fitted to the sides of heavy vehicles that prevent vulnerable road users being pulled under the wheels in the event of a collision.

The aim of these safety features is to fill the space between the trailer and the ground, causing a person to be pushed away from the vehicle rather when a collision occurs.

Read more: UN Regulation No. 73 | ADR 106/00 Australian Trucking Assoc

Left turn audible warning devices

Audible warning devices, such as car horns, are mandatory for all Australian vehicles. Left turn audible warnings devices, in particular, can alert vulnerable road users of a vehicle’s intended manouvre.

These devices, therefore, work hand-in-hand with blind spot information systems by mitigating blind spot risks.

Read more: UN Regulation No. 28 | ADR 94/00

Australian Design Rules: the standards for making trucks

All new road vehicles must satisfy national vehicle standards, known as ‘Australian Design Rules‘ (ADR), before they enter the Australian market.

These ADRs, developed in conjunction with international vehicle regulations, set out the mandatory requirements for safety, environmental performance and theft protection.

The Australian Design Rules Development Program is managed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC), and aims to amend and develop existing ADRs and introduce new ADRs where necessary. The program is critical for mandating safer freight vehicles.

Bicycle Network actively participates in the ADR Development Program in support of ADRs that will better protect people riding bikes.

View our latest ADR submission

Latest news

Truck safety boost on offer

The Federal Government is considering introducing European truck safety standards to Australia, a move that will significantly lessen risk for bike riders on the road.

A new safety standard for heavy vehicles needed

Bicycle Network has renewed calls for mandatory safety measures that protect vulnerable road users to be included as part of Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law.

Safer garbage trucks in Melbourne City

Bustling central Melbourne will be safer for bike riders and pedestrians following the introduction of modern, low-cabin waste collection trucks.

Swapping seats for a shared understanding

Bicycle Network is working with Rail Projects Victoria to build awareness around where bike riders should position themselves around trucks.

New Federal plan for safer roads

The commonwealth government has released a new road safety action plan for the next two years, but we will have to wait to see how...

Get the truck out of the way

There are growing safety concerns associated with trucks illegally parking in bike lanes throughout Melbourne. Send us your photos to help us tackle the issue.

Construction trucks fenced in by GPS

The Melbourne Metro Tunnel project is using innovative GPS technology to keep construction vehicles on approved roads and away from bike riders.

Truck vision standards launch in London

The City of London is introducing world-leading regulations to chase out trucks with poor vision that cause many of the tragic crashes with bikes and...

Take action

Collective action makes a difference. Help us put pressure on the Federal Government to influence change and reduce the risk for vulnerable road users around heavy vehicles. The lives of people who ride are at stake.

Write to the Minister

Write to the Federal Transport Minister, The Hon. Michael McCormack MP asking to improve national heavy vehicle standards. 

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Become a member

Help make our voice even stronger so that we can influence real change in our communities and make it safer to ride. 

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