We work in partnership with West Midlands Police on the Exchanging Places programme, raising awareness of cycle safety around Heavy Goods Vehicles. Cyclists are invited to sit in the cab of a large vehicle to see first hand the significant blind spots where cyclists cannot be seen, while HGV drivers are given advice on how to drive to minimise the risks to cyclists.
There are a number of good videos online showing the different perspectives of cyclists and lorry drivers. We recommend watching Transport for London's HGV Cycle Safety video or the Metropolitan Police's Exchanging Places video.
Details of any forthcoming Exchanging Places events, where members of the public have the chance to sit in the cab of an HGV and see what the driver sees, will be posted on the Birmingham Cycle Revolution news and events page.
Top Tips for Cyclists
Drivers of lorries and other large vehicles might not be able to see you clearly, so stay well back behind them. If you cycle on the left-hand side of a lorry you are in the driver’s blind spot. If the lorry turns, it is difficult for drivers of large vehicles to see you. Stay well back and ensure that you can see the lorry’s mirrors – then they driver can see you.
Avoid blind spots
Lorries have blind spots in front of the cab, on both sides and behind the vehicle. Be aware of these and don’t stop anywhere where the driver may not be able to see you.
Make eye contact
Always try to communicate by making eye contact with other road users to make sure you have been seen.
Look around you
Check what is happening all around you at all times. Look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, potholes and parked vehicles, so that you do not have to swerve suddenly to avoid them. Check over your shoulders too. Planning ahead helps to keep you safe on the road.
Make sure you can hear the traffic around you. Many vehicles have warnings to tell you they are turning left.
Don’t be floored by doors
Leave plenty of room (about 1.5m, or a car door width) when passing parked vehicles. Always watch out for doors being opened into your path.
Ride on the road, not in the gutter!
Road position is important to keep you safe; you should not be less than one metre from the kerb. Keeping away from the gutter will enable drivers to see you. You will also avoid drain covers and debris in the gutter. Take extra care to hold your position over road humps and other traffic calming features. Don’t be afraid to ride in the middle of your traffic lane (the primary position) if there’s not enough room for a car to overtake you.
Make your intentions clear!
Look around, signal well in advance, and only manoeuvre when it is safe to do so. Hold signals for as long as you can do so safely. Stop signalling when you make your turn.
Lights and being seen!
By law, when it is dark or there is bad visibility you must have lights on the front and rear of your bike. Always carry spare small lights or batteries and make sure you wear hi-visibility clothing.
Remember, fluorescent by day and reflective at night.
Training can improve your confidence when cycling on the roads and can help you to position yourself correctly on the road and around other vehicles. Visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/bbb for information on free courses throughout Birmingham.
Remember, large vehicles move to the right before turning left, so make sure you are positioned correctly.
Top Tips for HGV Drivers
Respect other road users
Remember that cyclists are road users too and have the same rights as motorised vehicles.
Adjust your mirrors
Always ensure your mirrors are adjusted to suit your driving needs and to minimise blind spots. Check and clean them as part of your daily walk-round check.
‘Give a metre’ or hold back until there’s room
If you cannot give a cyclist at least a metre’s passing clearance then hold back. Bear in mind that cyclists are trained not to ride too close to the kerb. The Highway Code advises that you should give at least as much room as when overtaking a car. Be careful not to pull back in too early after overtaking.
Look over the dashboard
There is a large blind spot at the front of HGVs. Always take a moment to look over the dash board, even if you have a class VI mirror.
Keep looking around you all the time and avoid distractions, this is particularly important on busy urban roads. Remember that, especially in stationary traffic, cyclists and pedestrians may weave through queues. Keep checking your mirrors and noticing what is around you. If a cyclist enters your blind spot, keep an eye out for them leaving it.
Always use your indicators, even if you don’t think there’s anyone there! Indicate early, i.e. when cyclists are still behind you and most able to see your indicators. Check your mirrors and keep checking, especially when turning.
Most cyclist and HGV collisions happen when vehicles turn left at traffic lights or other junctions. Always double check your nearside mirrors when turning left and be cautious in case a cyclist is in your blind spot.
Park with care
Do not park in cycle lanes – you could be forcing cyclists into dangerous situations. When exiting your vehicle, always check behind you before opening your door to ensure it doesn’t swing into the path of a cyclist.
Get the right kit
Consider adding extra safety equipment to your vehicle. This includes audible warning devices, various mirror/visibility modifications, warning signage, and side guards or sensors. These can all improve the safety of cyclists near your vehicle.
Download these top tips as a PDF leaflet: