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Advice for drivers of large vehicles | Driving around cyclists | Birmingham City Council

Advice for drivers of large vehicles

Cyclists and drivers of large vehicles, especially HGVS, have equal right to use the highway, but they are very different! Their difference in size means there are particular safety issues faced by cyclists and HGV drivers. Cyclists and lorry drivers may not have first-hand experience of using the others’ vehicle.

Cyclists should read our advice for cycling on the road.

Download ‘exchanging places’ guide

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 space be safe - hold back until there’s room

If you cannot give a cyclist at least 1.5m clearance when passing, 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.

Remain Alert

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.

Look left

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.

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.

Get accredited

Consider joining a CLOCS or FORS accreditation scheme for industry standard advice and support. Cyclist awareness training is also available for drivers.

More information

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 'HGV cycle safety' video or the Metropolitan Police 'exchanging places' video.