This safer cyclist-friendly truck design could save many lives
As I wrote in my post about the 'Supertruck': "Even if you've never driven a single mile in your entire life, a lot of what you own and what you eat has spent hundreds of miles inside a truck." We can reduce their number by putting more freight on trains and making cargo-bike deliveries when possible, but chances are that there will be many trucks on the road for the foreseeable future (trains will never go all the way to the back of your local Whole Foods). This means that large trucks should be made as safe as possible for pedestrians and cyclists, which is what the London Cyclist Campaign has tried to do with its 'Safer Urban Lorry' design.
Half the cyclist deaths in Greater London involve lorries, even though they make up only 5% of the traffic. A large proportion of pedestrian fatalities in urban areas also involve lorries.
The most common response from lorry drivers after a fatal crash is to say they didn’t see the victim in the moments leading up to the crash.
Making things better is not rocket science, really. You give the drive much better downward visibility and you put side-guards that prevent people from going under the rear wheels (as we've written about here). If you want to go more high-tech, you can also put cameras in all the remaining blind spots. Even more high-tech would be sensors and software that detects the presence of pedestrians and cyclists around the truck and alerts the driver if they're about to make a dangerous move.
As you can see in this image that simulates a driver's point of view, visibility is much better compared to the imag below where the cyclist isn't even visible.
This view of the side shows very well how dangerous designs without side-guards are.
All of these changes should be mandatory. They aren't even expensive.