2022-09-28

Angles Mort

I saw this on a truck (non UK plates), and they do puzzle me a bit.

For a start, it is not clear - are the black bits the death angles - in which case why the big black areas in front left and right where there is clear diver visibility? Or is it the yellow bits with the warning triangles, in which case why the bits left and right which are also clear driver visibility. It makes no sense!

But the bigger issue is how we seem to find it quite acceptable to allow death machines to be driven on the public roads like this. I mean that is what it is saying - angles mort - death angles - places where you could die even though you might be a legitimate road user legitimately in such a place on the road.

Surely if there is a dangerous machine, a machine that can kill people, we need to make it safer, including mirrors or even cameras if necessary, and driver training, to ensure there are no "death angles".

To be honest this seems a lot like victim blaming.

18 comments:

  1. And if such a warning is helpful, why, if the truck is driving on roads in the UK, is the warning not in English (or perhaps in Welsh, if driving in Wales). How many of the population here would understand what "angles mort" means?

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  2. It's probably a product of the best of French bureaucracy. I prefer the English text: "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you"..

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  3. An artic can be as long at 16.5m long. Blind spots exist in a car but they are huge in a HGV.

    The most deadly situation in an urban area is cyclists moving into a HGV's blindspots when it plans to turn.

    Technology is changing to improve this:
    - Many trucks now have a blind spot detection system.
    - All new Mercedes trucks have 360 cameras instead of mirrors to improve visibility.
    - All trucks which go into London have to have an audible announcements that they are turning left/right.
    - Signs like the one you mentioned are a tiny part of this.

    I don't think this is victim blaming, it's to help people have an awareness of the dangers people do put themselves in very dangerous situations without realising it.

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  4. Victim blaming makes it sound bad, but it’s often pretty reasonable to expect (potential) victims to mitigate risk. Lock your house when you go out, don’t leave valuables on display, etc. As long as the mitigations are reasonable, I don’t see a problem, it’s a pragmatic approach to increasing safety. In this particular case, “don’t park your bike in my blind spot,” seems like reasonable advice.

    As an aside, if we forced the issue and banned either HGVs or bicycles, I suspect we’d opt to ban the bikes from the road. Both options suck, though, so we’re left trying to make them coexist as safely as possible.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's very strange how society arbitrarily decrees that certain sensible safety precautions are "victim blaming", while others aren't.

      Nobody calls it victim blaming to suggest people invest in good quality door locks, or wear a seatbelt while driving. But for some reason when it comes to pedestrians or cyclists getting hit by cars, or young women passing out drunk on a public bench at midnight, the attitude is "I should be able to do whatever I want and it's everybody else's job to protect me!"

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  5. This is a French law - any large vehicle in France has too have these stickers, of a prescribed size and positioning, on their vehicle. So these stickers have proliferated across Europe.

    Reminds me of the (now repealed) UK law that required hideous "no smoking" signs of A4 size in the window of every establishment...

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  6. Occasionally at cycling events you get an organisation doing the "come and sit in the cab of a HGV and see how many cyclists you can't see" thing. The intention is that you come away from it learning to stay well back from lorries, but my main conclusion was that they shouldn't be allowed on the public road.

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  7. We have known for decades that this kind of truck isn't safe. The only fleet operators that care are rubbish trucks, as it was their own staff being killed, so they switched to direct vision cabs. The rest of the industry should be made to follow.

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  8. Direct vision cabs are also faster for crew to board and exit, so are attractive in refuse collection, road maintenance and traffic management applications for reasons other than safety.

    However a problem with London mandating direct vision vehicles is that older less safe vehicles are displaced from London to other cities and increase risk there.

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  9. What is a "direct vision" truck? All I can think of is they don't have mirrors so everything the driver sees is direct their eyes. But removing mirrors would like make the problem worse not better.

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  10. Direct Vision cabs still have mirrors but they have a lower seat and more glass. An example is at https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/deliveries-in-london/delivering-safely/direct-vision-in-heavy-goods-vehicles

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    1. So why are they called "direct vision" trucks then? They still have plenty of blind spots, just not as many.

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  11. Please can we step back from the bikes/cars/buses/lorries are to blame argument. All road users have a responsibility to look out for other road users. No-one has exclusive use of the road. It's a shared medium which works best when we all work together.

    Are direct vision cabs a good thing for cyclist & pedestrian safety? Yes. But there's also a responsibility on cyclists and pedestrians to be aware of what the van/lorry drivers can (and can not!) see and to avoid the blind spots.

    If you're bording a helicopter, there are certain directions you're supposed to approach from, and others which you are not supposed to approach from purely because of the field of vision of the pilot(s). (And the big whirly bits that can give you a bit of a bad day)

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    Replies
    1. Definitely, but the ones doing the killing bear far more responsibility. With great power and all that...

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    2. Apples to oranges comparison there. The user of the most dangerous vehicle bears the most responcibility. A momentary lack of judgement on the behalf of a cyclist or pedestrian should not result in their death.

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  12. I always think that the 'If you can't see my mirrors...' signs are an admission of negligence.

    Everywhere we go we are spied on by countless CCTV cameras; there are even 'Just Walk Out' Amazon and Tesco shops where CCTV works out what you've taken off the shelves and bills you automatically.

    My car has a reversing camera, many cyclists have helmet cams, but they're almost completely missing where they're really needed, on HGVs. Why do we tolerate these penny-pinching mobile death traps when effective preventative measures are readily available?

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    Replies
    1. Because until fairly recently, 360° digital TV cameras on every HGV would have been impractical or prohibitively expensive, and the alternative of banning all HGVs from public roads would have had such a disastrous effect on supply chains that we'd be too busy starving to worry about the safety of cyclists.

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  13. Running a number of trucks as my day job I can confirm that some visibility is poor, and I have a presentation showing 8 people stook around a truck none of which can be seen from the driving seat. However in normal driving the visibility is adequate as long as people don't decide to move into the blind spots - crossing in front of the truck so close that they are within inches of the front bumper or trying to sneak up the inside of a left turning truck which undertaking is not allowed in the UK anyway. More trucks are fitted with camera's now which improve vision etc but once a large vehicle is committed so a certain manoeuvrer better visibility by the driver would simply allow him to watch as hit truck / trailer mutilates the fool who didn't respect his vehicle.

    I think the key point of the signs are to make people aware that there are blind spots, what they don't do is make people aware that they have a responsibility to keep a safe distance from such vehicles which if they abide by the highway code it would not be a problem.

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