Our Fleet Drives Innovation in Cyclist Safety

By conducting a systematic review of vehicle fleets that transport our products on public roadways, we will identify industry-accepted engineering solutions to improve cyclist detection and to reduce vehicle blind spots, with the goal of preventing vehicle-cyclist collisions.

At Lafarge Canada Inc., we have committed to conduct a systematic review of all vehicles that transport our products on public roadways, to identify industry-accepted engineering solutions to improve cyclist detection and to reduce vehicle blind spots, with the goal of preventing vehicle-cyclist collisions.

Through this review, Lafarge Canada Inc. has identified four (4) priority areas for enhanced vehicle engineering, to better enable our drivers to see cyclists with whom we share the road, to better enable cyclists to proactively determine the intentions of the driver, and to allow both drivers and cyclists to take precautions to prevent on-road collisions. These priorities are: Cyclist Warning Signs, Mirrors, Auxiliary Turn Signal, Truck Side Guards.

 

Cyclist Warning Signs

Many jurisdictions globally have encouraged commercial vehicle owners to install warning signs at the rear of the vehicles, to advise cyclists and other vulnerable road users to avoid riding and/or passing trucks along their passenger side.

Due to significant traffic congestion in many urban areas throughout Canada, it is not difficult to understand the desire of a cyclist to pass along the right side of a vehicle with whom they share the road, so to get ahead of the pack. As most designated bike lanes are installed along the right curb of the roadway, this design invariably funnels cyclists along the passenger side of vehicles, where they are at greater risk of becoming involved in a collision, especially with a right-turning vehicle.

 

The inherent blind spots that exist around large commercial vehicles make it extremely difficult for drivers to detect pedestrians, cyclists or motorists positioned along their passenger side. By encouraging cyclists to remain a safe distance from the rear of the commercial vehicle, cyclists are afforded more time to anticipate the actions of the commercial vehicle traveling ahead, which allows the cyclist to alter their position and/or speed, thereby reducing the risk of collision.

Ensuring cyclists are provided with safe spacing around other vehicles on the road is essential to ensure their safety, while preserving their right to operate on the roadway.

 

 

Mirrors

Reducing the risk of on-road collision involves not only helping cyclists anticipate the actions of vehicle drivers, but also helping drivers detect cyclists and vulnerable road users positioned around their vehicles, as early as possible.

As large commercial vehicles are presented with many significant blind spots, owners / operators often equip their vehicles with additional mirrors to provide the driver with a larger field of vision. In this respect, drivers are better able to detect individuals who may be endangered by the movement of the vehicle, before it occurs. Once a cyclist is identified, the driver can position themselves to afford the cyclist adequate spacing on the roadway, thereby limiting the risk of collision.

It is not uncommon, however, for mirrors to shift out of position throughout the day, which reduces their effectiveness and the vision field of the driver. As a result, Lafarge Canada Inc. has committed to replacing all existing single-arm fender mirrors on its owned commercial vehicles, with a more rigid tripod style fender mirror.

Once installed, our fleet drivers will be provided with additional training by Lafarge's Fleet Trainers to ensure they understand how to orient their mirrors correctly, to maximize their visibility and reduce the blind spots around their vehicle to the greatest extent possible. Mirror orientation is included within Lafarge's "Blind Spot Reduction Program"

The coloured sections on the image above describe the field of vision afforded by each mirror installed on a commercial motor vehicle.

 

We believe that the new tri-pod style fender mirrors will be better able to resist incidental movement, ensuring that the mirror is always oriented in a manner that provides the driver with the greatest amount of information possible. Improved visibility and detection is the first step to reducing on-road collisions.

 

Auxiliary Turn Signals

Due to the length of most commercial vehicles, where a cyclist positions themselves along the passenger side of the vehicle on the road, ahead of the rear bumper, the cyclist is often unable to see the activated turn signal of the truck. In such circumstances, the cyclist would have no idea of the intention of the driver to attempt a right-hand turn. Moreover, the cyclist's position along the passenger side of the vehicle increases the risk that they will not be detected by the driver.

Many cyclist fatalities have occurred when cyclists are positioned at the mid-point of the truck's passenger side, while stopped at an intersection. Since the cyclist is unable to see the turn signal of the truck, and the driver has difficulty detecting the cyclist, the driver enters into a right turn without knowledge that a cyclist is located in a danger zone.

To mitigate this risk, Lafarge Canada Inc. has committed to installing an auxiliary turn signal along the passenger side of their owned commercial vehicles, to provide cyclists positioned along the vehicle's passenger side, with another cue of the driver's intention to turn, to allow the cyclist to re-position themselves further from the vehicle and avoid danger.

 

Truck Side Guards

Research has shown that the potential of a cyclist to fall under the wheels of a commercial vehicle are greatest when the cyclist is positioned along the passenger side of a truck. Many cyclist injuries and fatalities have occurred where the cyclist has attempted to overtake a right-turning vehicle, or where the driver fails to check their mirrors, and as a result the cyclist is not detected.

As a result, many jurisdictions globally have enacted laws that require commercial vehicle operators to install physical guards along the sides of the trucks, to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from falling under the wheels during a collision. These barriers, commonly referred to as "side guards" are designed to enclose the gaps in front of and between the wheels of a trailer, mixer or dump body of a commercial vehicle. In 2012, the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario released its "Cycling Death Review", within which it recommended "mandatory side guards for heavy trucks". Despite this recommendation, most provinces in Canada have not adopted such a requirement. A copy of this report is available at

http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca

In light of this information, Lafarge Canada Inc. has decided to take a leadership position on this issue, and has committed to voluntarily install truck side guards on all of its owned commercial vehicles.

Through our partnership with Innocon Inc., we have designed the "Guardian", an under-run protection system to be installed on all ready-mix concrete trucks, to prevent cyclists from falling under the wheels of the vehicle in the event of a collision. The system consists of a rigid nylon panel that is installed between the rear dual drive-axles, along with a protective barrier that runs from the second steer axle and first drive axle, located beneath the mixer drum, again to prevent individuals from falling under the truck. An image of this design is provided below.

This innovation was featured by CBC News Toronto in a news segment that originally aired on May 1, 2015. You may access this video at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/trucks-fitted-with-new-guard-could-save-cyclists-lives-1.3057155.

Despite the advent of truck side guards, these devices do not absolve drivers of their responsibility to ensure that cyclists are not positioned alongside their vehicle before they attempt a right-hand turn, by checking their mirrors frequently, and signaling their turn in advance of the intersection. Similarly, use of truck side guards do not lessen the importance that cyclists do not ride along the passenger side of a commercial vehicle, and must never attempt to overtake a commercial vehicle intending to make a right-hand turn.

Read our Sharing the Road Guide here: