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Truck and Bus Driver Education

SAFETY TIPS FOR TRUCK AND BUS DRIVERS

Heavy commercial vehicles are the lifeblood of this country, transporting goods across provinces and between towns. Unfortunately the increase in commercial road traffic has coincided with an uptake in cycling as both a recreational hobby and mode of daily transport. This has meant an increase in commercial vehicle/cycling accidents and, as you’d expect, there’s only one road user who pays the price in an incident like this … and often with their lives.

The accidents may be caused by a momentary lapse of concentration by either party, but the fact is that cyclists are amongst the most vulnerable road users and, as South Africa’s largest cycling association, we have some crucial info that will help responsible bus and truck drivers keep cyclists alive and safer on the road:

TREAT CYCLISTS LIKE ANY OTHER VEHICLE ON THE ROAD

They are traveling faster than you think.

A cyclist can easily travel over 30 km/h and sometimes over 80 km/h on a downhill, you need to factor that in when turning in front of an oncoming cyclist.

Exercise caution.

If you’re not sure of a cyclist’s intentions, slow down rather than risking a wrong assumption.

At night.

Use dipped headlights when approaching cyclists as you would when approaching any other road user.

Traffic circles.

Take special care on roundabouts, you must give way to any vehicle, including cyclists approaching from the right.

Be patient.

Rather than squeezing past or getting impatient, be prepared to wait behind a cyclist turning in the same way you would for a car

TURNING & CHANGING LANES

Be especially aware at intersections.

Most cyclist and truck/bus crashes happen when vehicles turn at the traffic lights or other sections. Cyclists are more vulnerable than other road users and more likely to be harmed in a crash.

Signal your intentions early.

Use your indicator as early as possible when you want to move left or right. A cyclist right next to you or in front of you cannot see your indicators. Check again to make sure the way is clear and steer gradually into the new lane, maintaining the same speed or gently increase it.

Expect cyclists in unexpected places.

Especially when you are turning. Watch out for cyclists coming up on your near side when turning left or moving over to the left. Please check your mirrors and blind spots carefully. Remember your vehicle is huge in comparison with a cyclists; an adult may only be the height of your wheels.

Don’t overtake … and then turn.

If you are planning to turn, allow any cyclist ahead of you to pass the junction rather than overtake them and turn sharply across their front wheel.

Be careful when swinging out wide to turn left.

Most cyclist and truck/bus crashes happen when vehicles turn at the traffic lights or other sections. Cyclists are more vulnerable than other road users and more likely to be harmed in a crash.

Look for cyclists on your left hand side.

If you even only suspect that they are there, pause to let them get out of your way, especially when pulling away.

Plan ahead.

When driving towards a road junction, look further ahead and scan left to right as you continue to drive forward. That way you will see things through the windscreen before they become lost behind the pillars.

Stay alert.

Cyclists may weave through slow traffic.

WHEN STATIONARY

Check your blind spot.

If you have passed a cyclist just before approaching a robot, driveway bus stop or junction, it is very likely that they will end up on your left hand side or just in front of you. Assume the cyclist is in one of your blind spots.

How to find your blind spots.

Check and adjust your mirrors to find your blind spots. Turn your head to look over your shoulder before changing lanes, passing, and turning or before opening your door when parked next to traffic.

When you park.

Check your door mirror and look behind you before opening the door to make sure you do not hit a cyclist.

Do not park in cycle lanes.

You could be forcing a cyclist into a dangerous situation by making them edge into traffic. You’ll also be committing a road traffic offence if you drive or park in a cycle lane marked with a solid white line.

OVERTAKING

Give as much space as practically possible

Give a cyclist at least one metre when overtaking a bike, they may have to move out towards the middle of the lane to avoid hazards like drains, potholes or debris on the road.

You can cross the solid line.

Did you know that when overtaking a cyclist (and provided it is safe and there’s no oncoming traffic), you are allowed to cross the solid white line.

Don’t overtake if the road ahead narrows.

Cyclists are often travelling faster than you think and you could end up squeezing them off the road.

In the rain.

Allow cyclists extra room in wet weather, as surfaces will be wet and slippery.

Certain scenic routes are highly populated with cyclists.

Roads along Chapmans Peak, into Hout Bay, Cape Point and Camps Bay are often used by cyclists, especially in the summer months. Do not try to squeeze past cyclists the road is not wide enough

AND OF COURSE, PLEASE REMEMBER THE BASICS

Stay alert.

Your life and the life of other road users depend on your alertness and reactions in an emergency. Respect the legal requirements related to driving and rest times. Do not continue driving if you feel drowsy rather STOP

Alcohol and drugs.

Please don’t drink alcohol before, during driving or take any kind of drugs or medication. It may impair your driving skills.

No phones.

It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving.

Always maintain your vehicle.

Inspect your vehicle before each trip and check your brakes regularly. Learn how to inspect your brakes, identify safety defects, and get them repaired before risking your life and others on the road.

The most important part of a moving truck or bus is the driver!

Our contact details

For more information on how to share the road visit wc.influx.co.za

Pedal Power Association National Office

Unit U Greenford Office Park, Punters Way, Kenilworth, Cape Town

Tel 021 671 3478 or email liz@pedalpower.org.za