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Pedestrian and Cyclist Safe Truck

No truck driver enjoys driving in dense urban traffic. The high mounted seats, limited side and rear visibility, and near-impossibility to see right made every moment in urban areas a tense moment. Who can forget the story back in 2007 when a Michigan wheelchair user, unseen by the big rig driver, was pushed onto the freeway at 50 mph for 4 miles? Fortunately, the push to implement driverless cars has spurred many innovations in the sensor arena, which by combining multiple types of sensors, can detect pedestrians, cyclists, and animals, as well as anticipate their movements to warn the driver of imminent collisions. 

Continental, yes, the tire company, also has an automotive division, and they have been testing safety systems for years. According to Continental, 92% of all right-hand-turn accidents in Europe involve cyclists. To minimize this, Continental has telematics system, currently deployed on its testbed truck, that can combine inputs from separate camera, lidar, and radar systems, which can be placed all around the truck, and depending on the location context, adjusted for different inputs. If you are making a right turn, the auxiliary screens can automatically switch to views on the fender right corner, for example. With systems like this, there will be virtually no blind spots. Furthermore, a truck will no longer require mirrors when they are replaced with cameras, improving aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. 

Until those features become available there is something you can do now to make your trucks and rigs more cyclist and pedestrian friendly today: deploy "side guards" on your trailers and box trucks. Indeed, some American cities such as Boston already require them. The side guards basically lower the "sides" of the vehicle so it's too low to a bicycle's wheel to go between it and the ground. UK already saw noticeable benefits when it started requiring side guards on most new trucks since 1986. Furthermore, it also makes the vehicle more aerodynamic, which also saves fuel. 


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