Improving Road Safety: The Operation of “Cyclist Saving” Sensors for Trucks”

Posted by Priano Marchelli SPA


Milan is leading the way toward improved road safety by making the use of “cyclist-saving” sensors mandatory for trucks entering its Area B. But how do these devices that promise to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians really work? Let’s find out in this article.

Why Corners Are Blind ?

“Blind corners” are the areas around a vehicle, particularly on the sides of a truck, that cannot be directly observed by the driver. These spots pose a significant threat to bicyclists and pedestrians because the driver may not see them when maneuvering. In particular, the right blind spot of a left-hand drive vehicle is a critical spot where accidents can occur.

What the Law Says ?

While the Highway Code in Italy does not explicitly require the installation of blind spot sensors, the City of Milan has created a local rule that links this technology to Area B regulations. This means that the requirement to use “cyclist-saving” sensors is now tied to access to this restricted traffic zone.

The After Market Sensor

For trucks that are not already equipped with a standard blind spot monitoring system, there are “after market” solutions. These kits can vary widely in price, with some going as high as 5,000 euros. These systems add audible and visual warnings in the cockpit and outside the vehicle, similar to parking sensors in cars.

Exterior alerts often make sounds similar to those of heavy truck maneuvers, but can become useless in noisy urban environments. In-cab warnings, on the other hand, can be more effective, provided the driver is not overwhelmed by a myriad of visual and auditory information from various instruments.

Basic and Evolved After Market Models

Basic models of “cyclist-saving” sensors consist of additional mirrors with different angles and side proximity sensors. These sensors alert the driver with audible or visual signals if an object or cyclist approaches the blind spot while the truck is turning.

However, these solutions are not fully integrated with the vehicle and can lead to false positives or negatives, as well as can cause cognitive overload for the driver.

Models Integrated by Manufacturers

Vehicle manufacturers are introducing advanced safety systems, including blind spot sensors. For example, some trucks are equipped with central cameras that improve central visibility, which is especially useful when the cargo box obstructs the view. Other systems use distance sensors to activate automatic emergency braking in case of objects or people in the blind spot.

Integrated Turn Assistants

Another category of “cyclist-saving” sensors are “turn assistants,” which detect the presence of cyclists or pedestrians while the truck is turning. These systems are active only during turning maneuvers, making them particularly useful for avoiding accidents in these specific situations.

In conclusion, “cyclist-saving” sensors are an important step toward road safety by reducing the risk of accidents between trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians. While there are different technologies available, the main goal is to ensure greater awareness and reduce blind spots, helping to make roads safer for everyone.

Priano Marchelli SPA

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