truck straddling middle of road

Nearside, the danger zone

Heavy vehicles have an awful safety record for their impact on other road users, through a combination of limited visibility and manoeuvrability along with their robust construction and weight even with their professional drivers taking the utmost care they still represent an inflated risk to other road users. But with the large majority of crashes involving heavy vehicles not the fault of its driver we have to look at how other drivers behave around them.

Here is a short video of a cyclist coming across a heavy vehicle

Coming behind a truck travelling slowly the cyclist chooses to overtake to the left (only bicycles are permitted to overtake on the left within a lane) just as the truck enters the left turning corner. Noticing the cyclist the truck driver has then moved even further out from the kerb to provide enough space for the cyclist to safely pass ending up with the truck straddling the centre line of the road.

truck straddling middle of road

Blocking any oncoming traffic which might arrive, so that the cyclist can save a few seconds by passing earlier. As is common for long vehicles the truck is displaying the standard sign reminding drivers that it sweeps a wider turn and the long rigid section can overhang into adjacent lanes when making turns.

sign: DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE

(1A) A driver must not drive past, or overtake, to the left of a vehicle displaying a do not overtake turning vehicle sign unless
a) the driver is driving on a multi-lane road and the vehicle can be safely overtaken in a marked lane to the left of the vehicle; or
b) the vehicle is turning right, or making a U-turn from the centre of the road, and is giving a right change of direction signal and it is safe to overtake to the left of the vehicle; or
c) the vehicle is stationary and it is safe to overtake to the left of the vehicle.

This is to allow large vehicles to pull away from obstructions before making a left turn. It becomes clearer by overlaying the medium rigid vehicle turning template atop the standard “car” template.

vehicle turning temples overlapping from adjacent lanes

A road with spacious width for two cars is unable to fit cars passing under a medium sized truck and only gets worse as the truck gets longer. What should be fundamental driving skills for ones own safety still don’t get through to everyone. This foolish cyclist completes the demonstration of their indifference to the road rules continuing through the stop sign without stopping or hesitation, all for a few precious seconds of time saving.

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