05 March 2009

Truck Stop

The City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office rigged up this truck and parked it on City Hall Square in association with a conference about heavy traffic.

It reads:
Hi Cyclist! Try out a truck and see yourself from a new angle!

Nice simple message. No need for fearmongering texts. We all understand the dangers of what the Americans call "right hooks". Even though cyclists heading straight on have the right of way over turning vehicles, it really is important to understand what it looks like from the cab of such a big truck.

With the hysterical and unscientific helmet promotion currently insulting the intelligence of the nation, it's extra important to underline that helmets won't help when you're hit by a vehicle. Therefore, highlighting vigilance and awareness while cycling is not a bad idea.

Getting the trucks out of the city is a better idea and the Copenhagen government has proposed just this but the national government refuses.

The use of the "Hej Cyklist" title and tone of the message is another incarnation of the behavourial campaign that I and copenhagenize.com developed for the City of Copenhagen. Here's more on that.


anna said...

Wow, that's really a great idea. I wish I would have the same opportunity to try that. Might not be such a problem in Copenhagen, but in Vienna most people never cycle. So I think it would also be a good idea to get people on bikes (even if they will never cycle afterwards) to show them how cyclists move in traffic. I guess that way, there would be less conflicts of cyclists with car drivers and pedestrians too.

Anonymous said...

I agree, these large trucks should be kept out of urban areas as they dramatically increase safety problems for all road users, particularly cyclists. The hostile environment then becomes an excuse for not supporting cycling as "it is too dangerous".

In Missouri, DOT has planned for new highway lanes to be used exclusively by semi-trucks. Of course they'll be able to use the common lanes designed for cars too. They're "special" in the Show Me state..

Ian said...

Here in Dublin we used to have bad problems with trucks. Then a tunnel was built between the port and the motorway that encircles the city. Our streets are mostly too narrow for Copenhagen-style separate bike lanes, so it sometimes became 'hairy' when cycling. Now there are far fewer trucks on the roads here, fortunately.

Most truck drivers are good at their job, and accidents are rarely their fault. But their vehicles have such a substantial blind spot that bicycles and trucks cannot co-exist safely on the same roads. More frieght must me moved to rail.

Christopher said...


I agree very much with the idea of "cross-training". Part of the high safety level in the Netherlands, for example, is the fact that most car drivers are also bike riders so they understand what it's like being a bike next to car traffic. This opposite idea, of giving cyclists the other viewpoint, is also very useful. I wonder whether that is also used in Dutch bicycle education? (Regular biking classes are given in Dutch schools according to the cycling researcher John Pucher, but I don't know whether this is universal or not...)

A couple of European cities have in-town cargo trams that get rid of some of the burden of heavy truck traffic in the city centres. Zurich has a garbage hauling tram and Dresden has a tram that transports parts between two Volkswagen manufacturing sites. These actually were relatively common back in the earlier 1900s, and Amsterdam had a scheme for an urban cargo tram system that would have eliminated heavy trucks in town. Unfortunately, as of last year, troubles with getting funding put the plan in limbo...

lagatta à montréal said...

It would be wonderful if cities with many existing tramlines could put goods (and rubbish) on a tram and eliminate that many trucks from the city centre.

Delivery trucks are needed for supermarkets etc but those are not typically as big as the long-haul trucks.

There is also a campaign on in Netherlands about the dead angle. "Blijf uit de dode hoek"



Parisian page on "L'angle mort": http://www.paris.fr/portail/deplacements/Portal.lut?page_id=8697&document_type_id=4&document_id=55410&portlet_id=20649&multileveldocument_sheet_id=11131