Opening eyes to trucks‘ blind zones in Tauranga

Andrew Thorpe with the Welcome Bay Wheelers cycle group who attended the Blindzone demonstration on Tuesday. Supplied photo.

Awareness, positioning, control and good decision making were the main takeaways for attendees after the Blindzone demonstrations at Tauranga Marina Bridge carpark.

The free event on Tuesday by Share the Road and Travel Safe are part of an ongoing education initiative for Tauranga road users.

Trucks have several blind spots (also known as blind zones) that prevent a driver’s view of cyclists, motorcycles, cars and even larger vehicles.

The demonstrations allowed anyone an opportunity to sit in the driver's seat of a big truck to learn just where you can and can't be seen.

In previous demonstrations the local fire brigade showed up and attendees were shocked to find that not just a bike, but an entire fire engine could hide in a truck’s blind zone!

A steady stream of about 80 participants filtered through over the course of the morning demonstrations, all patiently awaiting their turn to see the road from a truck’s eye view.

Tauranga City Council acting director transport Russell Troup acknowledges the importance of ongoing education for all road users and was encouraged to see such a large turnout.

“It’s great to see so many Tauranga road users of all ages show up today to learn more about safely sharing the road. Initiatives like this are a fantastic way to better understand each other’s experiences,” says Troup.

This sentiment was echoed by Share the Road campaign manager Richard Barter who hopes the knowledge gained can be practically applied in the future.

“We really hope this experience has improved people’s understanding of blind zones and given them some ideas about how to change their behaviour when riding a bike or driving near heavy vehicles,” says Barter.

In addition to the Blindzone demonstrations, the Share the Road team will be holding six Share the Road Toolbox workshops with local truck companies and bus operators in late May and early June.

Using a simulated full-size road environment, drivers learn what safe passing and following feels like from a cyclist’s perspective.


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