'Stay back' campaign warns cyclists of truck blind spots

A new sticker campaign is warning cyclists in Ottawa to keep their distance from heavy trucks with wide blind spots.

More than 1,500 collisions involving cyclists from 2009 to 2013, killing 15 cyclists

Three private heavy truck operators in Ottawa are warning cyclists of blind spots as part of a new "Stay Safe, Stay Back" share the roads campaign. (Chloe Fedio/CBC)

A new sticker campaign is warning cyclists in Ottawa to keep their distance from heavy trucks with wide blind spots.

The decals, to be placed on the back of heavy trucks operated by Tomlinson, Karsons and Cavanagh, read, "Stay Safe, Stay Back. Past this point I can't see you."

There were more than 1,500 collisions involving cyclists between 2009 and 2013 — killing 15 cyclists and injuring more than 1,200, according to the City of Ottawa.

Heather Shearer, of the group Citizens for Safe Cycling, said that cyclists and drivers share the responsibility for road safety.

"A truck can drive up beside a cyclist or a cyclist can drive up beside a truck. They don't make good road sharing partners so it's important for each to be aware of the other, and to stay safe and stay separated so that everyone has a good trip on the roads," she said.

Ottawa police collision investigator Darwin Turner said the campaign has one, main goal.
"Less deaths on the roads of Ottawa. That's it," he said.

Campaign ads coming to buses 

The red cones around this tri axle dump truck represent the blind spots for a driver in the cab. (Chloe Fedio/CBC)
Advertisements promoting the campaign, which is a collaboration between Share the Road Cycling Coalition and the City of Ottawa, will also be posted on the back of OC Transpo buses. 

Decals could also be placed on the back of city buses, subject to council's approval, said Rob Wilkinson, the coordinator of the city's Safer Roads program.

Jeff Tomlinson, a heavy equipment supervisor at Tomlinson, said that heavy truck drivers are also trained to be aware of cyclists.
"We're including a lot of this stuff with our ongoing training. We do it yearly if not bi-yearly with our drivers, so we're raising awareness and incorporating it into our training," he said.

A similar "stay back" campaign in London, England was cancelled last year after critics argued the wording put too much onus on cyclists rather than drivers. The decals, that simply read, "cyclists stay back," where affixed to both large trucks and smaller cars.


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