Welcome to RearView.org.uk campaigning for mandatory improvements in reversing safety equipment on ALL commercial vehicles.
RearView was launched in 2013 following the tragic and horrific death of Mike Ellis. On 2nd April 2012 Mike rode up behind an 18 tonne lorry on his motorbike, when the lorry driver decided he had missed his turning and suddenly began reversing. The road had a down-hill slope and Mike was on a heavy motorbike (and bikes have no reverse gear), so did not have time to get out of the way. The lorry reversed over him and dragged him & his motorbike under the wheels for more than 80m before the driver noticed the wheels of the bike sticking out from beneath the lorry. Mike died at the scene from multiple crush injuries. The driver was not convicted of any offence. He simply said ‘I didn’t see him.’
At the inquest, it was stated that it was the ‘responsibility of the person behind the lorry to ensure they were seen’. We will never know whether Mike tried to, or had the opportunity to, make himself seen. He was on a single track, one-way road through a rural industrial estate in the Cotswolds. To one side of the road was a wall, the other a grass verge. Mike was an experienced biker, having been riding since he was 16 years old and an instructor for many years.
If you can’t see my mirrors…
Everyone has seen the signs on the back of lorries which say ‘if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you’, but the reality is that the Police report said Mike would have had to have been more than 48m (157.5ft) behind the 30ft lorry in order for the driver to have been certain of seeing him through his mirrors on his motorbike – so if you are a cyclist or a pedestrian it is even further. How often do you leave a gap like that when stopping behind a lorry, even if you are at traffic lights or at a junction? This demonstrates that it is extremely difficult to ensure that you are seen by a lorry driver who is simply using his wing mirrors to check behind him, even if he does look thoroughly. There is no arguing the fact that all vehicles have ‘blind spots’, particularly large lorries and vans. However, it is wrong to take all the responsibility for being seen away from the driver of the vehicle. Imagine if it were a small child behind the vehicle…
So, RearView intends to campaign for a change in the law, requiring all commercial vehicles (lorries, vans etc) to have some form of reversing technology fitted. This could take the form of cameras or reversing sensors. We need to make sure that drivers can see behind them or are at least alerted to the fact there is someone/something behind them to ensure they take responsibility when making dangerous reversing manoeuvres. However, changes in legislation can take a long time to achieve and we want to start saving lives today, so in the meantime we intend to campaign to encourage drivers and operators of lorries and vans to voluntarily fit additional safety equipment to vehicles already on the road. The cost of purchasing and fitting basic rear view cameras can be as little as a tank of fuel and cameras which provide 360 degree vision are already available. These more sophisticated systems may cost more, but can reduce costs in other ways and will certainly reduce the risk of causing death or serious injury to other road users.
It is only through raising awareness of the dangers of reversing vehicles that we will succeed in getting the message through that we should not be ignoring the fact that undertaking such a manoeuvre can cause death and serious injury and yet is avoidable. Please support our campaign in any way you can to help get the message out there. Go to our Get Involved page and see what you can do so that such horrific incidents are avoided in the future
Did you know……?
- There is currently no legal requirement for all lorries in the UK to have a reversing alarm fitted
- Although there are currently plans to improve Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) blind spots to the front & side of the vehicle by the introduction of new legislation, nothing is being done to address the complete lack of vision behind Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) and HGV’s
- LGV’s up to 3.5 tonnes are most likely to be involved in a reversing collision
- In 2012 there were more than 65 reported collisions involving reversing HGV’s and LGV’s