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roamer

The Deadly "Blind Spot" on Transit Buses

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Interesting indeed!  Thanks for posting.   

Perhaps some North American properties will start to experiment this this technology in the coming decade.  I'm thinking this will be common in the future   

It will also give the bus more clearance as mirrors essentially make the bus at least a foot wider.  

Poor placement of right mirrors often hit pedestrians in the head as they stand along the curb.  

Left mirrors are often hit by passing vehicles.  I used to pull my left mirror as close to the side of the bus as I could get it and still I've had it taken off by trucks when stopped in a zone loading passengers.  

I've had side view cameras on Class A pusher motorhomes I've owned and never used them since I've been so accustomed to using mirrors properly but actual dedicated cameras used exclusively for viewing what we normally see out of the physical mirrors might be a great alternative.  I'd sure like to drive a bus with them to see exactly how they function.  

The only problem I see is if an electrical glitch should happen, you could find yourself in a situation with no "mirrors" at all. 

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This tech has been adopted by many manufacturers in Europe. Solaris has been offering it for a while, MAN offers it as OptiView and Mercedes debuted it on their trucks and buses last year. I don't know if they produce it in house or source it elsewhere, but the Orlaco MirrorEye looks quite close to what is fitted on their vehicles. 

Provided the interior display is positioned appropriately, it significantly reduces the risk of a ped-bus incident. And I would assume on trucks and highway coaches, there are some fuel saving benefits. 

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1 hour ago, Doppelkupplung said:

This tech has been adopted by many manufacturers in Europe. Solaris has been offering it for a while, MAN offers it as OptiView and Mercedes debuted it on their trucks and buses last year. I don't know if they produce it in house or source it elsewhere, but the Orlaco MirrorEye looks quite close to what is fitted on their vehicles. 

Provided the interior display is positioned appropriately, it significantly reduces the risk of a ped-bus incident. And I would assume on trucks and highway coaches, there are some fuel saving benefits. 

Great comments.  

I remember reading where some school buses were experimenting with Optiview cameras for viewing down the side of the bus but it was similar to a motorhome setup where it was a supplementary system in addition to mirrors that you had to view on a screen located adjacent to the instrument panel.  That is actually a distracting situation.  That's why I disabled the side-view cameras on the motorhomes I've owned.  Their cameras came from a U.S. company named Optivew  ...this ONE

However, I think the Mercedes Optiview is something different as I know in the motorhome market, they are using the term Optiview as a comprehensive driver information package.  Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation which is also a division of Daimler has been using such a named system since last year on higher end motorhomes  ...FCCC is the prominent chassis maker of diesel pusher motorhomes in the U.S.   Their OptiView instrumentation was designed in collaboration with Mercedes  ...go HERE

l'm going to do some research on those buses in Europe using a dedicated side-view camera to see how successful it's been.  I've had these photos bookmarked of a futuristic Mercedes bus but never really paid much attention to the mirorrs --or lack thereof.  Now I'm going to keep myself more aware of how this technology is being used.  

Inside

Outside

Thank you!

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4 hours ago, roamer said:

However, I think the Mercedes Optiview is something different as I know in the motorhome market, they are using the term Optiview as a comprehensive driver information package.  Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation which is also a division of Daimler has been using such a named system since last year on higher end motorhomes  ...FCCC is the prominent chassis maker of diesel pusher motorhomes in the U.S.   Their OptiView instrumentation was designed in collaboration with Mercedes  ...go HERE

 

This is interesting because Freightliner has been rolling out their newer Cascadia Evos over the past year or so, and recently the eCascadia, and I haven't seen either with the digitzed cameras. I would have thought they would've tried it here in the North American market, since Daimler released it on the Actros in Europe. Must be a reason though, perhaps its for fear of cluttering the interior too much with the screens; I think European cabs are slightly wider than North American ones.  

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MUNI has exterior cameras instead of mirrors on their newest Siemens LRVs.

The operators are having a really hard time with them, the apeture of the camera does not have the same range as the human eye. When the sun is directly on the camera, the screens wash out completely, whereas with a mirror you can still see shadows contrasting against the light.

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This story from Fresno California yesterday is reporting that a city bus driver who was involved in a left-turn fatality accident is heading for trial for felony charges.  The felony he's accused of has more to do with the fact that he didn't stop as he claims he didn't know he hit somebody.

pedestrian killed -- FAX driver who killed pedestrian headed for trial

This accident happened almost two years ago but the reason I feel the need to add this post is the short clip included in the news article below from January 2018 shows exactly the type of accident that this thread is describing  

News article with short video clip showing accident

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On 12/6/2019 at 3:06 PM, captaintrolley said:

Your posting of this event is appreciated, captaintrolley.  It is indeed sad to see another innocent pedestrian killed by a left-turning transit bus.  I hope you'll post again if you hear of any updates as to the details of this accident.

I was curious to see what kind of left mirror Fort McMurray Transit uses so I took a peek at the wiki.  I'm posting this because --once again-- it is an example of a transit agency that continues to use the exact mirror configuration I'm so opposed to.  It's one that could block the vision of the driver when making a left turn should he or she have a short torso or intentionally sits low in the driver's seat.   

It angers me that transit agencies continue to use this mirror mounted in such a position.

file photo from M. Parsons

Both their NFI Xcelsior and D40LF coaches appear to use the mirror and configuration I've been harping about for the past few years on this thread.  It's an example of what transit agencies should NOT be using.

Thanks, Captaintrolley  ...and Martin

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Although no description has stated this was a left-turning-bus accident, from the photos and videos, it clearly was.  It involved a SamTrans bus in San Mateo county, Redwood City, California.

A lady was killed while crossing the street within the crosswalk when a left turning bus killed her.  The coach appears to be a NABI articulated coach with a large square left mirror mounted in a higher position than it should be.   


Pedestrian Struck, Killed By Samtrans Bus Near Redwood City Transit Center
 

SamTrans bus strikes, kills pedestrian in Redwood City
 

KTVU video - YouTube
 

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Roamer, you have created a helluva database for these accidents. Thank you for your efforts!

I would love to see a journalist write a long story about this problem and how it is occurring all over and needs to be addressed.

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23 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

Roamer, you have created a helluva database for these accidents. Thank you for your efforts!

I would love to see a journalist write a long story about this problem and how it is occurring all over and needs to be addressed.

Thanks, MAX BRT.  Had it not been for your suggestion five years ago, I would not have thought of using this forum for chronicling these "left-turning-transit-bus-hitting-pedestrians" -type of accidents. 

As I've stated several times during the course of this discussion, it's an extreme concern of mine because I had two incidences of coming within inches of hitting a pedestrian while making a left turn in a transit bus. Yes, I realize that after the first one that there shouldn't have been a second close call but this is what concerns me.  Even though I was "rocking-and-rolling" in the seat while making the turn*, I still missed initially seeing the pedestrians.  I look back on those two incidences, both so clearly in my mind, knowing that it was for by-the-grace-of-God that I did not create a news story like the drivers did in these chronicled occurrences posted in this thread as I was able to see the pedestrian in time to stop by rocking-and-rolling in the seat but still coming within a inch or two of making contact  ...way too close to being anywhere comfortable.  

* rocking-and-rolling is the term transit agencies use to instruct drivers how to see around this massive blind spot created by a faulty-positioned left mirror head and A-pillars that are much wider than necessary on modern transit buses.  Mirror heads and A-pillars used on transit buses back when I first started driving buses in the 1970s did not present these problems or at least not in the same manner that they did until the arrival of the Gillig Phantoms and similar buses in the 1990s.  That is about the same time transit agencies started using these unnecessarily large mirror heads mounted at a driver's eye-height.

But yes, several reporters have done features on this problem.  And as mentioned earlier, the Amalgamated Transit Union is now fully aware of the problem and has been putting pressure on transit agencies to 1) use smaller left mirror heads and mount them in a lower position, and 2) work with bus manufacturers to design buses that have thinner A-pillars.  

I am seeing that some transit agencies are retrofitting their left mirrors by using a smaller head unit and mounting them lower but am also observing some agencies still using the old larger mirror head and leaving it at a driver's eye-height.  

Although it seems that these left-turning-transit-bus-pedestrian accidents are decreasing in frequency, it is obvious that they are still happening.  I believe that ATU's campaign should be more widespread and forceful.  Put pressure on agencies to retrofit the left mirror  ...stage a walk-out if necessary!

I believe that all transit agencies should be retrofitting their fleets with smaller left mirrors that are mounted in a position that ANY driver operating the bus can see OVER the left mirror head so that the rock-and-roll shouldn't have to be as dramatic as it is to see around BOTH the mirror head and the A-pillar.  

Thanks again MAX BRT. 

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