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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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I just ran across the photo below on the wiki and it made me so mad that I have to voice my frustration here or I won't be able to sleep tonight.  As you folks know, I'm passionate about this problem and getting transit agencies to address it head on.  

TriMet in Portland Oregon is the agency that had the absolutely horrific accident in 2010 that involved a left turning bus where two young women were killed and three others injured when they were unfortunate enough to be crossing the street, in a crosswalk with the light in their favor, only to be hit by the TriMet bus making a left turn where the driver did not see them because of a wide A-pillar and huge left mirror used on a NFI D40LF.  I corresponded with the driver a few years later, Sandi Day, and she told me that she plain didn't see them because her vision was blocked.

So what do I see now?  TriMet has some new NFI Xcelsior electric buses that actually have a relatively thin A-pillar now (New Flyer  was sued  --see HERE-- along with TriMet by the families of the victims) but LOOK AT THE LEFT MIRROR THEY ARE USING !!!!

It's the exact mirror I've been harping about throughout this thread!!  

TriMet XE40    (courtesy of OR Transit Fan)

 

 

 

 

eta:

Again, TriMet management is really so incompetent in its thinking process.  A left mirror of that size and mounted in that position blocks the vision of a short driver or a driver that chooses to sit lower in the driver's seat as a left turn is being executed  ...especially if the pedestrian is also short.  We see so many of these accidents where it's either a woman driver (generally, women are shorter than men) and a short or shorter pedestrian  ...or a combination of both.  

You don't need to eliminate left turns.  You don't have to have talking buses that announce that the bus is turning.  All that needs to be done is to give the driver a chance to better SEE the pedestrian when making a left turn.  

Reducing the size of the left mirror and mounting it in a position so that it doesn't block the vision of the driver when making the left turn would all but eliminate these types of accidents.  These accidents happen because the driver didn't SEE the pedestrian.  They are not doing it on purpose or are they necessarily doing it because of negligent driving practices.  Transit agencies should help their drivers SEE those pedestrians by attempting to eliminate as much as they can, the obstacle(s) that are blocking the driver's vision  ...namely the left mirror housing and the A-pillar.  

Using a smaller left mirror and purchasing buses with narrower A-pillars is what is needed as it gives the driver an adequate chance to SEE the pedestrian.

Yes, it's the driver's responsibility to rock-and-roll or bob-and-weave in the seat as they are making the turn.  But as I've said several times in this thread, I WAS rocking-and-rolling in the seat and STILL didn't see the pedestrian in the two close calls I had. 

 

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3 hours ago, M. Parsons said:

Thanks for posting.  I can't tell you how much it hurts to see these accidents continue to happen especially when discovering that an agency continues to use the exact mirror and mounting position that just increases the chances of a driver not seeing a pedestrian crossing the street.

The bus involved in this accident was Edmonton Transit System coach 4790, an NFI D40LFR.  Edmonton Transit continues to use one of the longer/ taller left mirrors and some are mounted where they can block the vision of a driver seeing a pedestrian crossing the street as the bus is making a left turn.    

This is the classic example:  a lady innocently crossing the street with a green light inside a crosswalk.  The driver did not hit this pedestrian on purpose.  I'm certain that his/her report will state something similar to "I just didn't see the pedestrian in time to stop."  Transit agencies can help their bus drivers by using a smaller left mirror and mounting it in a lower position so it doesn't block vision while making a left turn but some just don't see the necessity for doing so. 😧

Screenshot_2020-04-15 Woman killed after being struck by transit bus in northeast Edmonton.png

2Screenshot_2020-04-15 Woman killed after being struck by transit bus in northeast Edmonton(1).png

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14 hours ago, roamer said:

Thanks for posting.  I can't tell you how much it hurts to see these accidents continue to happen especially when discovering that an agency continues to use the exact mirror and mounting position that just increases the chances of a driver not seeing a pedestrian crossing the street.

The bus involved in this accident was Edmonton Transit System coach 4790, an NFI D40LFR.  Edmonton Transit continues to use one of the longer/ taller left mirrors and some are mounted where they can block the vision of a driver seeing a pedestrian crossing the street as the bus is making a left turn.    

This is the classic example:  a lady innocently crossing the street with a green light inside a crosswalk.  The driver did not hit this pedestrian on purpose.  I'm certain that his/her report will state something similar to "I just didn't see the pedestrian in time to stop."  Transit agencies can help their bus drivers by using a smaller left mirror and mounting it in a lower position so it doesn't block vision while making a left turn but some just don't see the necessity for doing so. 😧

Particularly bad on an LFR, which has a larger corner pillar than older D40LFs, and newer X40s.

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https://globalnews.ca/news/6821967/edmonton-118-avenue-50-street-serious-collision/

Quote

The collision remains under investigation, but Bradshaw told Global News the issue of blind spots for ETS bus drivers has been an ongoing issue in Edmonton.

“We’re not sure yet whether or not the blind spot issue was a factor in this tragedy. We will be looking into that,” said Bradshaw.

The union president said two other deadly collisions in 2016 involving ETS buses in crosswalks prompted the city to investigate and do a trial test of a mirror on a bus.

“In the end, they didn’t go forward with it,” Bradshaw said. “Maybe it’s time we take it forward again. We’ll see, we don’t know yet as I said.

Bradshaw said the union wants to move forward and work with the city to find a solution to blind spot problems.

This televised version of the story referenced 2 other previous incidents of buses striking pedestrians in October 2016 and November 2016.

https://globalnews.ca/video/6830548/fatal-edmonton-transit-bus-pedestrian-collision-under-investigation

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5 hours ago, northwesterner said:

Particularly bad on an LFR, which has a larger corner pillar than older D40LFs, and newer X40s.

Yes! Definitely.  I've always been angry at the LFR windshield design with its thick pillar.  The Xcelsior's pillar design was a definite improvement.  

I initially thought that the Xcelsior's design was a result of the law suit that came about from the horrific 2010 TriMet accident that killed two and injured three others in a left-turn accident where the driver did not see the group legally crossing the street because her vision was blocked by the left mirror housing and A-pillar.  However, the Xcelsior was designed much before that accident happened.  

BTW, as I said in my post of 21 February, I'm so angry at TriMet.  They still use a huge left mirror despite what happened in 2010.  Evidently, on their Xcelsiors, they use a mirror of the same dimensions and mounting position as Edmonton ...example HERE.

"TriMet "has not gone anywhere near far enough to address the problems that this has exposed," Pope said.

The transit agency still trains its drivers to make unsafe turns, he said. The driver's side mirror also creates a dangerous blind spot for bus operators and should be repositioned, he said."

From article updated Jan 10, 2019:

Despite $4 million settlement in fatal Portland bus crash, TriMet safety problems persist, lawyers say

 

 


 

14 minutes ago, A. Wong said:

https://globalnews.ca/news/6821967/edmonton-118-avenue-50-street-serious-collision/

This televised version of the story referenced 2 other previous incidents of buses striking pedestrians in October 2016 and November 2016.

https://globalnews.ca/video/6830548/fatal-edmonton-transit-bus-pedestrian-collision-under-investigation

Very interesting!  Thank you. 

 

“We’re not sure yet whether or not the blind spot issue was a factor in this tragedy."

Gimme a break!  I'll bet my life on the fact that it was "the blind spot"  ...like I mentioned, a driver doesn't purposely run into a pedestrian legally crossing the street inside a crosswalk with a green light!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparison of the three NFI coaches, LF, LFR, and Xcelsior:

 

LF.png

LFR.png

X.png

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3 hours ago, roamer said:

BTW, as I said in my post of 21 February, I'm so angry at TriMet.  They still use a huge left mirror despite what happened in 2010.  Evidently, on their Xcelsiors, they use a mirror of the same dimensions and mounting position as Edmonton ...example HERE.

They only have a couple of those NFIs... and I suspect they are based off of someone else's specs. Their Gillig LFs, which are the majority of their fleet, have a different mirror set-up.

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Quote

Bus design may be factor in Edmonton pedestrian deaths: transit union

A long-standing design flaw that creates blind spots for bus drivers may have played a role in the latest pedestrian death, the president of Edmonton’s transit union says.

On April 15, a 69-year-old woman died after an Edmonton Transit bus struck her while turning left onto 118 Avenue near 50 Street. Edmonton Police Service spokeswoman Cheryl Sheppard said the woman was in the crosswalk with a walk signal when she was hit.

“There may be a blind spot issue in this case,” Local 569 president Steve Bradshaw said. “We’re not certain yet. We’re waiting for the investigation to be completed.”

In the past decade, there have been four pedestrian fatalities involving ETS buses, including the one on April 15.

In October 2016, an 83-year-old woman walking in a crosswalk near West Edmonton Mall was struck by a bus. A month later, a 13-year-old girl was hit behind the Clareview Walmart at an intersection that had traffic lights and a marked crosswalk. Both buses were making left-hand turns.

Article content continued
A similar incident happened in 2011.

The transit union put the blame on what they call massive blind spots on the New Flyer buses.

Rowan Anderson, a spokesman with the City of Edmonton, said in an email it was too early to speculate on what caused the April 15 incident. He said the city is fully cooperating with police and conducting its own review.

“Our bus operators undergo extensive ongoing professional training regarding the safe operation of a bus,” Anderson said. “We also have an extensive and ongoing operator evaluation program that involves regular operator assessments.”

He said the city follows safety regulations outlined by Transport Canada and all public transit buses in Canada are designed and manufactured to meet strict safety standards.

Bradshaw said the design hasn’t changed since 1997.

“Those buses do meet national standards but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them better,” he said. “It seems to us, visibility is not the highest priority. Take, for example, the entry door at the front of the bus. About 45 per cent of the door is glass, the rest is … not see-through. There are some buses with full glass doors for greater visibility. We would love to have those.”

The union represents between 2,400 and 2,600 members.

jlabine@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jefflabine

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/bus-fatalities/

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4 hours ago, A. Wong said:

Thanks, A. Wong !

The article didn't mention the left mirrors, however.  I may write to the reporter and have him view this thread.  And maybe to Bradshaw too.

Although bus manufacturers have some responsibility in making the windshield A-pillar as thin as possible, Edmonton Transit, in my opinion, is derelict by using those mirrors.   Believe me, it makes a world of difference by not having the mirror housing blocking your vision being mounted at eye-level when making a left turn in a bus.  Being able to easily see over the left mirror housing is the difference between night and day  ...or it was for me. 

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I Have Designed Some Fictional Models Of A Blind Spot Mirror System.

 

Simply 2 Electronic Screens Hooked Up To 2 Cameras, Acting As A Blind Spot Camera. It Can Be Installed On The Dashboard, Or Connected To The Mirrors.

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