RSA accused of faking video showing bicycles hidden in truck blindspot

A Waterford bicycle user who participated in the making of a Road Safety Authority video designed to highlight the danger of “blind spots” which can’t be seen by truck drivers says the video was faked.

He had replied to an advert posted on the Waterford Institute of Technology Facebook page and reposted on the student union page. He contacted IrishCycle.com after a large number of commenters on the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Facebook page said that the video was edited or “faked”.

The video has been viewed 118,760 times on Facebook, where the RSA has advertised the video, and around 2,000 times on YouTube.

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The red areas are known blind spots in trucks -- as the cabs of larger trucks turn the blind spots are enlarged.

BLIND SPOTS ARE REAL: This still from an older video shows red areas which are known ‘blind spots’ in trucks — as the cabs of larger trucks turn the blind spots are enlarged.


“I took part in the most recent RSA video with the truck and the cyclists and the claims [that the video was faked] are right if you would like an insight,” said Eoghan Patrick O’Hara.
The RSA video starts with the camera in driver-seat of the cab of a HGV truck, the camera looks to empty mirrors on the left hand side of the truck, before the camera person gets out of the truck and walks around to see a number of people on bicycles who were not visible in the truck’s mirrors. The video is designed to be a copy of similar video made for Transport for London.

However, with the RSA video it is claimed that the people placed at the side of the truck should have been at least partly visible in the truck’s smaller, wide-angled mirror. This is backed by the location of the RSA logo on the truck and horizontal markers on the ground behind the truck.

“Basically while the camera man was inside the cab looking in the mirror, all the cyclists were on their bikes close to the fence. During the time, while the camera man was leaving the cab and walked around, the cyclists moved into place,” said O’Hara. “In the beginning they placed us in the ‘finish’ position but it didn’t work so that was there idea that we move into place.”

He added: “I saw this on the WIT website, I got a forty euro Oneforall voucher and I have a letter from the RSA thanking me for my participation.”

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The RSA has denied that the video was faked.

A spokesman for the RSA, Brian Farrell, said; “The video was not faked. It is an adaptation of the Transport Research Laboratory video in the UK, whose permission we sought to replicate it here in Ireland.”

Farrell added: “Some support for the campaign instead of efforts to discredit it would be much appreciated and more constructive.”

The comments of the RSA’s official Facebook page have gone unchallenged by the RSA — with no engagement by the authority with commenters.

One commenter, Robert Mitten, said: “I have looked at it a few times now, in the mirror you can see the orange square on the trailer and the wheels….when the driver goes around you can see cyclists under that orange square that would have been viable. I know the point of the video but don’t need to over state it.”

Shaun Innes said: “I 100% get the point but at least make a real video!!”

One commenter, Gary Hogan, claims to be a truck driver and complains about the behaviour of those who cycle in Dublin, said “I’m a HGV driver and for one he should see then in his mirrors even where they are at the point you reveal them if his mirrors where positioned correctly as the wide angle mirror.”

Another, Lester Gale, writes: “I understand the importance of that vid and it would be very foolish to go anywhere near that truck or any other whilst it’s manoeuvring….BUT that vid is fake. The reflections in the mirrors would easily show most of those riders. (Pause it).”

Diarmuid Cogan said: “I know they’re trying to make a point but this video is complete BS! Five seconds in you can see the trailer wheels, side crash bars & surrounding tarmac fully in both mirrors, yet when the camera swings around they’re completely hidden by the cyclists.”

Here are the stills from the video:

RSA HGV1

RSA HGV3 RSA HGV2/

RSA HGV4

RSA HGV5aRSA HGV5

12 Comments

  1. It still amazes me that vehicles like those trucks, are so badly designed that they would have such big blind spots, how could they possible be legal to drive on the roads.

  2. [RSA:] Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

  3. This is the same problem the 80s anti drug campaign adverts had. They might have a good point (and taking care around HGVs is an extremely good point) but when one aspect of your campaign is an obvious lie then the entire thing is discredited.

    Personally I would not be at all surprised to discover that the mirrors are set up deliberately badly in the well known “sit in a HGV and see how useless their mirrors are” event.

    The main problem with wing mirrors is how little attention motorists pay to them. An eye flicker of a few microseconds designed to check for cars may not be enough to notice a cyclists even if they can be seen. Pointing this out wouldn’t lump all the blame on the cyclists though so it’s not as useful.

  4. There are some better New Trucks out there who have more glass Panels and the Cabs are made closer to the ground but nobody has bought them yet because of the cost. There was a Derogation from the EU of fifteen years before they would have to use more safer Trucks. I have heard this derogation has passed and yet nobody has started using the new safer Trucks. Is there information on these Trucks out there, when will they be phased in does anyone know.

    I hate those big Trucks still encounter them on the Malahide Road going into and from the Docks area. There is a few extra big ones like TKMAX and also Car Transporters. Worst time is heading home along the Malahide Road from the City where the Road is narrow opposite Kavanaghs and you encounter big HGVs.

  5. Kevin O'Farrell June 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    John, I never cycle that stretch, always preferring to divert through Marino on quite residential streets. There’s is just not enough space for safe cycling there.

  6. dublinstreams June 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    in the uk version they are much further away from the truck

  7. So, the cyclist who messaged you said that they moved from the actual blind spot to the ‘fake’ blindspot. To leave the cyclist over by the fence would have proved the same point with out the backlash.

  8. “To leave the cyclist over by the fence would have proved the same point with out the backlash.”

    I presume the greater proximity to the truck looked more striking, and more clearly dangerous.

    The expediency of moving the cyclists has ultimately probably reduced the impact of the video, but the denial really insults everyone’s intelligence, and is made worse by sanctimonious scolding.

  9. So, McDonald’s customers don’t really smile while eating their burgers, women don’t experience actual orgasms while shampooing… Even if the blind spot angle changed a bit in the editing stages, what matters, surely, is the safety message.

  10. Well, if the blind spot angle isn’t all that important, why deny they changed the position of the cyclists?

    Also, it does change the safety message, although it is to a message the RSA are equally comfortable with: cyclists are actually invisible, at all times.

  11. They should remake the video in an urban environment with the truck cutting across a cycle lane painted on the road. They could also highlight the blind area to the front of the cab. I suspect part of the problem was that they insisted that the mirrors be adjusted to perfection as it was an RSA branded truck.

  12. dublinstreams June 30, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    was this all done by the PR department? or what technical staff do they have involvedin these things?

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