The Open Transportation Journal

ISSN: 1874-4478 ― Volume 14, 2020

Collisions Between Pedestrians and Reversing Vehicles in Public Settings in France

Thierry Brenac*, Jean-Yves Fournier
IFSTTAR, TS2, LMA, French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks; Department of Transport Health and Safety, F-13300 Salon-de-Provence, France



Collisions between pedestrians and reversing vehicles in public settings have received little attention in France. Yet, according to the national statistics on traffic accidents, reversing vehicles are involved in 6.5% of the 11,700 pedestrian accidents recorded each year (over the 2008-2015 period). Moreover, this proportion is probably underestimated in these statistics.


This work aims to provide a brief assessment of this problem in the French case, in quantitative and qualitative terms.


A random sample of 882 police reports on pedestrian accidents occurring in public settings in France was studied to identify the reversing collisions among them. Then, the reversing accidents found (61 cases) were thoroughly analysed to improve our knowledge of the mechanisms involved.


Reversing collisions account for about 7% of pedestrian accidents in public settings. Pedestrians aged 60 or over (73% of the pedestrian victims) and commercial and goods vehicles are over-represented in these collisions. Pedestrians often fail to see the reversing vehicle, fail to anticipate its manoeuvre, or are not able to get out its path. Drivers generally fail to see the pedestrian before the collision. The reasons for the reversing manoeuvres are identified and suggest that these manoeuvres could partly be avoided.


In France, reversing accidents represent a non-negligible proportion of pedestrian accidents in public settings. It appears that, in addition to the influence of limited rearward visibility in vehicles, certain road layouts play a role in these accidents by encouraging or forcing drivers to make reversing manoeuvres (at least for large vehicles).

Keywords: Reversing accident, Pedestrian, Traffic safety, Urban design, Urban planning, Reversing vehicles.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 12
First Page: 33
Last Page: 42
Publisher Id: TOTJ-12-33
DOI: 10.2174/1874447801812010033

Article History:

Received Date: 8/09/2017
Revision Received Date: 24/11/2017
Acceptance Date: 10/01/2018
Electronic publication date: 29/1/2018
Collection year: 2018

© 2018 Brenac and Fournier.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the IFSTTAR, TS2, LMA French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks; Department of Transport Health and Safety, F-13300 Salon-de-Provence, France; Tel: +33490577976; Fax: +33490568618; E-mail:

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