Trucker Blind Spots May Prove Deadly for Bicyclists
Truck operators may unknowingly strike bicyclists who get lost in their vehicles’ blind spots, which often results in death or serious injury for the bike riders. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that large truck blind spots contribute to more than 160,000 deaths, and as many as 413,000 collisions across the U.S. each year. Lacking the exterior protections afforded to vehicle occupants, bicyclists may suffer severe trauma as a result of getting struck by a large commercial truck.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Blind Spots
Tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks have large blind spots that extend around all four sides. These areas stretch up to 20-feet to the front and 30-feet to the rear. Truckers may also lack visibility across the left lanes directly beside them and across two traffic lanes to their right sides. Despite their larger mirrors and even blind spot mirrors, truck operators may be unable to see bicyclists, who are much smaller than the large vehicles they drive, which may contribute to bicycle-truck collisions.
Although they and those with whom they share the road should know about the substantial blind spots on commercial trucks, truckers still have a responsibility to use caution and be as attentive as possible. Truck operators may check multiple times and from as many angles as they can to ensure the lane is clear before changing lanes or turning. Using newly developing technologies, including front- and rear-facing cameras, vehicle detection systems, and lane assist may also help truckers spot bicyclists and avoid potentially serious or deadly bicycle-truck collisions.
Stay Safe While Biking
When sharing the road with large trucks, bicyclists should take care to stay out of commercial vehicles’ blind spots. Further, bicyclists may benefit from always assuming the truck operators cannot see them, even if they think they made eye contact. Taking such precautions may help bicyclists avoid getting struck by these large vehicles, which may result in serious injuries or death.
Bicyclists may also help keep themselves safe when sharing the road with tractor-trailers by preparing for commercial trucks to make wide turns, acknowledging semitrailers’ need for longer stopping distances, and staying alert and avoiding distractions. Just like bicyclists expect them to obey the traffic laws, signs, and signals, truckers anticipate bike riders will do the same. Therefore, acting in a predictable manner allows everyone sharing the road to know what to expect from those around them.