Accidents Between Bicyclists and Trucks
August 9, 2018
According to the American Motor Carrier Safety Association (AMCSA), accidents between bicyclists, trucks, and buses can be particularly catastrophic for all involved parties. Thousands of Philadelphia residents bicycle to work and for recreational purposes – and hundreds of accidents happen every year. Although the city has made progress on bicycle safety, (e.g. removing unused portions of trolley tracks, installing additional bike lanes, and more) bicyclists still face serious risks every time they ride.
In 2016, nearly 1,000 bicyclists across the country were killed in fatal accidents (accounting for 2.2% of total traffic related fatalities that year), and almost 49,000 others sustained accident-related injuries. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that the number of annual cyclist fatalities is growing, which is likely the result of new bicyclists on roadways. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of cyclists on roadways increased by a whopping 62%; with various bike share programs popping up across major cities, it will likely continue to do so.
Trucks, Buses, and Cyclists
Collisions that occur between cyclists, trucks, and/or buses are more likely to result in serious, disabling injuries as well as fatalities. According to researchers from the Department of Transportation (DOT), cyclists are as much as three times more likely to die in truck-related crashes than pedestrians are. Often, city areas are even more dangerous for bicyclists. In New York City for example, every 1 out of 3 fatal bike accidents involves either a truck or bus.
Truck and Bus Hazards
There are numerous reasons behind why trucks and buses are able to inflict more physical damage on cyclists. Not only do bicyclists often lack physical protection (other than helmets and clothing), but also the average trucks and buses weigh tens of thousands of pounds. School buses weight approximately 24,000lbs, and semi trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000lbs (or more, depending on what commercial licenses they have).
There are other hazards associated that are commonly associated with trucks and buses, such as:
- Large blind spots (on either side of the vehicle), and a general poor field of vision, and:
- Lack of federal government regulations pertaining to safety and visibility standards for trucks and buses (such as requiring truck side guards, which prevent cyclists from being pulled underneath a vehicle and dragged)
Tips for Cyclists and Truck (and Bus) Drivers
Until there are more laws and regulations in place to make the roads safer for drivers and cyclists, promoting education and accountability can have a positive impact on safe outcomes. The more caution that truckers, bus drivers and cyclists take to ride and drive safely, the more likely it is that there will be fewer deadly collisions.
Here are some helpful safety tips for bicyclists:
- ALWAYS wear a helmet, brightly colored clothing and/or reflective gear to make yourself visible to motor vehicle drivers as well as pedestrians;
- Never ride on the right side of a large truck or bus (and remember: they have blind spots on their left sides, too);
- Obey all posted traffic laws and keep a watchful eye for pedestrians;
- If you cannot see a driver in the mirrors of his or her vehicle, it means he or she cannot see you (*always assume a driver cannot see you), and:
- Avoid trucks and buses when they are in reverse, or when they are about to make right or left turns
Truck and bus drivers need to be especially wary of their surroundings, particularly in urban settings and heavily congested areas. Here are some safety tips that are essential for bus and truck drivers to observe:
- Pay extra attention for bicyclists – especially along the left side of your vehicle;
- Even in non-moving traffic, stay alert and do not become distracted. Cyclists may weave in and out of cars, and:
- Leave extra space – or a “margin of safety” – between yourself and cyclists
If you or a loved one was in a biking accident and sustained injuries, an attorney at our firm may be able to help you. If you have any questions or concerns about injuries or damages, please contact a representative directly.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Injured in Bicycle Accidents
At Galfand Berger, our personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia are experienced in representing bicycle accident victims. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.