Every motorist on the road, particularly those professionally driving large commercial vehicles, has a responsibility to uphold safe driving practices for the good of everyone. That said, bicyclists must also do their part to protect their own safety and prevent accidents that might affect others too.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports 640 fatalities of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians in 2020 as a result of large truck crashes. The best way that bicyclists and other small-profile road users can mitigate the risk of a trucking accident is to be aware of blind spots.
Blind spots in the passing zone
Large trucks, particularly semis, have especially lengthy blind spots along the sides of the vehicle where other vehicles might attempt to conduct a passing maneuver. It is dangerous for a bicycle to pass a truck on the left because they are small and can slip easily into the truck’s blind spot, leading to a collision if the truck attempts to merge to the left. Cyclists also should not stop to the right of a large truck at a traffic light as semis often pull very close to the curb when making a right-hand turn.
Blind spot in front of the truck
Due to the greater height of many large commercial trucks, there is a sizable space in front of the vehicle that the driver cannot see. For some trucks, this blind spot can extend up to six feet in front of the vehicle, making it very dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians to enter this space.
Many motor vehicles are large enough to be noticeable in a majority of situations, even when navigating other drivers’ blind spots. Bicyclists, however, can become unnoticeable for extended periods of time and thus be at risk of experiencing a catastrophic collision.