Truck vs. Bicycles Accidents
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, side-impact crashes result in cyclists’ death in nearly half of all bike & truck accidents. When a truck hits a cyclist from the side, the force applied to the cyclist quickly sends them tumbling. When they fall, and the truck keeps turning, the cyclist can get swept under the truck cargo and get trapped in the area between the wheels.
Truck companies and their drivers are required to follow specific safety practices. When they don’t, the likelihood of a fatal bike accident increases. Truck drivers who go beyond the speed limit, make illegal turns at intersections, and drive while fatigued put both cyclists and pedestrians at exceptionally high risk. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) bans the use of cellphones for operators of commercial motor vehicles. While this law is put in place to decrease the number of truck accidents, unfortunately, it does not stop drivers from being negligent.
Trucks of any size hauling unsecured loads — like construction equipment or heavy furniture — pose an additional risk for cyclists.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Let’s take a look at scenarios that cause common side impact bike accidents:
- Failing to yield. When a truck driver fails to yield at a light or stop sign, they can broadside a cyclist who has the right of way.
- Low visibility. Since bikes are much smaller than trucks, even the most attentive drivers may not see them.
- Distracted driving. When drivers are on their cell phones, eating, drinking, or focusing on their instrument controls, they may not notice a cyclist legally entering an intersection.
- Impaired driving. Impaired driving reduces every driver’s motor skills, judgment, and reaction time.
- Running a red light. A driver speeding through a yellow or red light can cause a fatal side-impact wreck with a cyclist who would have the right of way.
- Lane changes. When a driver makes an abrupt lane change, they can collide with an unsuspecting cyclist.
- Blind spots. A trucker who does not realize a cyclist is in his blind spot can easily cause a broadside accident if moving into another lane or getting ready to make a turn.
What Compensation Is Available to Cyclists and Families After a Crash With a Truck?
If a cyclist is injured after a truck accident, it is imperative to seek out a lawyer, so medical bills and lost wages are covered while the cyclist heals. In addition to medical bills that quickly stack up, necessary expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, and utilities must also be paid. A personal injury attorney at The Barnes Firm will be able to advise you on handling these concerns.
A cyclist may also be eligible for other damages, including pain and suffering, scarring, and disability. Members of the cyclist’s family may be able to collect damages for loss of consortium (usually involving a spouse) or loss of support (a result of the death of the victim).
If you or someone you know has been in a truck and bike accident and is seeking legal counsel, contact The Barnes Firm today.