I generally try to avoid writing articles that portray cycling as a dangerous activity. I mean sure, you can get hurt riding a bike but statistically speaking biking is in general pretty safe. For instance, more people die in the U.S. each year from choking on food or falling out of bed that from cycling accidents. And I'd take my chances a hundred times on a bike vs. dying from boredom on the couch.
However, big trucks are dangerous to cyclists - particularly around intersections. Enough so that your understanding of how they move and your awareness of the importance of your positioning around them is worth it to me to override my usual policy and talk about a cycling hazard today.
Trucks have huge blind spots where the driver cannot see the lanes next to and just behind them. Additionally, when they make a right turn, they typically slow down and swing wide left first, which tempts many cyclists to ride up next to them, right into the path of the rear wheels of the trailer.
Since many of the injuries and deaths to cyclists involving right-turning trucks are caused by rider error, here are some pointers for you to take in. This comes from a terrific article from the Commute Orlando blog, and it's certainly worth you taking a look at the additional detail with the piece. With this in mind:
- Do not stop at an intersection on the right side of a truck.
- Do not linger next to a truck on any side, in any lane.
- If a truck passes you, slow down and let it get ahead of you ASAP.
- If you are in a bike lane and passing stopped traffic, do not pass a truck unless you can be clear of it before approaching any intersections or driveways and before traffic begins moving again.
- Or, just don't pass a truck on the right at all.
- Commute Orlando: What Cyclists Need to Know About Trucks
- How to Ride Safe in Traffic
- See and Be Seen: How to be Visible on Your Bike After Dark
- Five Layers of Bike Safety