Video/News: How Not To Get Killed By A Truck

Of the myriad dangers faced by cyclists—texting and distracted drivers, getting doored, poor street design—trucks are among the worst. Trucks are disproportionately responsible for cyclist deaths by a factor of three to one. It’s even more skewed in cities; in New York City, for example, trucks are responsible for nearly one out of three cyclist deaths. Garbage trucks seem to be especially deadly; garbage-truck-accident lawyers (yes, there is such a field) claim that sanitation trucks are responsible for more pedestrian and cyclist fatalities per 100 million miles of travel than any other kind of vehicle. (I always give them a wide berth.) Should you ever be in need of sobering reading material, search “truck cyclist accident.” There are many reasons for this sorry state of affairs. Trucks are very large, relatively unwieldy, and often have lousy visibility. They have huge blind spots and generally lack elements like side guardsthat could keep cyclists from falling under their wheels. And—often tragically—cyclists do not know how to navigate safely around them. So let’s fix that right now by watching this great video from the American Bicycling Education Association, Major takeaways: Never stop on the right side of a truck at an intersection. If a truck pulls up next to you while you are stopped, get out of there however you can, even if it means getting off your bike.
If a truck tries to pass you, slow down until it’s well ahead. Learn a truck’s blind spots. Remember, the driver can only see you if you can see the truck’s mirrors, but even then don’t bet your life on being seen. Once a truck starts to turn right, the driver can no longer see what is happening on its right side. The safe way to navigate around a turning truck is to be behind it and on its left side. If you’re behind and to the right, the turning truck could obscure your vision, making you vulnerable to oncoming traffic from the other direction. Finally, even if it was in the iconic scene in America’s greatest cycling movie, never, ever try this: