In Washington State, cyclists and commercial trucks share the road. In urban areas, large trucks are particularly dangerous for cyclists. All semi-trucks have blind spots. In general, trucks have worse visibility than an average car. The blind spots, in addition to the large turning radius, large trucks are dangerous, particularly to those who are sharing the road.
Sideguards may be the answer to bicyclist fatalities. According to Trucking Info, Seattle’s Department of Transportation has begun to use sideguards to increase bicyclist safety. Sideguards cover the open space between the front and rear wheels of a truck. During a collision, without these devices, there is no protection between the bicyclist and the truck’s tires.
The U.S DOT Volpe Center considers the deadliest crashes to be between large trucks and bicyclists or pedestrians. During a crash, bicyclists fall into the space between the rear and front wheels. Almost half of all bicyclists who die in a collision with a semi-truck are involved in a collision with the side of the truck. Given a truck’s large turn radius, when turning, trucks may strike bicyclists in the next lane. Bicycles do not always have time to get out of the truck’s way, whereas trucks do not see the bicyclist due to the truck’s blind spot.
Sideguard studies in the UK, Sweden, Australia and the Netherlands showed that sideguards could reduce injuries and fatalities. The UK mandates the use of sideguards. Since this mandate, cyclist fatalities dropped by at least 20%.
None of the information presented is legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.