Bicyclists-How to avoid being hit by a turning truck

How to avoid collisions with right turning trucks
  • Be aware that trucks swing to the left to prepare for a right turn.
    Truck Blind Spot on turn--click for full-sized image
  • Be aware that the preparation for a right turn may take the truck partly or completely in to the left lane.
  • Be aware that the truck may appear to be executing a left turn when it is in fact preparing for a right turn
  • Don't enter the BLIND SPOT spot to the right side of the truck.
  • Stay behind the truck and give it room.

When a large vehicle makes a turn at a street corner, the long distance between front and rear wheels means that the rear wheels will "off-track" and run closer to the curb than the front of the truck does.

Because of this, trucks will swing left in preparation for a right turn.

When the truck swings left you might be tempted to enter BLIND SPOT to the right side of the truck. Don't! This is very dangerous.

If the truck is stopped at an intersection, the driver may have started to swing left in preparation for a right turn. The truck may be partly or even completely in the left lane--but planning to turn right. So NEVER filter up alongside stopped trucks at intersections.

A skilled truck driver knows just how the wheels must track in order to make a safe turn with the rear wheels just clearing the curb at the corner.

If you are in the BLIND SPOT you will be squeezed between the rear of the truck and the curb with nowhere to go. If you are knocked over by the curb or caught by the moving parts along the side of the truck you can be crushed almost instantly.

If you are in the BLIND SPOT, the driver will have no idea this is happening to you.

Don't be fooled by trucks moving to the left--they may be making a left turn OR preparing for a right turn.

This is how two recently bicycle fatalities have happened in Missouri.

On Missouri's narrow roads, trucks must move far to the left to prepare for a right turn. So what appears to you to be a truck moving into the left lane is oftentimes a preparation for a right turn by the truck.

Do NOT move to the side of a truck in this situation!

Note on the responsibilities of heavy truck drivers and trucking companies:
Today in the U.S. heavy trucks have huge blind spots. With modern technology this is just ridiculous--inexpensive video cameras can solve the problem completely. Heavy trucks should not be allowed to plow people over with the excuse "I couldn't see". They need to figure out HOW to see and with today's technology, it can be done.

As with many issues with roadway safety, there are precautions to be taken by all road users. But ultimate responsibility for this situation must be taken by trucking companies to design and use trucks that allow drivers to see what they are driving over.


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