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How bicyclists and pedestrians can avoid being hit by trucks

Unlike motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are much smaller, have a narrower profile and lack a protective shell around them. They also can only move so fast. It's because of this that they are at much higher risk of injury or death if they come too close to a big, bulky and heavy truck.

To avoid being struck by a tractor-trailer driver, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that all pedestrians and bicyclists stay out of truckers' blind spots. They note that it's not a hollow warning when individuals are told that a trucker cannot see them if the motorist can't see their mirrors.

Generally, a truck's profile and mirrors only allow its operator to see objects more than 20 feet in front of them or over 30 feet behind. Also, their visibility is far poorer on the right hand side of the vehicle than on the left. Individuals on bikes should leave an empty lane between themselves and the truck whereas on the left, they can ride in the lane right next to it and still remain visible to its driver.

In addition to staying out a truck's blind spots, it's also important not to either run or pull out in front of them.

The FMCSA warns that many pedestrians and bicyclists alike fail to realize that stopping a truck takes longer the faster it's being driven. For example, if a trucker who's traveling 65 miles per hour is forced to slam on their breaks for a pedestrian or bicyclist that enters the roadway, then it will likely take them the length of two football fields to do so.

Another instance in which either bicyclists or pedestrians get struck by trucks is when they fail to account for the fact that they make wide turns. The FMCSA notes that a large number of walkers or bike riders get crushed as the trailer of the truck reassumes its position in the curb lane immediately after completing the turn.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are also often struck because they fail to wear the necessary reflective clothing to ensure that they are more easily seen or because they fail to obey established traffic signals, laws and signs.

If you've suffered serious injuries after having been struck while either walking or biking, then a Stamford auto-pedestrian accidents attorney may advise you of right to file a lawsuit to recover medical costs in your case.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Tips for Bicyclists and Pedestrians," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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