With Spokane being around 250 miles from the nearest shipping port, tractor trailers are vital to the region’s economy. This, of course puts a fair amount of these big rigs in and around the Spokane metro area, and with these trucks come higher risks to cyclists.
Studies have shown that commercial and large truck drivers have fewer accidents than to the average passenger car driver, so the danger isn’t because of drivers but because of the size and mass of the trucks themselves. A fully loaded tractor can weigh 80,000 lbs. which is over 400 times the weight of the average cyclist and bicycle.
Large Trucks and Cyclist Accidents
Every year in the U.S., around 650 cyclists and pedestrians die from large truck crashes, and unfortunately, Spokane gets it fair share. Not only are these dangers because of the size difference, but there are other factors that come with these trucks as well that give present challenges to cyclists.
A bicycle-truck accident can happen many different ways, but most come from the cyclist being unseen by the truck driver. Some of the most common of these accidents are:
- Blind Spots: A blind spot is a section of the immediate perimeter of a vehicle that is unseen to the driver. This can be especially dangerous to cyclists who count on the vehicle’s operator to watch out for them.
- Right Hook: A “right hook” occurs when any vehicle makes a right-hand turn into a bicycle. When a semi-truck turns right, the driver often swings out to the left so the back tires can clear the curb, and this makes the cyclist think the truck is going left only to have the truck swing back to the right and hit the cyclist.
- Left Turn: Many times motor vehicle drivers don’t see a cyclist even though they are right in the field of view. Sometimes a truck driver turns left into the path of an unseen cyclist.
Commercial Truck Liability
Most truck drivers are employed in two main ways: employee driving for a company, or an independent contractor that works form themselves. In both cases, federal law requires that big commercial trucks have a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage to cover any accident damages.
As an employee, when the driver is liable for any damages, the law is that the employer is responsible. Most trucking companies carry at least $1 million in liability for their rigs.
Since the law requires each driver to have the minimum, then all independent truck drivers should be covered with $750,000 in coverage. This will take care of the damages in most cases.
Contact a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer.
If you’ve been injured while riding your bike in any of the cities in the valley or metro area, speak to a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer from Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., They have the knowledge and experience to help you make a claim against the state of Washington or any of its cities.