Thursday, January 23, 2014

...and trucks! (A guide to vehicular profiling)

BikeSafeBoston published their "Guide to vehicular profiling", which is a funny summary of various types of drivers (and their cars) you may encounter on the road. And since "not all cars are created equal — certain vehicles on the road deserve extra scrutiny."
The guide is pretty much complete but omits one more types of vehicles that deserves a (very) special attention from all cyclists on the road - trucks. And I'm not taking about those Ford F-150s, but heavy, heavy trucks.
Don't ride next to trucks! (Source: Google Images)
The first problem with trucks (or either - with their drivers) is that they too often present an attitude  that can be described as "I am bigger than you so get off my way"! And this is not related to bicycles only but to cars as well. When I ride my bike to work I very often see drivers that give me plenty of space, even if this means entering temporarily the opposite traffic lane. But when there is a truck passing by, this very rarely happens. Almost like those drivers simply didn't care. They know they drive huge and heavy vehicles and no other car driver would try cutting them off and risk a collision, and they extend this behavior to cyclists on the road. This means that too often I am passed by a truck that drives by uncomfortably close.
The second problem with trucks is not really a problem with their drivers, but it's just related to the sheer size of those vehicles. They're wide, long and tall (All of which makes our bicycles to appear tiny in comparison). Because of this, an average heavy truck features multiple blind spots where the driver simply can't see (and it's not his fault) what is going on around his vehicle.
The best strategy - never assume the truck drivers can see you (Source:
This all means that we, cyclists, have to simply stay away, as far as possible, from these monsters and never assume their drivers can see us. In fact, one of the stupidest things you can do is to stop your bike right next to the truck attempting to right turn at an intersection. An example from London shows that collisions with heavy trucks are the most common reason of cyclist deaths in the city.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you like the post! I left out large trucks because I'd already included them in the 10 Commandments for City Biking, and I didn't want to be too repetitive.

    You're absolutely right, though, those things are super dangerous, and we'd all be best served to steer clear.