One of the biggest concerns for motorcyclists while traveling anywhere near a tractor trailer or commercial truck is the possibility that the truck driver will not see the motorcycle. The same could obviously be said of a person operating a four wheeled motor vehicle. The National Transportation Safety Board recently released a report asking the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to target blind spot mitigation in commercial trucks, especially in those cases where blind spots significantly impact motorcyclists.
The NTSB recommendations urge the NHTSA to pass regulations that are similar to the ones in place for alleviating blind spots in passenger vehicles. By suggesting regulations requiring back-up cameras, fender mirrors, sensors and other safety measures, the NTSB hopes to reduce the number of fatal truck accidents caused by blind spots.
It has long been known that tractor trailers have blind spots in the front, rear and sides of the vehicle. Of particular concern is the blind spot to the right of the cab, which is much larger than the others and has been cited as the cause of numerous collisions with motorists and motorcyclists. Due to their lack of protection, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable in such collisions. It’s not difficult to understand why motorcyclists may be easy to miss for a truck driver as those visibility difficulties become even more pronounced in the case of a motorcycle because of their narrow frames.
When a truck driver is not able to identify a motorcycle in his blind spot, he is at risk of colliding with it and causing serious injury or death. While the occupants of a car have some amount of protection in the form of seatbelts, airbags and the frame of the vehicle to defend them from serious injuries in a truck accident, motorcyclists have no such luxury. They are extremely vulnerable to the high risk of injuries in an accident with a commercial truck, and it is these risks that the National Transportation Safety Board wants to target.
Some tips provided by NHTSA for motorcyclists when in close proximity to a tractor trailer are the following:
- Assume You Are Invisible. Operators of motor vehicles tend to not pay attention to motorcyclists, and the same is true of truck drivers.
- Be Noticed. Always ride with your high-beams on during the day and wear brightly colored gear.
- If Traffic Is Slowing Stay To The Left Or Right. This will give you an escape route if needed.
- Watch Out For Left Turning Trucks.
- Watch Truck Drivers’ Heads Thru Mirrors to anticipate sudden moves.
- Never Get Between A Truck And An Offramp. Drivers who decide to exit at the last minute kill many riders every year.
If you have been injured while riding your bike due to the negligence of another you should seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer who is also a rider. Contact attorney Michael Pence to schedule your consultation.