Bicycling and the Law:  Why Do Trucks & Bicycles Collide?

Why Do Trucks & Bicycles Collide?

By Richard Duquette, Esq, Law Firm of Richard Duquette

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Over 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities each year. Over 700 bicyclists are killed each year, many by trucks. Let’s talk about why….Simply stated, trucking companies often place profits over safety.

Causes of Truck Accidents:

a. Fatigue

Over 51% of trucking accidents involve driver fatigue. Truck drivers get paid to produce. Their fatigue can be proven by reviewing driver log books, fuel receipts and meal vouchers. Sometimes drivers carry two sets of books; the one turned in for pay and the real one kept in the tractor if inspected by a police officer. Truckers can drive up to 16 hours a day, but often alternate hours off and compile 60 hours driving in less than five days.

b. Blind Spots

Another big problem, even if the driver has properly inspected, adjusted and used “West Coast” tripod fender mirrors, is that cyclists don’t “appear” on the passenger side of the tractor. This is because the driver can’t see through and below his passenger side cab, or in front of his mirrors. There is a saying “if you can’t see the truck driver in his mirror, he can’t see you.” Illegal lane changes into blind spots can be solved by the truck driver:

1. Adjusting his speed,

2. Having a spotter.

3 . Obtaining “West Coast” mirrors.

4. Signal well in advance of a turn.

5. Improved training.

c. Following too Close & Speeding

At 55 mph, an 18 wheeler, depending on their load (i.e. 0-80,000 pounds), takes 300 feet to stop. Perception, reaction and braking are factors in stopping.

At 40 mph, a truck travels about 60 feet per second and needs four seconds to stop. Over 40 mph, a truck needs at least five seconds to stop.

d. Poor Equipment

Over 30 % of truck accidents are brake-related. Their air brakes and hoses wear out. That’s why they have highway “pull-outs” into sandbanks. Also, tire separation and blowouts are often related to overloaded, poorly inspected and maintained trucks.

e. Drunk Driving

You would be surprised how often truck drivers drink and drive commercial trucks. The low legal blood alcohol level limits make it easier for the victims to show mental or physical driver impairment.


Keep your distance from trucks. Wait till they pass you. Never assume they see you. If injured, hire an experienced bicycle trial lawyer, who has handled many truck and bicycle injury cases. I have prosecuted and defended truck drivers who have violated the law – which gives me an advantage. I know how to investigate these cases and what experts to hire to prove fault and damages – even if it’s an out of state case. This experience helps me negotiate fair settlements for clients. Should you need a Jury Trial, I have and will argue your case to a verdict to get justice.

Truck driving tips and the legal rules of the road are listed on my website The Federal truck laws are codified in the Federal motor carrier safety regulations (title 49, parts 350-399), and govern vehicles engaged in interstate traffic.

Ride Safe – Ride Strong!

Enjoy More Articles and Podcasts By Richard Duquette, Esq, Law Firm of Richard Duquette

About  the Law Firm of Richard L. Duquette

The Law Firm of Richard Duquette has recovered millions in damages for injured bicyclists since 1983. Attorney Duquette is an experienced bicyclist himself and has dedicated his practice to helping this community. He is experienced in all types of cases involving bicycle crashes, injuries, and other legal troubles.

Mr. Duquette serves a wide variety of bicyclists. Whether you prefer road cycling, mountain biking, track riding, Randonneuring, E-Bicycles, Handcycles, Century Rides, Triathlons, Duathlons, or Criterium, Mr. Duquette knows how to best serve your legal needs regardless of the type of bicyclist you are.

Mr. Duquette is an expert at maximizing, proving, and recovering damages. 

For more information please visit the Law Firm of Richard Duquette.

The information in this article is for general information purposes only. The focus of this article is on California Law. You should contact an attorney in your state for case-specific advice, as details of the law and procedural requirements vary from state to state. Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship; and the receipt, reading, listening, or viewing of this content shall not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Nothing in this article shall be construed as a warrant, promise, or guarantee about the outcome of your case or any other matter. This information may contain personal impressions or statements of opinion on a subject that do not apply in your case. Further, statements of law reflect the current state of the law at the time of writing and/or recording, and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law.

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