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Petaluma Bike Accidents with Big Rigs

The scores of big rigs traveling on our nation’s streets and highways pose a problem for cyclists because of the size and weight difference. A fully loaded big rig can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs, which is 400 times heavier than the average bike and rider.

This means that even a small bump can be devastating to the cyclist. This fact was made apparent recently in Petaluma.

Petaluma Cyclist Killed in Collision with Big Rig

On Wednesday, October 13, 2019, around 12:20 p.m., a cyclist was hit from behind by a semi-truck at U.S. 101 on Lakeville Street. Police at the scene say that the cyclist and the truck were traveling in the same direction when the cyclist was struck.

The truck driver remained at the scene and cooperated, and police say that the accident is under further investigation. It’s unknown if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dangers of Big Rigs to Bicycles

Because of the weight, height and overall size difference, a cyclist riding near a big rig has numerous risks.

  • Blind Spot: Also called no-zones, a big rig has numerous blind spots where a bicycle can easily fit. The truck driver is perched high in his or her seat, and a bicycle rider is comparatively low to the ground. This alone creates difficulty. Then add the numerous natural no-zones, and it’s easy to see how a cyclist can be unseen to the driver.
  • Right Hook: When a cyclist is riding on the right-hand side of the right lane, or in a bike lane, motorists will often make a right turn and not see the cyclist to their right. A vigilant cyclist knows to look out for a right hook. The large big rigs will veer a bit left before making a right turn so their rear wheels will clear the curb. Many cyclists see the rig veer to the left and move into the newly open space only to be crushed by the truck as it turns right.
  • Left Cross: Just as deadly as the right hook, the left cross happens when a big rig takes a right-hand turn onto another street, and the cyclist trails behind the truck dutifully waiting for it to turn before it speeds on through the intersection. However, the truck can block the vision of the driver and an oncoming vehicle turning left into the path of the cyclist.

The bottom line is that trucks are huge, cyclists are not. A savvy cyclist doesn’t ride near a big rig, rather it slows down and puts a bit of distance between itself and the truck. The longer the cyclist rides close to the truck, the more likely an accident is.

Injured? Contact a Specialist

Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only personal injury law firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing injured cyclists. Years of advocacy for bicycle victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills, knowledge base and familiarity to handle bicycle accident cases with the utmost level of professional expertise.

Contact us today for a free consultation by email or by calling 415-466-8717. California cyclists who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to a wide array of compensation. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.