DHL has two DHL Express offices in San Jose, one of which is downtown, and San Jose has almost 300 miles of bike lanes, many in the downtown region. Combine those facts with an average of 300 days of sunshine in a year it makes for a fair amount of DHL and other delivery trucks operating on the same roads throughout the city.
On the Streets
In cities like San Jose, DHL operates a variety of trucks that both pickup and drop off packages. Businesses can also arrange for a pickup at various times, and a DHL truck will stop by and pickup the packages. This keeps the city teeming with DHL trucks. The size of the trucks range from small box/van trucks, large box trucks and semi-trucks. The size of the truck creates certain risks and hazards for cyclists throughout the city.
Common Reasons for Delivery Truck Crashes
There are many types of collisions that occur between cyclists and delivery trucks. Every collision occurs by two objects trying to occupy the same place at the same time however, when it comes to cyclists and delivery trucks, there are unique risks due to the attributes of both types of vehicles. Some of these are:
Blind spots are a problem for any driver, but the larger the vehicle, the more blind spots there are. This of course hurts visibility which increases the risk to cyclists. Many cyclists mistakenly believe that since these delivery trucks have all those mirrors, and the driver sits higher, the cyclist can be more easily seen. This isn’t the case as the larger the truck, the larger blind spot or “no zone.” According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, there are precautions one can take to limit risk from blind spots:
- A commercial motor vehicle has large blind spots around all four sides.
- Take extra care in passing and being passed by large trucks and buses.
- Stay out of blind spots when a truck or bus is turning, backing up or changing lanes.
- Large vehicles need longer following distance to see vehicles behind them. If you can’t see the driver in his or her side mirror, the driver can’t see you.
The Deadly “Right Hook”
A right hook happens when a large truck makes a right-hand turn striking a cyclist. There are two basic types of right hook crashes:
- One way this happens is when a delivery truck driver passes a cyclist on the left and then turns right. Usually the cyclist has no time to react and goes down. The best way to avoid this is by riding far enough into the lane to make drivers change lanes to pass. If a truck driver wants to turn, then they will be more likely to wait until you pass the intersection before turning.
- The other type of right hook happens when a cyclist is passing slower traffic and rides into the blind spot of a turning vehicle. Many times, the larger vehicles (especially the semi-trucks) have to swing out to the left so the tracks of the back tires can clear the curb. Many cyclists see that extra space and shoot for it only to be knocked over and unfortunately are often unable to escape the back tires.
Delivery Truck Dooring
Dooring is a traffic accident that usually involves the driver or driver’s side passenger opening a vehicle door in front of a bicyclist or motorcyclist. Most larger DHL vehicles have sliding doors on the side, however, many have rear doors that open and can extend into bike lanes or streets which can cause dooring accidents.
What Should I do if I get hit by an DHL Truck?
If you are involved in an accident involving a DHL delivery truck or other delivery truck, call the attorneys at Bay Area Bicycle Law. They have the knowledge and experience dealing with delivery companies and their insurance carriers. They also know bicycle law as they are the only law firm that deals exclusively with bicycle law in the San Jose area as well as all of northern California.
Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this for help answering these questions.