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Truck Drivers, Look For Motorcycle Riders, Pedestrians and Cyclists In Urban Environments
Every Day Danger. For a pedestrian, motorcycle or bicycle rider, a typical traffic maneuver can be very dangerous around large trucks.
These pictures illustrate a typical situation in urban traffic. The semi truck driver needs to be extra cautious and make sure to look for motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists, even smaller cars can be hard to see for the truck driver.
The motorcycle is illustrated to the right of the semi-truck: presumably the truck in the left lane and the motorcycle in the right lane. However, the motorcycle is in a very dangerous position, especially for riding in metropolitan urban environments.
The shaded area around the semi-truck cab is a danger zone. Because of the height of the cab, and the proximity of the motorcycle in the right lane to the truck, the motorcycle rider is nearly completely invisible to the driver.
All of the shaded area around the truck is dangerous, but in heavy urban traffic like in downtown Portland, a motorcycle rider may inevitably find themselves in these dangerous positions.
The motorcycle rider below is pictured just in the front of the semi-truck. It is possible the trucker pulled up behind the motorcycle rider.
The duty falls on the truck driver to not hurt and kill any other users of the road.
The position in front or to the right of the cab is so common to a motorcycle rider in traffic, the below image illustrates the danger better, as seen from the truck drivers perspective. As you can see in the illustration, the top of the rider's helmet is just barely visible to the truck driver and if the driver is really on it and watching as they should be, all is well.
The problem for the truck driver also includes the demands of driving the big rig in the urban environment and maintaining awareness of all the vulnerable users of the road. If the motorcyclist below pulled into the right lane stop position after the truck was already stopped, they could be in a very dangerous position if the truck driver was not absolutely aware of the new person close to the big rig.
Trucks often pull left to turn right, or pull right to turn left; they will often take up two lanes even when you think they have seen you sometimes it feels like they are coming at you or using their sheer size and fear on the road to run you off the road or out of your lane and who knows if they do see you. Secondly the motorcyclist's helmet is below the cab door window because the motorcyclist is very close to the truck.
Often in traffic we have to pull into these types of lane positions in congested traffic. Pedestrians, bikes, even smaller cars are often in this situation, even while a pedestrian and bike might be on a sidewalk getting ready to cross a street in a marked crosswalk.
The shaded area illustrates how the cab effects the truck driver's angle of vision and the danger zone area that is likely to be difficult for the truck driver to see because of the mass of the big rig cab.
Adjusting a slightly upward where the truck driver's eyes are even above the cab door, we can see the truck driver's line of site is quite high and the motorcyclist and motorcycle are can be obscured to the driver who isn't actively scanning the road with their eyes and head.
Truck drivers have the responsibility to be extra aware of looking for motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and even small cars.
And the same motorcycle position but from a different angle, we can really see that the motorcycle and motorcyclist are nearly completely invisible from the truck driver's line of site and perspective. This motorcycle could be pedestrians, or even a small car.
Portland Motorcycle Accident Attorney
I highly recommend motorcycle track days and the Oregon motorcycle safety classes which can teach skills and traffic tips so that motorcycle riders can be at the top of their riding ability, and keep improving their motorcycle handling skills and experience with their bike.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact me as soon as possible and I will clearly explain your rights and options. I offer free consultations and I handle all my cases on a contingency fee basis which means you don't owe me anything until your case is settled.