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The Vulnerable Road Users: Cyclists and Pedestrians in the Shadow of Truck Accidents


Large trucks on our roads can be dangerous for everyone. This isn’t just a hunch—statistics show over 168,000 truck accidents yearly, according to That’s a lot of crashes. Many people get hurt in those accidents. Over 30% result in injuries, and sadly, about 3% are fatal. In 2022 alone, that meant over 76,000 people were hurt in truck accidents.

Looking closer at the numbers, we see that most injuries (around 71%) happen to people in cars or other vehicles that hit trucks. It makes sense, considering the size difference. But that doesn’t mean people outside of vehicles are safe.

Truck accidents can also be very dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists, accounting for about 2% of injuries. It shows how vulnerable people are on the road when they’re next to such large vehicles.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into why these accidents happen and how we can make our roads safer for everyone.

Why Truck Size and Blind Spots Matter

Trucks are like giants on the road. Their massive size and weight mean they cause much more damage in a crash with a cyclist or pedestrian. Imagine a bike or a person compared to a truck – there’s no contest. This difference in size means even a small bump can be very serious, or even deadly, for the person who isn’t in a truck.

There’s another problem: truck drivers have big blind spots where they can’t see what’s around them. It’s like they have giant hidden zones. According to Business Matters, these blind spots make it hard for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians, especially at night or in bad weather.

The blind spots are all around the truck. On the sides, visibility is blocked along the entire trailer length, making passing a truck on the left unsafe. Behind the truck, the blind spot goes on for almost 200 feet, so you need to stay way back when following a truck. The truck’s cabs are also high up, so there’s a blind spot right in front of the truck for about 20 feet. This means cutting right in front of a truck is super dangerous.

By understanding these blind spots, truck drivers and people on bikes and foot can be much safer when sharing the road.

Why Cyclists and Pedestrians Need Extra Protection

Cyclists and pedestrians are in a tough spot on the road. They simply don’t have the same protection as people in cars. Cars are like metal cages with airbags that come out in a crash to soften the blow. Cyclists and pedestrians don’t have that. It means even a small accident can result in serious injuries because they’re left exposed to the full force of a crash.

Furthermore, cyclists and pedestrians are out in the open, facing whatever the weather throws at them. Rain, wind, or even a pebble on the road can be dangerous.


Because of these risks, looking out for cyclists and pedestrians on the road is extra important. We also need to develop better safety measures and laws to keep them safe.

What Causes Truck Accidents: A Breakdown of the Numbers

Truck accidents are a serious concern, and there are many reasons why they happen. One major factor in truck accidents is driver error, states Forbes. Truck drivers can get distracted by their phones, eat behind the wheel, or get so tired they can barely see straight. Distracted driving, which includes fatigue and cell phone use, is the second most common cause of fatal accidents involving large trucks. Truck drivers must be focused and alert on the road like any driver.

Speeding is especially dangerous for trucks because of their immense weight. They take much longer to stop than cars. Data shows that a significant number, 7.3%, of fatal accidents involving large trucks happen because the truck driver was speeding. Drunk driving is a serious problem for all drivers, but it’s even more dangerous with trucks. According to Forbes, almost 7% of truck accidents involve drunk drivers.

Sometimes, the roads themselves contribute to accidents. If there aren’t proper bike lanes or crosswalks, it can be dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians to share the road with big trucks. This lack of awareness is a problem for everyone on the road, not just truck drivers. If you’re texting or not paying attention, you could be at risk for an accident.

Even the weather can play a role in truck accidents. Rain, snow, and fog can make seeing and controlling a vehicle difficult. Interestingly, even though most people travel daily, more truck accidents happen during daylight hours (almost 80%). It might be because there are rules about how many hours truck drivers can drive at night.

Legal Implications and Role of Lawyer

The tragic case of the 4-year-old boy struck and killed in south St. Louis on March 11, 2024, as reported by Fox2Now, exemplifies the devastating consequences of truck accidents involving vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians. While the news mentions the driver may not have had time to react, the incident highlights the importance of driver awareness and safety measures. It is especially critical in areas where children play.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident in St. Louis, understanding the legal implications is crucial. The severity of the injuries, the accident’s cause, and the parties’ role will determine the legal course of action. A St. Louis trucking accident lawyer can be an invaluable asset in navigating the legal complexities of your case. Here’s how a lawyer can help:

  • Investigate the accident: A lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident scene, police reports, witness statements, and truck driver’s background to determine fault and liability.
  • Understand complex trucking laws: Trucking accidents involve federal and state regulations specific to commercial vehicles. A lawyer will ensure your case adheres to these regulations.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies: Insurance companies for truck drivers and trucking companies can be aggressive. A lawyer can handle negotiations to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries or losses. If negotiations fail, your attorney will represent you in court to fight for the compensation you’re entitled to.

Coping with the aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming, especially when facing serious injuries or the loss of a loved one. TorHoerman Law emphasizes that an experienced local trucking accident lawyer can guide through the legal proceedings, protecting your rights and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

How Can We Make Our Roads Safer?

Truck accidents are a serious issue, but there are things we can do to make the roads safer for everyone. Below are some essential aspects to concentrate on:

  • Safer roads: This means dedicated bike lanes, better crosswalks, and improved lighting for both cities and rural areas.
  • Safer trucks: The trucking industry needs to invest in better driver training, enforce rest periods, and require new safety features on trucks, such as automatic braking.


  • Safer cyclists and pedestrians: Educational campaigns can teach people how to share the road safely.
  • New technology: Advanced driver-assistance systems and improved truck mirrors can help prevent accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cyclists’ and pedestrians’ biggest risks when sharing the road with trucks?

The size difference between trucks and cyclists/pedestrians creates a vulnerability in collisions. Additionally, blind spots around trucks and inattention from drivers and road users can lead to accidents.

Are there new technologies that can improve safety?

Absolutely. Advanced driver-assistance systems can warn drivers of potential dangers, and improved truck mirrors and camera systems can eliminate blind spots. Automated safety features like lane departure warnings and collision avoidance systems can provide extra protection.

What can be done to improve road safety for everyone?

This requires a multifaceted approach. Improvements to infrastructure, like dedicated bike lanes and better crosswalks, can make a big difference. The trucking industry can play a role by investing in better driver training and new safety features for trucks. Educational campaigns can empower cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers to share the road safely.

Sharing the Road, Sharing Responsibility

Cyclists and pedestrians deserve safe passage on our roads. The statistics paint a grim picture but offer a clear call to action. A multi-pronged approach that includes infrastructure improvements, stricter trucking regulations, educational campaigns, and new safety technology can significantly enhance road safety for everyone.

Sharing the road is a shared responsibility. By prioritizing safety for all, we can prevent these devastating accidents and create a future where everyone feels secure using our streets and highways.