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Truck Side Guards: Can They Help Reduce Biker Injuries and Fatalities?

September 10, 2015 | Category: Truck Accidents | Share

Cycling throughout Florida and elsewhere in the country has become increasingly popular in recent years. That being the case, lawmakers and safety advocates have been searching for ways to keep cyclists safe when traveling on area roadways. Bike lanes are becoming more prevalent as more individuals choose biking as their primary mode of transportation.

However, despite the growing popularity of cycling, many people do not fully appreciate the risks associated with bike riding -- especially when cyclists are faced with much larger obstacles and vehicles while traveling. More specifically, many cities throughout the country are noticing a growing problem with respect to biker safety and truck accidents.

Ft. Myers personal injury attorney Randall Spivey is well aware that some automobile drivers "do not take sufficient precautions to watch out for bicyclists or give them room to properly share the road." But since the number of cyclists has increased by 62 percent between the years of 2000 and 2013 (according to the League of American Bicyclists), it is important for lawmakers to do as much as possible to protect area cyclists from being involved in deadly accidents -- particularly with large trucks.

Requiring Truck Side Guards: Will it Really Help?

The issues surrounding cyclists involved in truck accidents were recently brought to the forefront of the minds of safety advocates all around the country after a biker in New Orleans was killed during an accident involving an 18-wheeler.

According to an article in the Florida Bulldog, the biker was riding in a marked bike lane on a busy roadway when he came up alongside the truck as they approached the intersection. When the biker was at the truck's midpoint, the truck suddenly began turning right without warning or signals.

Ultimately, the biker's head was crushed and a portion of his leg was severed from his body. He died at the scene; however, law enforcement did not cite the truck driver. Safety advocates have noted that the problem could get worse given the rise of e-commerce which is bringing more large trucks into urban areas at the same time area lawmakers are encouraging individuals to bike and walk.

That said, safety organizations are encouraging a number of reforms ranging from better training for truck drivers to better-designed streets to tougher penalties for motor vehicle operators who kill pedestrians and cyclists.

Additionally, some safety advocates are calling for the use of truck side guards, which could help save a biker’s life in the event of a collision.

According to statistics obtained by the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a federal research institution in Massachusetts, approximately half of fatal truck and bike accidents, and a quarter of accidents involving trucks and pedestrians, involved the biker or pedestrian who was killed making impact with the side of the vehicle. In such incidents, the individual could fall under the truck and into the path of the truck’s wheels.

However, truck side guards can help keep individuals from falling under a truck’s wheels. The guards, which essentially are a set of metal bars (or a panel) that runs between the two sets of a truck’s wheels, allow for a person to bounce off the side of the truck. A director with the American Trucking Association has noted that the trade group has not taken an “official” position on the use of side guards; however, the group “is always concerned about truck safety.”

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. right away to discuss your legal rights.

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