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Trucks Pose Risk of Bicycle Accident Injuries, Fatalities

A recent report by The Chicago Tribune lamented the fact there have been six bicyclists struck and killed by large commercial trucks in the city just this year alone. In a city that typically sees six bicycle deaths total every year, to reach that in September – with three more months of the year to go – is deeply troubling. That every single one involved a commercial truck highlights a more serious problem. bicycleincity

It’s one about which our Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyers are fully aware: Trucks pose a serious risk to cyclists. A number of different studies – from England to New York to Seattle – have found that large vehicles account for roughly a third of all bicycle fatalities, despite only accounting for about 7 percent of total traffic volume.

A 2012 study by the University of Washington explored why trucks and bicycles are often in conflict. Researchers noted that movement of freight is central to the local and regional economy, but simultaneously, bicycle travel is increasing and given priority. Bicycles have the potential to impede the flow of traffic, but the sheer size of trucks can do the same and is extremely intimidating to cyclists. One big problem in urban settings? Bicycle lane obstruction by trucks. 

In Fort Myers, the bicycle accidents involving trucks have involved a number of different scenarios, including:

  • A 13-year-old cyclist was struck by a trailer being towed by a truck on SW 20th Avenue in October 2013. He suffered a traumatic brain injury.
  • A young boy riding his bicycle home from school was struck and injured in October 2013 on Orange Grove Boulevard in North Fort Myers.
  • A 14-year-old cyclist struck and killed by a pickup truck on Santa Barbara Boulevard in April 2015. The cyclist was reportedly on the sidewalk and then turned to call back to a friend and drove into the path of the truck.
  • A 21-year-old cyclist killed after being struck by lawn service truck while crossing Three Oaks Parkway in May 2016.

Florida has more bicycle accidents than anywhere else in the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that of the 726 people who died on bicycles in 2014, 139 of those were in Florida. That was more than any other state, and it accounted for 5.6 percent of all traffic deaths, again more than any other state, and there were 6.99 bicycle accident deaths per 1 million people in Florida – again, more than any other state.

Of the 699 bicyclists who died that year in single-vehicle accidents, 308 involved light trucks, 59 involved large trucks and 14 involved buses. Pickup trucks were involved in 127 cases.

In Chicago, all six recent bicycle accident fatalities have occurred since June. The city is working on a Vision Zero plan – along with 10 other cities across the country – that is aiming for zero traffic deaths. The initiative involves nearly a dozen city departments, including law enforcement, fire, the transit authority and health departments.

Fort Myers’ Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board tossed around the idea of introducing a Vision Zero plan here in Southwest Florida, but the measure has yet to gain traction. The Vision Zero plan incorporates Complete Streets initiatives to design and redesign safer streets to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians. It also seeks rigorous enforcement of traffic safety law violations and promotion of better driver awareness of bicyclists.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:

Six bicyclists killed in Chicago this year, all involving commercial vehicles, Sept. 27, 2016, By Rosemary Regina Sobol and Mary Wisniewski, The Chicago Tribune

More Blog Entries:

Is Cycling Worth the Risk of Injury in Florida? Sept. 30, 2016, Fort Myers Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog