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Truck design aims to make the road safer for cyclists and prevent bike-truck accidents

Written by Steve Gursten Posted June 19th, 2013

Design increases visibility from the truck’s cab so that drivers can see cyclists on the road

Truck accidents involving cyclists are often devastating. Last November, I litigated a very tragic wrongful death case involving a truck and cyclist.  This case was very sad. An 83-year-old man, Mr. Shekoski, was run over by a truck as he was riding his bicycle across a street.

The truck was making a right-hand turn, and the truck driver did not see him on his bike. Even though Mr. Shekoski had the white walk signal, and the right of way, he was killed because the truck driver couldn’t see him on the street corner.  The truck driver proceeded to make a “blind right turn” on a red light, and Mr. Shekoski was crushed and killed.

At trial, the jury awarded $2.55 million for his family – though money is little consolation for their loss. At least the jury told the company and driver not to make blind right turns anymore at red lights.

The truck driver who hit and killed Mr. Shekoski was not paying attention. Or maybe he was, but he had pulled too far forward, and Mr. Shekoski, as well as any other pedestrian person who would have been standing on that corner on that day would have fallen into the truck driver’s blind spot.

Sometimes, even when a truck driver is paying attention, it is still difficult to see in a large commercial truck. Visibility is limited. There are many blind spots, and people could be in every single one of them.  I recently wrote about a fatal truck accident where the truck driver did not see a pedestrian in front of his cab and ran him over.

Regarding truckers and limited visibility, I wanted to share this article I found in treehugger.com by Michael Graham Richard, The safer cyclists-friendly truck design could save many lives.

Naturally, I believe this cyclist friendly truck design is a phenomenal idea!

It is an idea for a safer bus design in the United Kingdom and it would be great if it could be applied to the United States.  Essentially, the cab is built from strong, transparent material, rather than opaque materials.  This provides unprecedented visibility for the truck driver.

The design would eliminate many blind spots which currently exist in contemporary semi-truck cabs.

Compare these two pictures showing the “safer-cyclist” (as it has been dubbed by its designers) truck cab  in the first picture versus the contemporary truck cab in the second picture:

Safer Cyclist truck cab

What a difference!  The first picture allows far more visibility than the second.  Now, did you notice the cyclist?  In the safer-cyclist truck cab, the truck driver can plainly see the cyclist to his left; whereas the second driver in the contemporary truck cab of today cannot see him.

This is a very simple, yet effective idea for keeping cyclists safe.  Currently, this is just an idea and there are no concrete plans to implement this design, or to begin manufacturing this kind of truck.  However, this seems like a great start.  Hopefully truck manufacturers and safety advocates alike can capitalize on this innovative new design and take the necessary steps to make our roads a little bit safer for cyclists.

This is the kind of innovation that could save lives and prevent bike-truck accidents.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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