Large Truck Safety for Bicyclists
Large trucks serve a role in freight and commercial transportation, but also pose unique safety challenges when they interact with people bicycling and walking. The League of American Bicyclists believes that truck safety can be improved through regulations that require stronger vehicle safety requirements.
According to federal data on traffic fatalities, truck safety has been in serious decline since 2009 and it has adversely affected everyone who shares the road:
- Truck crash fatalities have increased 41 percent, and truck crashes and injuries are at their highest levels in 25 years
- The number of bicyclists killed in large truck crashes increased 34 percent
- The number of pedestrians killed in large truck crashes increased 44 percent
Truck Underride Crashes are a uniquely dangerous crash type
One of the unique safety issues posed by large trucks is the catastrophic danger of underride crashes. Underride crashes occur when a vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian travels underneath the trailer of a large truck. These types of crashes are extremely dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians because they make it extremely likely that the person biking or walking may become caught between the trucks wheels or sustain serious neck and head injuries due to contact with the trailer.
While rear underride guards are legally required, the existing standards are antiquated and inadequate. Side and front guards are still not required by law, despite having been mandated in multiple other countries for years. As part of Vision Zero efforts, some cities, such as Boston, New York, and Seattle, have begun to require city owned and contracted vehicles to have side underride guards, but no national requirement exists.
What can you do right now to address the issue of truck crashes?
- Strengthen the inadequate federal safety standard for rear underride guards
- Require side underride guards on trailers
- Study the use of front override guards on trucks
- Require maintenance for all underride guards
Want to learn more about truck underride crashes?
Visit the Truck Safety Coalition’s website fact sheets and infographics page for more information on truck underride crashes: .
Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to learn more about side underride guards: