According to a report from ABC 10, a bicyclist was struck and killed by a tractor trailer Stockton. A representative for the Stockton Police Department told reporters that the crash happened on Mariposa Road in the southeast corner of the city. Unfortunately, a 52-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The crash is still under investigation.
The tragedy serves as a reminder of the high risk that large commercial trucks pose to the most vulnerable road users, especially bicyclists and pedestrians. Here, our Stockton commercial truck accident lawyers explain the key things that bicyclists should know about tractor trailer accidents in California.
Bicyclists and Pedestrians Face Heightened Risks from Large Commercial Trucks
Bicyclists and pedestrians face significant risks when sharing the road with large commercial trucks. The size and weight of these vehicles make them much more dangerous to vulnerable road users than passenger cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, 857 bicyclists and 6,205 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States—and many of these crashes involved large commercial trucks. Beyond their sheer size, some notable safety risks that semi-trucks pose to bicyclists and pedestrians include:
- Blind spots;
- Longer stopping distances;
- Difficulty maneuvering in tight spaces; and
- Wide turning radius.
Four Safety Tips for Bicyclists Around Semi-Trucks
For bicyclists in the Stockton area, safety should always be a top priority. As a bicyclist, you should wear a helmet every time you ride. Here are four additional specific safety tips that you can use to keep yourself as safe as possible when riding a bike near a large commercial truck:
- Maintain a Safe Distance: Always keep a safe distance from semi-trucks, as they have a much larger blind spot than other vehicles. When cycling near a truck, allow at least 20-30 feet of space between you and the vehicle. This distance will give the truck driver more time to react if necessary, and will also protect you from potential debris or tire blowouts.
- Try to Stay Visible: Make sure you are visible to truck drivers by wearing bright, reflective clothing, and using lights and reflectors on your bicycle. Position yourself where the truck driver can see you, ideally in front of the cab or far behind the truck. Avoid riding directly alongside a truck, as you may be in the driver’s blind spot.
- Anticipate Wide Turns: Semi-trucks often need to make wide turns, particularly at intersections. Be prepared for trucks to swing wide and encroach on bike lanes or the shoulder while turning. When approaching an intersection, always stay behind a turning truck and never attempt to pass it on the inside.
- Be Cautious at Stops: When stopping behind a truck at a traffic light or stop sign, position yourself where the truck driver can see you in their side mirrors. Avoid stopping directly behind the truck, as the driver may not be able to see you and could unintentionally roll back into you when starting to move again.
A Trucker, Truck Company, and Other Parties May Be Held Liable for Negligence
As emphasized by the California Department of Insurance, our state uses an “at fault” standard of liability for motor vehicle collisions, including truck accidents and bicycle accidents. There may be multiple parties who can be held liable for a truck accident caused by negligence. As an injured cyclist in Stockton, you may have a claim against:
- The Trucker: The truck driver may be held liable for negligence if they were speeding, driving under the influence, or failing to adhere to traffic laws and regulations. Improperly maintained logs, driver fatigue, and distraction can also contribute to a driver’s liability in an accident.
- The Trucking Company: The company that owns the truck or employs the driver may be held responsible if they failed to properly train or supervise their driver, or if they knowingly allowed an unqualified or unfit driver to operate their vehicle. Additionally, the company could be held liable if they failed to maintain the truck in a safe condition, leading to a mechanical failure that contributed to the accident.
- Truck Maintenance Providers: If a third-party maintenance provider performed substandard work or neglected to address a known safety issue, they may be held liable for any accident resulting from their negligence.
- Cargo Loaders: Improperly loaded or unsecured cargo can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unstable and potentially leading to an accident. In such cases, the parties responsible for loading the cargo may also be held liable.
California has a Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims
Hurt in a bicycle accident involving a large semi-truck? Under California state law (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code, § 335.1), your claim is subject to a two year filing deadline. What happens if you miss the statute of limitations window? You may not be able to take legal action at all. Be proactive: Consult with a Stockton truck accident attorney who has the skills and experience to represent injured bicyclists and pedestrians as soon as possible after a serious crash.
Recovering Compensation for a Bicyclist Collision With a Truck
Were you hurt in a bicycle accident with a large commercial truck in California? State law allows you to pursue financial compensation for the full extent of your damages from the at-fault party, including both economic and non-economic losses. That being said, trucking companies and their commercial insurance providers are notoriously aggressive. They are laser-focused on paying out as little as possible to injured victims. Our Stockton, CA truck accident lawyers have the skills and experience to help bicyclists maximize their settlement or verdict, including for:
- Property damage (bicycle repairs/replacement);
- Ambulance costs and emergency room care;
- Hospital bills and other health care costs;
- Lost wages and diminished earning capability;
- Pain and suffering & mental anguish;
- Permanent disability or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
Call Our Stockton Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton truck accident attorneys have the skills and experience to protect the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians. If you or your loved one was hurt in a bike accident with a large truck or a pedestrian collision with a large truck, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up your free, no strings attached case assessment. From our Stockton law office, our attorneys serve communities all across the area, including Sacramento, Lodi, Manteca, Galt, and Sutter Creek.