Bicyclists and pedestrians present even more safety challenges on the road for all drivers: they lack protection in a crash, are slower than motor vehicles, and hard for drivers to see – particularly truck and bus drivers.
It’s vital for bicyclists and pedestrians to understand large trucks and buses and be proactive in staying safe.
1. Stay out of Blind Spots ("No Zones")
Never walk or ride too close to a large truck or bus. Large vehicles have huge blind spots around all four sides, making it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and bicyclists.
If you can’t see the driver in the vehicle mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Always assume the driver does not see you and take extra care.
Never walk or ride behind a truck or bus that is backing up; drivers often cannot see directly behind their vehicle.
2. Prepare for Wide Turns
If a large vehicle is stopped at an intersection or about to turn right, never walk or ride between the vehicle and the curb. Commercial vehicles make wide turns and could easily hit you as they complete the turn.
3. Respect Long Stopping Distances
Big blind spots and long stopping distances can be a deadly combination. Never cross in front of a moving truck or cut in too close after passing a truck or bus on a bike.
4. Make Yourself Visible
Bright clothing is easier to see in the daytime. At night or during bad weather, wear reflective clothing, use reflectors and lights on your bike, and carry a flashlight and/or wear a headlight while walking.
5. Obey Traffic Laws, Signals and Signs
Bicyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs and should ride with the flow of traffic. Pedestrians should obey signals and cross at intersections and crosswalks.
Never assume that because you have the right of way, drivers (particularly truck and bus drivers) will see you and yield for you.
6. Stay Alert and Undistracted
Listening to music leaves a rider or pedestrian unable to hear sirens, horns and other warnings. Earbuds plus cellphones can lead pedestrians to walk into other people – or traffic – putting themselves and others at risk. Stop walking while using your device, then put it away and pay attention to safety while in motion.
7. Don't Ride or Walk Impaired
Alcohol decreases motor skills and judgment whether you’re driving, on a bike or walking. If you’ve been drinking, get a safe ride or take public transportation.
Alcohol use is a major factor in pedestrian fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2013, 34% of all pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher (as opposed to 15% of the drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities).
More Safety Tips for Bicyclists
1. Wear Your Helmet
2. Stay Aware of Traffic
3. Check Your Brakes
More Safety Tips for Pedestrians
1. Watch Your Walkways
2. Be Extra Alert in Parking Lots, Filling Stations and Rest Stops
3. Take Extra Care at Bus Stops
4. Watch for Wide Loads