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Bike-truck accidents a growing problem

In New Orleans and in other big cities throughout the country, bicycles are becoming a popular mode of transportation. Riding is good exercise, it is environmentally friendly and it is less expensive than driving. Thus, bike lanes are becoming more prevalent, as cities encourage more riders to take to the streets.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, the number of people who travel by bicycle increased by 62 percent between 2000 and 2013. While biking to work or school instead of driving has many benefits, it does come with some problems. Bicyclists' safety is a big concern, and specifically, truck accidents involving bicyclists are becoming a growing problem.

At the same time as bicycling is becoming more popular, trucks may also be more likely to be traveling in cities with more regularity. The rise in e-commerce may be leading to more trucks delivering goods to neighborhoods throughout cities like New Orleans. Accordingly, some federal researchers are concerned that the growing numbers of truck and bicycles in cities is going to cause a rise in deadly accidents between the two.

Data shows that vehicles like semi-trucks and delivery trucks are already disproportionately involved in fatal accidents with bicyclists, relative to other vehicles. Therefore, advocates are calling for cities to adopt new safety measures to help protect bikers from truck accidents. For example, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that trucks be fitted with side guards, which would help bikers from falling under the wheels of the vehicle. But so far, cities have been slow to act on requiring side guards, and the federal government has not implemented any regulations.

Regardless of whether the local, state or federal government acts to curb the growing number of bike-truck accidents, bicyclists and truck drivers should do everything that they can to avoid these deadly collisions. If an accident is the result of a distracted truck driver, or any other form of driver negligence, the driver and the truck company may face liability for the bicyclist's accident-related damages.

Source: Times Online, "As bicycle commuting rises, so does danger of pedaling by trucks," Bridget Huber, July 14, 2015

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