This is an excerpt from the CyclingSavvy Basic Course lesson on High Risk Areas. For more, visit online.cyclingsavvy.org
Large vehicles present special hazards you need to understand.
The simple but essential rule is:
never ever… ride along the right side of a large truck
Do not pass a truck on the right.
If a truck passes you and then slows, or stops next you at an intersection, do not stay beside it. Do what you need to do to not be there.
To explain why, we’ll show you how trucks turn, where their drivers must look, where they can’t see, and how large vehicles hide you from other drivers.
In order to keep the trailer from rolling up over the sidewalk, truck drivers must start from farther left, then pull forward - sometimes having to drive into the oncoming lane for the cross street. This initially makes it look like the truck is going straight.
As the truck is making the turn, the driver must watch any pedestrians on either end of the crosswalk, as well as the vehicle at the front of the queue for the cross street.
A bicyclist riding along the curb or in a bike lane would most likely be in one of the trucks huge blind spots. Sadly, too many cyclists that get into the situation never see it coming.
The off-tracking trailer comes across very quickly, and the only escape is to immediately jump off the bike and run to the right.
Hanging back will keep you out of this danger zone. But while a cyclist who hangs back isn’t trapped in the sweep of the trailer, she would be screened from view of any on-coming drivers preparing to turn left.
The savvy cyclist will move to the left side of the lane behind the truck, so she has the best vantage to see and be seen by other drivers.