The Chainlink

Avondale: Driver of City-Owned Truck Hit 31-Year-Old Cyclist, Woman Critically Injured

This is a truck owned by the city of Chicago. 

"A bicyclist was run over and critically injured by a city vehicle Tuesday morning in Avondale on the Northwest Side. The crash happened about 8:30 a.m. as the 31-year-old woman was riding northwest in the 3100 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago police said. As she turned right on Belmont Avenue, a truck behind her also turning right struck her and dragged her under the vehicle, trapping her, police said."

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From the linked article:

   Photos of the Avondale crash show a city truck that appears to have side guards installed.

Thanks. Good correction. Will update original post. 

Ugh, another right hook.

Thanks to the witnesses that jumped in front of truck to stop it!

It isn't clear, from what I have seen in images or read in articles, whether she was hit from the side of the truck or from the front. What I have seen suggests a significant likelihood that she was hit by the front corner of the truck and went under the bumper and frame. (e.g. the bike was pulled out from under the main part of the cab; her condition suggests that she was not run over by the rear axle, and maybe not by the front axle either). This truck, like all new S&S spreader trucks, was equipped with side guards and a crossover mirror on the front right corner to give the driver a view directly in front of the truck. If she was hit by the front of the truck, we don't know whether the driver had it properly adjusted nor whether he used it. 

"The 48-year-old male driver of the truck was taken to Swedish Hospital for observation. He told investigators the bicyclist was in his blindspot, a police spokeswoman said."

...from the news article.

There are multiple possible blind spots.

The "blind spot" argument is a frustrating one. At some point, most likely, that truck passed the cyclist. At some point, the cyclist was NOT in his blind spot. Her presence did not register to him when he thought about turning right. That's part of the problem.

How many times do you have car pass you and instantly make a move getting over to the bike lane or ignoring you are there as if they forgot immediately?

The right hook is nearly always by someone that passed you and didn't bother to remember someone was in the bike lane next to them. As a double-fault, the driver didn't bother to look. Didn't bother to consider someone could be there. I'm tired of the blind spot argument. It's not a legitimate excuse for bad driver behavior.

Maybe, maybe not. If the collision was at the side of the truck then yes, the driver passed the cyclist. If it was at the front, they did not. I have sat in one of these trucks and the blind spots down the nose, especially on the off side, are quite large. This is what crossover mirrors are designed to help address.

In the larger sense I agree with you about talk of "blind spots" - in particular, when you drive such a large truck you know they are there and you know where they are, and have a duty to take care.

And we, whether riding our bikes or driving a car, have a duty to ourselves to be aware of the blind spots of those trucks, cars too.

I've seen cars drive along for miles in the blind spot of tractor trailers, oblivious of the predicament they have placed themselves. No matter who's in the right or wrong, the truck is gonna win.

My rule of thumb is to place myself where I can see the drivers face in the vehicles mirrors. If I can see the drivers eyes, the driver can see me. And I do about any thing I can to stay out of the right side of vehicles.

That rule of thumb is a good one. I use it too.

About blind spots - if you go to 1:46 in this news video, you can see that the mirror at the front corner is folded in. Without sitting in the driver's seat, I can't tell if the passenger side mirror would be at an appropriate angle to give a good view alongside the truck.

I apologize if I'm looking at the wrong mirror but I think I've got the right one... That mirror at the front corner of the truck (if I'm zero'd in on the right one) is probably the "crossover" or "school bus" mirror that David mentioned and are actually to solve that different blind spot problem - - they are folded in like that to let the driver see directly in front of the grill of the truck (rather than along side it).  I think these were just made mandatory in New York.

I've driven a vehicle with one... it actually makes parking a lot easier too. 

ketoguychicago is correct.


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