As pickup size increases, so does the danger to bicyclists

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents |

There’s a new trend among some social media savvy bicyclists: taking selfies in front of large Silverado pickup trucks. The point is to visually show how large pickup trucks are in 2021: large enough that some bicyclists barely are taller than the hood of these vehicles. The selfies aim to help raise awareness of the increasing dangers bicyclists face because of oversize vehicles.

Pickups get bigger and bigger

Since 1990, U.S. pickup trucks have grown in size and in weight, up almost 1,300 pounds on average. With increased weight, these vehicles bring more force when they are involved in accidents, which can be deadly for pedestrians and bicyclists. Plus, with an oversize pickup truck, a driver has a bigger blind spot, so it’s easier for a driver not to see a bicyclist riding near them.

The number of bicyclists killed in fatal vehicle accidents has been on the rise overall since 2010, up 36% over the last decade. Most safety experts agree part of that upward trend is related to how large pickup and SUV vehicles have become. One area of pickup trucks that keep getting larger are their grilles. If a bicyclist is hit by a truck with a larger grille, they literally can be run over.

And while California is known as the place where drivers have embraced smaller electric vehicles, more Californians bought Ford F-series pickups in 2017 than bought electric vehicles. So, bicyclists need to be aware of the dangers these larger vehicles bring.

Biggest safety factors for bicyclists

For bicyclists who want to avoid a catastrophic injury because of a vehicle crash, wearing a helmet, using bike lanes and wearing bright clothing can help. So can avoiding being in a large vehicle’s blind spot.

However, in the end, drivers of larger pickups and SUVs also need to pay special attention in mixed commercial areas and residential areas, where bicyclists and pedestrians are more prevalent. No one wants to cause a tragic accident because they didn’t take the time to look for others sharing the road with them.