Ride a Bicycle or Take a Walk in Indiana or Illinois: Rising Danger of Large Truck Accidents with Pedestrians and Bicyclists


Ride a Bicycle or Take a Walk in Indiana or Illinois: Rising Danger of Large Truck Accidents with Pedestrians and Bicyclists

It’s well known that any traffic accident that involves a large truck — big rig, semi, tractor trailer, 18 wheeler — often results in people dying and those that escape being killed in the large truck crash are often seriously injured. Lives are permanently altered: victims, their families, and their loved ones all suffer from a commercial truck crash.

However, what is not as well known is the rising danger of large trucks hitting people who are riding bicycles or walking along the roadway. Federal studies have shown that there has been an almost 40% increase in fatal deaths in truck – bicyclist accidents since 2008, and a jump of almost 35% in deaths of people walking on the street in truck – pedestrian accidents as well.

More and more people are dying in large truck crashes that are not driving a vehicle at all. Even more are suffering serious injuries in these large truck wrecks. For more details, check our prior post with all the research information on this growing large truck danger.

Large Truck Crashes Hitting Pedestrians or Bicyclists in Indiana and Illinois

Think this never happens in our part of the country?

Well, consider the tragic accident back in August 2015 between a large truck and a pedestrian that happened mid-morning on a Wednesday in Indianapolis. A tanker truck hit a young woman who was crossing the street. The police confirmed the crash was not her fault. News reports were that she may have been walking to get help for car trouble.

Less than two weeks later, in Chicago, a semi-truck hit a mother who was pushing a stroller through a crosswalk, on her way to the bus stop. Both mother and her two-year-old were pinned underneath the large truck.  Again, the pedestrian was not found to be at fault.

In our part of the country, we have a tremendous number of large commercial trucks sharing the roads with cars and SUVs as well as driving alongside people who walk or ride bikes. Hoosiers need to be alert to this rising danger, as do our families and friends living and working in Illinois.

Liability for Large Truck Crashes Involving Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Unfortunately, all too often the people who were minding their own business, walking along or riding their bike, not only face recovering from serious physical injuries in a large truck crash but they have to defend themselves when they are blamed for what happened to them.

Even though it is known that truck drivers have blind spots and cannot see their surroundings clearly, their company and their insurance adjuster will be all too ready to argue that the pedestrian or bicyclist is at fault for the crash.

It is true that pedestrians and bike riders need to follow safety laws. They need to cross the street at the corner, using the crosswalk. They need to walk, not run, as they cross the street. Bicyclists need to follow safety laws, as well. Riding a bike doesn’t mean that the rider has the right to weave through traffic, for instance, or to ignore stop signs or traffic signals.

Still, the very reality of a heavy machine weighing 25,000 pounds or more hitting a human being on a bicycle or on foot suggests that the truck driver sitting high up in the cab is more likely than not responsible for the truck-pedestrian or truck-bicycle crash. In addition to blind spots, there are the problems of truck drivers not being able to stop their rig quickly; of trucks being loaded down with full cargo and hard to manuever; and with truck drivers driving while fatigued, or being distracted while driving, or driving under the influence of drugs.

Victims of large truck crashes in these pedestrian accidents or bicycle crashes need to know that liability may need to proven with things like witness statements and accident reconstruction even though the reason for the crash seems pretty clear to them and their loved ones. Especially for those with serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, making sure that their claims are fully respected is extremely important.

In these cases, experts in these kinds of crashes may be needed to provide their professional opinion on how this kind of large truck accident could have occurred. Trucking companies have years of expertise in dealing with damage claims as well as insurance adjusters and legal defense teams ready to immediately come to bat for the truck driver even though the David and Goliath reality of these kinds of accidents seems to make responsibility for the accident very clear.

Right of Way Laws in Indiana and Illinois

Both Indiana and Illinois have “right of way” laws that protect pedestrians. These laws exist here, as well as in most other states, to keep people on foot safe as they walk on streets and near traffic.

Why? All kinds of pedestrian traffic accidents that result in the death of the person who was walking are increasing. In 2012, pedestrian deaths rose to their highest level since 2006; today, they make up 14% of the total traffic deaths in the United States.

Illinois Right of Way Law

In Illinois, all vehicles (including large trucks) must yield the right-of-way to to pedestrians in a crosswalk who are in or closely approaching the same half of the road as the vehicle.

They must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at all plainly marked crosswalks.

They must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at any intersection where there are flashing red lights or where there is a stop sign.

Pedestrians cannot suddenly enter a crosswalk and into the path of traffic if there is a moving vehicle coming close enough that it’s dangerous.

Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

If there’s a traffic light or traffic control device, and it’s working, then the pedestrian must cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk. If the device allows it, they can cross an intersection diagonally.

Pedestrians with disabilities may cross outside a marked crosswalk if the intersection is physically inaccessible to them but they still have to yield the right-of-way to all the vehicles on the road.

Indiana Right of Way Law

In Indiana, all vehicles (including large trucks) have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk who are in or closely approaching the same half of the road as the vehicle.

Large trucks and all other vehicles approaching a yield sign must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian legally crossing the roadway.

Pedestrians cannot suddenly enter a crosswalk and into the path of traffic if there is a moving vehicle coming close enough that it’s dangerous.

They have to yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing a street outside of a marked crosswalk, or where there is no marked crosswalk.

If there’s a traffic light or traffic control device, and it’s working, then the pedestrian must cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk. If the device allows it, they can cross an intersection diagonally.

The Danger Of Large Truck Crashes Where Pedestrians Or Bicyclists Are Being Killed Is Higher Than It Has Been in Years.  Be Careful Of These Big Rig Semi Trucks When  You Are Riding Your Bicycle Or Walking Down the Street.
Be Careful Out There!

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