After Recent Tragedies, Ride Illinois Adds Truck-Bike Safety Info to Online Quiz
In 2016 truck drivers fatally struck four young adults on bikes in Chicago and Evanston, including Virginia Murray, Lisa Kuivinen, Chuyuan Qiu, and Anastasia Kondrasheva. In response, in summer 2017, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance requiring truck side guards — which help prevent pedestrians and cyclists from falling under the wheels — and convex safety mirrors on large trucks used by some companies doing business with the city. $5 million was also earmarked for installing the gear on 1,700 city fleet vehicles.
However, in August 2018, the driver of a dumptruck with no side guards fatally struck spin instructor and triathlon coach Angela Park, 39, on her bike while he was making a right turn in Greektown.
In the wake of this most recent tragedy, the statewide bike advocacy organization Ride Illinois hopes to educate truckers about how to operate safely around people on bikes. The group has added a new truck driver module to its BikeSafetyQuiz.com website, which serves as a resource for cyclists, drivers, students, police departments, and others.
According to Ride Illinois, since 2013 over 75,000 people have taken the online test, which includes Illinois Secretary of State-approved content covering state laws and tips for avoiding common types of motor vehicle- bike crashes. In addition to the new module for truck drivers, there are also quizzes for child bicyclists, adult cyclists, other types of motorists, and drivers ed students. The material covered in the trucker module is also relevant for bus drivers.
In addition, new questions regarding best practices for staying safe while biking near around trucks and buses, have been added to the adult bicyclist module.
“Bicycle safety around trucks and buses has been a growing concern,” said Ed Barsotti, Chief Programs Officer of Ride Illinois. “We want to close a gap in education for people riding bicycles and driving trucks.”
Ride Illinois plans to contact trucking companies to ask them to encourage their drivers to take the quiz. It’s clearly in the companies’ interest to do so, since educating their employees about avoiding truck-bike crashes can help prevent future lawsuits, and it goes without saying that doing so could save lives.