Backing a large truck is one of the most hazardous manuevers a driver faces. One major reason is due to a major blind spot behind the truck due to the sight limitations of the truck's side view mirrors.
Case in point: we recently resolved a case where an operator of a commercial garbage truck began to back up at the intersection of two major state roads in an effort to access a private driveway. The driver literally ran over a motorcyclist that was stopped behind the truck approximately 20-25 feet. Because the truck began to back up at a higher rate of speed than normal, and because of oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, the motorcyclist had nowhere to go when he perceived that the truck was continuing to back up and was not stopping. And since a motorcycle has no "reverse gear," the garbage truck driver unfortunately ran over the motorcyclist despite his efforts to evade the oncoming truck.
We employed a team of experts to re-create the accident and perform a blind spot analysis of the truck. Using an exemplar motorcycle, we established that the truck had a blind spot (defined as the distance behind the truck in which the motorcycle could not be seen in the side view mirrors) of an astonishing 106 feet.
The lessons here are obvious. First, large trucks should avoid backing up if at all possible. In this case, the inexperienced driver could have pulled directly into the driveway instead of the risky maneuver of attempting to back up over 63 feet on a state route in order to back into the driveway. Secondly, the driver failed to use a spotter (the fellow employee in the truck) to exit the truck and assist the driver in backing up, where the motorcyclist would have been easily seen. it is precisely for this reason why all Comercial Driving License (CDL) manuals strongly discourage backing and encourage the use of spotters if at all possible.
For all you motorcyclists, I imagine you would be suprised to learn that a large truck's blind spot for motorcycles is over 100 feet (it sure suprised me). So make sure you give yourself some extra distance behind a large truck if you find yourself stopped behind one. In our case our client did nothing wrong but, armed with this newfound knowledge, the extra distance you give yourself may give you the extra second or 2 you need to avoid the carelessness and inexperience of others.