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Old 09-20-06, 11:18 AM   #1
rover
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Just a Rant

I must say that overall I have very few complaints about the drivers in my area. I haven't had a horn blown at me in two years, and have never been sworn at. However, yesterday I got a little rankled. I went for a short one hour ride on one of my favorite routes. Except for a short in town section the route has nicely paved 4 foot shoulders for its entire route. About midway thorough the ride is was on the shoulder, positioned about 1 foot from the grass when an 18 wheeler buzzed me! The guy was within a foot of hitting me putting him a good two feet over the fog line. Initially I was lived, feeling that he had done this intentionally. As I watched him travel down the road he drifted back into his lane and across the double yellow causing an oncoming car to swerve onto the shoulder. The truck then drifted back across the lane and onto my shoulder again. So it turns out that the driver wasn't a psychopath, just completely inept. Am I wrong in my assumption that drivers of commercial vehicles are required to attend more training than the rest of us?

As if that weren't enough, as I returned to town I entered the portion of my ride that has no shoulder. I was less than a block from my apartment when I took the lane in order to make the left hand turn onto my street. The car behind me gave me a lot of space, which was nice. There was a car approaching that wanted to make a right onto my street. According to the rules of the road, she had the right of way, as I was going to cross her lane in order to make my turn. I could see that she was a bit tentative about my presence so I waved her on, to make my intentions clear. She started to make the turn, but halfway into it she slams on her brakes for no reason and stares at me. I there had been a car behind her she would have been hit. With the car behind me I didn't want to hit my brakes in the middle of the road, so I made my turn in front of the oncoming car. She pulled into a parking lot just up the street from my apartment, and I considered stopping up there to tell her to just treat us like a car in that situation, but I was pretty agitated by the truck and didn't think my comments would come across as "friendly advice."
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Old 09-20-06, 11:23 AM   #2
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commercial drivers are supposed to have more training...but they, like all drivers, have the freedom to forget it.

as per the lady stopping mid-turn, maybe you made the slightest movement necessary to scare her into thinking you were going to take your turn...some people are too timid of bikers.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:29 AM   #3
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I'd have pulled out my phone and reported an erratic driver driving a big rig. Most cops will follow up on it. I would probably have neglected to say anything about riding a bike, just that he'd nearly run me into the ditch, then had crossed the double yellow causing an oncoming driver to swerve towards the other ditch.

Odds are they would have followed up. Bonus points if you had a plate number.

It sounds like the guy may have been driving way too many hours. I believe the guy has a right to make a living, but he doesn't have a right to run down people in the road. Next time he does that he could easily wipe out a car with kids, or even a school bus.

Weird situation on the right-turner. I often get people who are too polite, but to stop halfway through a turn where you clearly have right-of-way and have been waived through is just bizarre.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:33 AM   #4
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I will rant with you on the weaving vehicles,
This scares the bejesus out me.
It is not however a comercial driver thing, just a people thing.
I have noticed that most people cant pushing a shoping cart in straight line with out bumping into other people.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:36 AM   #5
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When I want to show someone that they need to turn before I do (and I'm stopped), I just put my foot down. If they are really stubborn, I put both feet down.

+1 for calling the cops on the erratic big rig.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:38 AM   #6
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+2 for calling the cops on the big rig
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Old 09-20-06, 11:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazygluon
commercial drivers are supposed to have more training...but they, like all drivers, have the freedom to forget it.
Exactly. Most treat CDL training as though it's focused on imparting you with knowledge to pass the CDL test and get the license. Passing a test still just means you can pass a test, and says nothing about how you utilize the relevant information in real-world applications. It still comes down to the individual behind the wheel choosing to follow the law and engaging in safe behavior, or choosing to ignore it and endangering the lives of others.

My old man's been a truck driver for more than half his life, and has worked for companies which don't pay much attention to driving records and driver conduct, and more recently for one that does (and doesn't just punish bad drivers, but awards the good ones safe driving bonuses). Next time a commercial vehicle nearly creams you, please call the company if you can catch the truck number, the license number, or anything else. Some of them really will take action. This of course doesn't help for contracted independent drivers who own their own rig, but hey, where possible, it's worth a shot.

EDIT: And calling the cops should, as suggested above, be done regardless. Heck, do both when possible, as word from you *and* the cops is only going to drive the point home harder.
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Old 09-22-06, 09:00 AM   #8
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Usually, if someone relinquishes their right-of-way to me, I take it. If they were to stop in the middle of the intersection as you described, I would consider that erratic driving and I would wait till they were the hell out there before moving.
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Old 09-22-06, 10:31 AM   #9
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Just to play devil's advocate, maybe the truck driver's rig was being pushed by the wind. The wind might have been blowing from behind you and you didn't notice. However, the driver should have slowed to a safer speed if the wind affected him that much. Then again, maybe he was just absent-mindedly tired, who knows... But I will definitely remember to call police when I see an eratic driver now; Good idea!

As far as the right-turning woman, I am safely assertive around the cars and try not to cross in front of them in that situation. I would have passed on her right side, so she wouldn't even have to think about me crossing her path, then cut across the lane behind her to finish making my turn.
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Old 09-22-06, 11:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazygluon
commercial drivers are supposed to have more training...
Here in the US, there are a lot of commercial drivers that are from across the borders. They may not have as much required "training" as the US commercial drivers.
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Old 09-22-06, 12:16 PM   #11
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Yeah, if your calling a truck company there are two numbers on a tractor trailer one on the tractor it usually is on the back you won't be able to see that some companys have it on the side of the tractor. Then there is the trailer number that runs up the left side. Sometimes on the back not to defend truck drivers because they need to be held responsible for their actions. They are incontrol of a piece of machinery that is over 60 feet long plus they have millions of buttons, and other gauges they need to check, and maintain. They just don't get in the thing like a car, and take off. They have millions of things to do, and inevitably they do make mistakes. It is just my take on it that is all
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Old 09-22-06, 01:03 PM   #12
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Over here the biggest cause of motorway (freeway) accidents - over 60% - are caused by truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel or doing something really stupid - like the truck driver here (UK) who was banned from driving for reading a newspaper while driving.

I don't know what it's like in the States, but we have plenty of motorway services where you can stop and have coffee and a meal and a rest if you need it.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:13 PM   #13
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have plenty of motorway services where you can stop and have coffee and a meal and a rest if you need it.
It depends on where you are in the country when you go out east there is no truck places because of room allowances
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Old 09-22-06, 03:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingingSabre
When I want to show someone that they need to turn before I do (and I'm stopped), I just put my foot down. If they are really stubborn, I put both feet down.

+1 for calling the cops on the erratic big rig.
Add another in agreement and I WAS a trucker for 25 years!
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Old 09-22-06, 04:18 PM   #15
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Last year my brother in law got buzzed right outside of his hometown by a truck from a company that has trucks go through town all the time. He called a cop he knows, and with a couple of days 4 trucks from that company received tickets for various offenses. I think they got the message.
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Old 09-22-06, 06:57 PM   #16
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positioned about 1 foot from the grass when an 18 wheeler buzzed me!
Not to get all Helmet Head on your azz, but WTF are you doing 1 foot from the edge when an 18-wheeler is bearing down on you?

Basically, as cyclists, we need to MANAGE traffic, and you can't do that from a position of utter gutter.

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Old 09-23-06, 07:24 AM   #17
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Both my husband and myself are former taxi-drivers.

One night I was almost finished my shift when I was given a job to take passengers to Gatwick Airport, approx 100 miles away. I knew I shouldn't have taken the job but did. The motorway was quiet, just the occasional truck. The family fell asleep...and so did I. It was my head going down quick that woke me up. I got such an adrenalin rush that I was wide-awake from that point on. To this day I count myself very, very lucky I didn't kill us all and have never done something so stupid again. I fell asleep probably only for a split second but it was probably the most frightening experience I've ever had in all the 30 odd years I've been driving.

We sometimes drive up to Scotland to visit my family. Hubby and I take it in turns to drive and we make sure we have frequent stops even if it means pulling off the motorway, finding a quiet spot and having some sleep. It might add on extra time to our journey but I'd rather that than kill ourselves and possibly take other innocent people with us.

A hard lesson learnt.
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