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Old 12-19-08, 02:11 PM   #1
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Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Manual

Problem
Currently Maryland's (and most likely other States as well) the CDL Manual says that bicyclists are hazards and that truck drivers should honk at them (ok, in the manual it says tap the horn lightly but still that is totally bogus safety information.)

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) in their Bike Friendly States (BFS) program had this question:
Quote:
In the state driver's CDL testing and manual are questions and information regarding motorists rights and responsibilities toward bicyclists included?
Which to me implies that there is something better out their then what Maryland has.

We just got this response back from someone at MVA:
Quote:
Sorry this is a week later, but wanted to be sure I passed along this information with reference to the CDL Manual. It was suggested in the email discussion to update the CDL manual. In fact, Maryland's CDL manual is modeled on the AAMVA manual (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrations), and the sections mentioned in the email discussion regarding bicycles are actually taken word for word from the AAMVA model. There is a new version being printed this month with changes as a result of national model changes. I double-checked before sending this, and the new version of the CDL manual will have the same language on bicycles.

Because the verbage is basically handed down to us, any updates to the manual are definitely not something that could be easily changed -- likely, any request for changes would have to work their way through nationally. It may seem unfriendly for trucks to blow their horn (or tap it lightly) at bicycles to make them aware of a truck behind them (getting ready to pass), and for bicycles to be listed as a potential hazard to trucks, but certainly the national model to teach truck drivers how to drive safely would not suggest harrassment of bicycles. Both of these sections mentioned are from the section on "Driving Safely" -- with the first under "Communicating Your Presence" and the second under "Seeing Hazards."
This seems to imply that Maryland has the "best" standard CDL manual.

Question
Are there better CDL manuals out there if so can you get me links? How about supplementary bike/ped safety pamphlets at MVA any examples of that?

Ref: Maryland's CDL Manual
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Old 12-19-08, 11:21 PM   #2
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wow... our state's CDL manual seriously tells truck drivers to honk at cyclists?

wow...

I'm flabberghasted.

just completely at a loss for words.....
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Old 12-20-08, 12:01 AM   #3
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sounds like almost all manuals do, not just the one in MD
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Old 12-20-08, 12:54 AM   #4
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Does Maryland also have a contradictory law that also forbids horn use except for the express purpose of preventing a collision/accident, or situation of that nature?

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Old 12-20-08, 02:11 AM   #5
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Here's MD laws on horn use:
Quote:
Originally Posted by § 21-504. Drivers to exercise due care.
(b) Duty to warn pedestrians.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the driver of a vehicle shall, if necessary, warn any pedestrian by sounding the horn of the vehicle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by § 22-401. Horns and warning devices.
(b) When to be used.- The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation, give audible warning with his horn, but may not otherwise use the horn when on a highway.
Isn't legal in most states to honk to give warning? Driver "Warning, I'm about to run you over." Honk, thump, thump. "Well I did warn that cyclist so I exercised due care."
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Old 12-20-08, 02:42 AM   #6
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The drivers manual when I learned to drive told us to tap the horn when overtaking cyclists. It's been changed by now, but it still retained the language up until relatively recently.
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Old 12-20-08, 11:07 AM   #7
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Here's MD laws on horn use:

Quote:
(b) Duty to warn pedestrians.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the driver of a vehicle shall, if necessary, warn any pedestrian by sounding the horn of the vehicle.
I can just envision it now. Ped crosses street @ intersection, left-turning motorist from cross street honks and cuts him off.

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Old 12-20-08, 11:26 AM   #8
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It won't bother me one bit if they honk to let me know they are going to pass. That way I'll be sure to hear them over my ipod.
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Old 12-20-08, 12:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
I can just envision it now. Ped crosses street @ intersection, left-turning motorist from cross street honks and cuts him off.
You've been here? That's the way it works in a lot of places.
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Old 12-20-08, 02:58 PM   #10
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And since I know how hard it is to find a break in traffic to make that left turn, i'll often wave the car through when i'm the pedestrian. I don't mind giving up 10 seconds of my time to save someone else minutes waiting.
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Old 12-20-08, 03:50 PM   #11
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Sheesh...

It's more like, "Warning, it's going to take me three times as far to stop and I can't swerve to miss you."

Nothing "harassing" about that.
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Old 12-20-08, 04:02 PM   #12
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Probably they're cases where honking is a good thing but we have lots of cases where MTA bus drivers honk at cyclists and then pull away from then into the cyclist to run them off the road just to get to a red light before the cyclist. Where is the instruction to separate the good from the bad behavior?
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Old 12-20-08, 05:31 PM   #13
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There's someone on my commute who every time they pass me on this rural highway at around 5:00 am they honk their horn. There are just enough other cars on the road at that time (maybe a dozen or so over the course of 45 minutes) to where I can't know for sure who it is until this person honks their horn when they're almost past me. The problem is its a 65mph highway and so at that speed they ARE well past before I even have a chance to react anyway. Scares the crap out of me every time. I'm always WAY over on the very WIDE shoulder (fortunately), and am lit up like a Christmas tree from behind......so don't try to tell me there's ANY practical reason for them to honk at that point. I've come to the conclusion after initially giving them the benefit of the doubt that he/she is just doing it to be an ass. Guess I should just be lucky they're not buzzing me, but it's still annoying as hell.
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Old 12-21-08, 11:38 AM   #14
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This is the only thing I could find about bicyclists in the CO cdl manual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado CDL Manual
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Can Also Be Hazards. Walkers, joggers, and bicyclists may be on the road with their back to the traffic, so they can-not see you. Sometimes they wear portable stereos with headsets, so they cannot hear you either. This can be dangerous. On rainy days, pedestrians may not see you because of hats or umbrellas. They may be hurrying to get out of the rain and may not pay attention to the traffic.
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Old 12-22-08, 01:06 AM   #15
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This is the only thing I could find about bicyclists in the CO cdl manual.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists Can Also Be Hazards
Maybe it should read: Pedestrians and Bicyclists can make YOU....as a driver of a large commercial vehicle.....a hazard to THEM. Be careful and cut them some ****ing slack, will ya?

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Old 12-22-08, 01:08 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
This is the only thing I could find about bicyclists in the CO cdl manual.
http://www.google.com/search?q=Pedes...ient=firefox-a

Same or nearly the same wording present in documents relating to the following locations: Honolulu, Nevada, NY (DMV), Connecticut, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington State (also a CDL manual), Maine.

Seems to be some generic writeup that got passed about and adopted into various manuals.

Funny how the peds come under the heading of "Drivers Who Are Hazards." Come to think of it, how about the wording of that heading itself - not "Drivers Who May Be Hazards," but "Are Hazards;" as if all in said subsection are automatically in the wrong by existence.

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Old 12-22-08, 01:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Funny how the peds come under the heading of "Drivers Who Are Hazards." Come to think of it, how about the wording of that heading itself - not "Drivers Who May Be Hazards," but "Are Hazards;" as if all in said subsection are automatically in the wrong by existence.


If you really saw how unpredictable pedestrians ARE, you'd automatically label them as hazards, too. When they get scary is when they traipse into traffic, saying, "They're supposed to stop for me -- it's the law," and rely on the idiot drivers to be paying attention.

This is simple defensive driving. Assume that "the other person", whether they're on a bike, on foot, or in a car, is going to do something absolutely idiotic which will put themselves under your wheel.

The myopic view of most A&S'ers is astounding. Seriously.
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Old 12-22-08, 08:51 AM   #18
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If you really saw how unpredictable pedestrians ARE, you'd automatically label them as hazards, too. When they get scary is when they traipse into traffic, saying, "They're supposed to stop for me -- it's the law," and rely on the idiot drivers to be paying attention.

This is simple defensive driving. Assume that "the other person", whether they're on a bike, on foot, or in a car, is going to do something absolutely idiotic which will put themselves under your wheel.

The myopic view of most A&S'ers is astounding. Seriously.
No, it's not a myopic view. It's the reality of today's situation on the ROAD. The whole idea is to SHARE the road. Whether or not that concept is conducive to a harmonious relationships among the three parties involved (vehicle, bike, pedestrian) is a different argument. But as it stands, the point of our posts is to make mention of the fashion in which the manual is written. It automatically assumes that the vehicle is king and that the OTHER two are "invaders" of sorts that "pose" the hazard (never mind that the other two are completely unprotected by the same degree of relative invincibility of a faster, larger, hunk of metal and gears). And in that sense, the wording seems out of date and definitely out of touch.

Nobody is contending your claims about the idiocy of some pedestrians (and cyclists for that matter). But what does that mean "if you really saw how unpredictable pedestrians are"??? Most of live in areas where we've SEEN the people you described. We all know people are by their very nature unpredictable. And in that tortured context I suppose one could argue that they ARE the hazard, but I also don't think, referring to your comment about them thinking "you're supposed to stop for me", you can conclude by the actions of the few foolish that all pedestrians think that way (though I would concede your point about the need to assume as a motorist that any are CAPABLE of acting in that way). The fact is as long as all three are sharing the road, all are equally culpable for following the rules. And all cudack888 and I were suggesting is the phrasing of the manual seemed to be mischaracterizing the equality PRECISELY because it was written in an old fashioned and myopic way. There doesn't seem to be as many concessions from the motorist point of view (ie the manual) that they are capable of being just as idiotic (or just plain non-attentive).

So.....please, don't insult the intelligence of the contributing members of the A&S threads. "Seriously".

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Old 12-22-08, 09:07 AM   #19
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When we ride we try to get the trucks to Honk.
It is a good way to stretch your arms.

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Old 12-22-08, 10:19 AM   #20
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Hey lets all get out air horns and start honking at everything that's a hazard. That should make the world a better and safer place to be.

We need more to realize that honking works.
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Old 12-22-08, 11:29 AM   #21
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If you really saw how unpredictable pedestrians ARE, you'd automatically label them as hazards, too. When they get scary is when they traipse into traffic, saying, "They're supposed to stop for me -- it's the law," and rely on the idiot drivers to be paying attention.
Nice job of twisting the meaning of my initial post.

I never said that pedestrians are unpredictable - they rank right up there with motorists, if not worse. My beef with the wording was the fact that it would imply that "all in said subsection are automatically in the wrong by existence." - that is, all pedestrians are automatically at fault, even if, say, the only pedestrian in the area involves someone 150 feet from the road, with his/her back to said road, knocking on the door of a house or building.

The wording of this manual would imply that the individual in my example is an automatic hazard. He/she isn't - they are not a potential hazard until their path begins to take any insinuated trajectory towards the roadway.

That said, the example I give is unlikely - but not improbable. It is for that reason that I take offense at wording that places all members of a certain group at absolute fault before a situation is evaluated.

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Old 12-22-08, 11:42 AM   #22
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It is for that reason that I take offense at wording that places all members of a certain group at absolute fault before a situation is evaluated.
+1 Thanks for that wording, that helps.
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Old 12-22-08, 12:09 PM   #23
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+1 Thanks for that wording, that helps.
Glad to clarify it.

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Old 12-22-08, 04:36 PM   #24
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It is for that reason that I take offense at wording that places all members of a certain group at absolute fault before a situation is evaluated.
See sig -- "The time and place for education..." etc etc.

You can't evaluate whether someone's an idiot or not until after a situation. Until then, you wager that they're going to do something stupidly unsafe, and try to act accordingly to minimize any chance of hitting them.

In other words, you should anticipate utter stupidity at every turn. Then you can be pleasantly surprised when no incident occurs.

I'm going to stand by my "myopic" statement, too. Unfortunately, I don't think BF -- specifically A&S -- will ever improve.
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Old 12-22-08, 04:43 PM   #25
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But as it stands, the point of our posts is to make mention of the fashion in which the manual is written. It automatically assumes that the vehicle is king and that the OTHER two are "invaders" of sorts that "pose" the hazard (never mind that the other two are completely unprotected by the same degree of relative invincibility of a faster, larger, hunk of metal and gears). And in that sense, the wording seems out of date and definitely out of touch.
What's "out of touch" is forgetting that trucks are big, lumbering, barely maneuverable, brontosaurus-sized machines that are going to have a hell of a time avoiding some lunkhead cyclist bunny-hopping off a curb.

Like I said in my previous post, it's impossible to accurately anticipate what someone else is going to do, so you anticipate the worst and hope that it's not even more ridiculous than that.

I hope that nobody here is stupid enough to wobble or swerve across three lanes in front of a truck. But you know that there are cyclists (and peds and drivers) who do that kind of thing -- I'll bet you've already seen one this week. This CDL manual quote that everyone's *****ing about isn't about the smart riders, it's about the stupid ones.
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