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Old 12-10-15, 11:25 AM   #1
AlmostTrick
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The Surly, Long Honk Trucker

45+ mph 4 lane road, I’m dead center in the right lane, cranking over 20 MPH. A large diesel pick up turns on the horn several hundred feet behind me. My lights and Hi–Vis gear must work great, because I was at least an entire football field in front of him!

These weren’t multiple honks mind you, but one looooong honk, at least 15 seconds worth! Monster truck driver obviously wanted me to move out of his almighty way, because you know, pedal bikes shouldn’t be there!

Thing is, I’m not “in the way” to antagonize any drivers. I’m there because the lane is too narrow to safely share (especially at 50+ mph) and there is no shoulder… Even if they don’t understand the law or the reasons why one would ride in this manner, most motorists take it in stride and deal with it in a calm and sensible manner.

My motto is when they honk, that’s a confirmation that they see us… and so will avoid hitting us. A side benefit is their honking alerts other drivers nearby that something that may require their attention is going on, which causes them to pay more attention.

I watched in my mirror as the driver slowed behind me. (could've just went around, but didn't) I held my line and did not acknowledge them in any way. After tailing me for a few seconds, (horn still on ) he/she passed on my left. Not as wide as they should have, but not dangerously close either. I glided right about a foot to increase my buffer.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to reward aggressive behavior. Events like this are a rare occurrence for me, but I will not cower down to drivers who attempt to intimidate me with their vehicles.

Sorry, no video… I don’t do that.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:35 AM   #2
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Probably isn't the best idea to antagonize drivers, but honestly I would have done the same thing as you. I generally ride in the right tire track but if someone honks at me I move to the middle of the lane and stay there as long as possible. Like you said, honking is an acknowledgement that they know you're there. They can't claim "oh I didn't see them" then.

But then again, as viewed from the other side, maybe they were rushing to the hospital with their pregnant wife in the passenger's seat.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:42 AM   #3
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Wow! Both of you are legally dead right jerks. Why not try that in the Pacific Northwest.. ya, try to slow do a log truck that's overloaded.. see what happens.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:44 AM   #4
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I'm fortunate that I'm able to avoid roads like that. That kind of situation really messes with my serenity.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:50 AM   #5
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Is it complain-about-traffic week? Everyone must have their lights and studs all worked out, I guess.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:51 AM   #6
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If I'm in the lane I take it (no messing around w/ tire tracks, cars always think they can find a around that other tire track) but if it's 50mph traffic I am likely to try a different route. There is one road I commute on that is 25 posted but people go 35, I feel fine taking that lane (because it is 4 lane like you describe so there is a passing lane; in our PNW freaked out passive aggressive culture the left lane is actually the slow one). Around my office it's posted 35/40 and people go 50, and I don't mess with them.
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Old 12-10-15, 12:02 PM   #7
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Wow! Both of you are legally dead right jerks. Why not try that in the Pacific Northwest.. ya, try to slow do a log truck that's overloaded.. see what happens.
I am not sure how you consider the OP a "dead right jerk"? He has as much right to the lane as any other vehicle, centering himself in the lane as he described is prudent riding and he seemed to indicate it was not safe to share the lane. On another note although I tend to ride right center to protect against drivers lane sharing, I am a bit conflicted here in AZ. According to the AZ bike law bicyclists are suppose to ride as far to the right as safely possible. I guess it is open to interpretation, but to me it implies riding right center violates the law and if a cyclist was struck doing so, it could be argued successfully that the cyclist was at fault for riding essentially in the middle of the lane. I am not an attorney and I have not read any case law, just speculating on my interpretation of AZ law, in any case I tend to ride right center of lane for what I deem my own safety.
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Old 12-10-15, 12:57 PM   #8
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Is it complain-about-traffic week? Everyone must have their lights and studs all worked out, I guess.



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Old 12-10-15, 01:03 PM   #9
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Wow! Both of you are legally dead right jerks. Why not try that in the Pacific Northwest.. ya, try to slow do a log truck that's overloaded.. see what happens.
Wow! You seem to be an anti-cyclist rights jerk! He would be more likely to be dead if he were at the far right edge by someone not paying attention and only just seeing him at the last second before it was too late to move over.

How about instead of calling a cyclist, doing what he determines is best to keep him safe at that particular time and place, a jerk; instead call the impatient moron truck motorist a jerk for laying on the horn instead of simply passing when there was ample opportunity? He wasn't even holding up anyone. The truck driver CHOSE to be an arse by laying on the horn and staying in the lane behind him, instead of simply changing lanes, passing, and getting on with his life.
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Old 12-10-15, 05:02 PM   #10
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Why not try that in the Pacific Northwest.. ya, try to slow do a log truck that's overloaded.. see what happens.
Is this a threat? 'Cause it kinda sounds like it is. The old Might Makes Right so you better move aside or else. Our rights to the road don't work that way... unless we willingly hand them over to bullies. No thanks.

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I'm fortunate that I'm able to avoid roads like that. That kind of situation really messes with my serenity.
I'm fortunate too. Tailgating honker only happened to me 3 times in almost 10 years of regular commuting, 24,XXX miles... which is why it is so rare and noteworthy. All 3 were trucks. I didn't bail or flinch on any of them. The last one was a fancy Escalade PU, (she got the closest) the first was a semi dump truck. He had the loudest horn! He also passed me with LOTS of room once it was safe to do so. I waved.

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If I'm in the lane I take it (no messing around w/ tire tracks, cars always think they can find a around that other tire track) but if it's 50mph traffic I am likely to try a different route.
Right tire track works well on some roads, but like you, I find it best to not ***** foot around at higher speeds. Make it 100% obvious to motorists while they are still far back that they must change lanes, or slow to my speed. The sooner drivers figure it out the better. It works well and really is the safest way.

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Is it complain-about-traffic week? Everyone must have their lights and studs all worked out, I guess.
Come to think of it, I do have my studs and lights all worked out.

Last edited by AlmostTrick; 12-10-15 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 12-10-15, 05:32 PM   #11
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I consider myself fortunate that I do not have to ride my bicycle on any roads where the speed limit is above 40. I plan my routes and commutes to purposefully stay away from those types of situations. There are plenty of jerk motorists on surface streets where you rarely see large trucks travelling at high speeds. If you absolutely don't have to, it's better not to push those limits. You will find a lot (and that is not over use of the words) of people that truly believe that the roads are only for motor vehicles. I've even been screamed at to "get off the road" when I'm in a clearly marked bike only lane.

If I were in the OP's situation, I would have probably gotten completely off the road if he were blaring his horn at be from that far back. I would have got his plate number, called it into the police, and told them he ran me off the road. The only reason for a driver to warn you from that far back is to alert you that something is really wrong (and he should have his emergency flashers on and be flashing his headlights)... i.e. his brakes are gone (but that would only apply on a downhill stretch - for anything else, it seems reasonable that a driver could shut down the engine.)
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Old 12-10-15, 05:38 PM   #12
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What if you're driving a truck downhill and your brakes go to the floor as you come up behind a cyclist. What would you do? Blow the horn real loud maybe?
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Old 12-10-15, 05:45 PM   #13
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Obviously the driver was entirely in the wrong as it wasn't an emergency situation.

But....If one wants to talk about laws, and rights.....by the book, the ONLY appropriate response to someone failing to obey the rules of the road or observe right of way is to yield to them, taking what ever action is safest. The law never gives anyone the right to stand their ground or not give in to bullies. Two wrongs don't make a right.


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Old 12-10-15, 07:09 PM   #14
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Obviously the driver was entirely in the wrong as it wasn't an emergency situation.
Are you sure about that? Guys in pickup trucks often honk their horn at you because they're mad, but in my experience when the driver of a big truck does it it is usually because the driver feels like the current situation is unsafe. A fully loaded truck doesn't stop quickly and can't make safe lane changes quickly. It sounds like in this case the driver was able to slow down and change lanes in time, but if he wasn't absolutely certain that he would be able to do so I think it would be entirely reasonable to alert a cyclist to the potentially dangerous situation. Regardless of right-of-way interpretation, it seems to me that the safest course of action for all road users very well might have been for the OP to move over toward the shoulder so the truck didn't have to change lanes. It's hard to imagine that the truck driver wasn't in a better position to make that call than the OP.

But like you say, having the right-of-way doesn't decide everything. If you're on a golf course and someone yells "fore" it would be pretty foolish to get in a huff about the fact that you have every right to be standing in the fairway. Sometimes a honking horn means "Get on the sidewalk, loser!" Sometimes it means "Watch out, you're in danger!" Regardless of which it means, having been in the right is cold comfort if you get hit.
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Old 12-10-15, 07:23 PM   #15
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I just wanted to nominate you for the thread title of the week.

"These weren’t multiple honks mind you, but one looooong honk, at least 15 seconds worth!"
Hmmm, that doesn't seem to be "It sounds like in this case the driver was able to slow down and change lanes in time, but if he wasn't absolutely certain that he would be able to do so I think it would be entirely reasonable to alert a cyclist to the potentially dangerous situation."

And it was a diesel pickup, not a semi.

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Old 12-10-15, 07:41 PM   #16
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And it was a diesel pickup, not a semi.
Oops. I guess I went astray after reading the comments regarding the logging truck. Like I said, pickups often honk at you just because they're mad. So disregard most of what I said.
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Old 12-10-15, 08:32 PM   #17
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You will find a lot (and that is not over use of the words) of people that truly believe that the roads are only for motor vehicles.
Agreed. And running for cover when they honk/yell reinforces this belief.


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What if you're driving a truck downhill and your brakes go to the floor as you come up behind a cyclist. What would you do? Blow the horn real loud maybe?
I'll grow old, riding in the lane, before this ever happens. Seriously. Besides, in the extremely unlikely event this were to happen, I'd know because I would see in my mirror that the truck wasn't slowing.

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Obviously the driver was entirely in the wrong as it wasn't an emergency situation.

But....If one wants to talk about laws, and rights.....by the book, the ONLY appropriate response to someone failing to obey the rules of the road or observe right of way is to yield to them, taking what ever action is safest. The law never gives anyone the right to stand their ground or not give in to bullies. Two wrongs don't make a right.

I try,but its not always easy, and contrary to human nature.
The law does not require backing down from bullies. You might say it's smart to do so, sometimes, and I would agree. But not in this case.

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I just wanted to nominate you for the thread title of the week.
Thank you! I accept the nomination and the beer.
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Old 12-10-15, 10:52 PM   #18
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I watched in my mirror as the driver slowed behind me.
Good move. I am always a touch​ more hesitant with big trucks just in case they may have lost their brakes or something.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:08 PM   #19
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The law does not require backing down from bullies.
I hate to break it to you , but yes it does. If someone does something dangerous or illegal, the law obligates us to do whatever is necessary to mitigate the danger, nowhere does it give us the right to punish or challenge other road users.

The law only restricts our actions or make specific exceptions to those restrictions, it doesn't give us the right to take any actions. Safety is always our primary obligation before anything else.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:12 PM   #20
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But like you say, having the right-of-way doesn't decide everything.
The law never grants us right of way, it only defines when we must yield to those who have it.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:51 PM   #21
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What if you're driving a truck downhill and your brakes go to the floor as you come up behind a cyclist. What would you do? Blow the horn real loud maybe?
That's not how truck (air) brakes work. They lock up if they "go out." I'm pretty sure you'd hear a truck dragging many axles of locked up tires coming up behind you.

And I don't know about you guys, but I always know what's passing me simply by listening to it.
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Old 12-10-15, 11:58 PM   #22
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That's not how truck (air) brakes work. They lock up if they "go out."
There seems to be a bit of confusion caused by the use of "trucker" in the title. The "truck" involved wasn't a heavy commercial vehicle, it was a pickup truck.
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Old 12-11-15, 05:30 AM   #23
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I hate to break it to you , but yes it does. If someone does something dangerous or illegal, the law obligates us to do whatever is necessary to mitigate the danger, nowhere does it give us the right to punish or challenge other road users.

The law only restricts our actions or make specific exceptions to those restrictions, it doesn't give us the right to take any actions. Safety is always our primary obligation before anything else.
Are you saying cyclists are required by law to move aside when a motorist honks at or attempts to intimidate them? That doesn't sound right, and I highly doubt it. Show me the law.
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Old 12-11-15, 09:21 AM   #24
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Are you saying cyclists are required by law to move aside when a motorist honks at or attempts to intimidate them? That doesn't sound right, and I highly doubt it. Show me the law.
No, I'm saying as a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist we're obligated to do whatever is necessary to mitigate the dangerous acts of another pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist.
A honk doesn't qualify as dangerous, therefore requires no response. If they do something dangerous then we may not do anything that increases the danger to ourselves or others, and avoid it if possible.

No law requires us to do anything dangerous, and no law allows us to do anything dangerous. The number one rule of the road is safety first, it trumps all other considerations.
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Old 12-11-15, 09:27 AM   #25
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Just last night as I was nearing the top of a hill on a 5-lane 40 MPH road, with curb/gutter but no sidewalk, a pickup came up behind me very fast, and then slowed down just behind me very fast. I saw it coming in my mirror, shifted right a bit, looked back, then continued on in the center of the right lane after I was sure the truck wasn't going to hit me. There was no one in the left lane. After a few seconds the truck changed lanes and floored it. There was no honking, no flashing of lights.

I really wanted to pull up to the truck at the next light and be like "what the hell's your problem??" but A) I'm not really the confrontational type, and B) lights are too far apart around here, and so the truck turned right at the next light long before I got there.
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