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Old 06-21-06, 11:25 PM   #1
JEgan712
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Close encounter with a logging truck

The wife and I were spending a week at a lake in Western Washington and I brought one of my bikes along. I ride about twentyfive miles every other day and I was on one of those rides. The resort was in the woods and there are paved roads that are used daily by very large logging trucks. I was nearing the end of my ride and trucks and cars had been passing me with no problems. Even the big logging trucks would move over as they passed on my left and I felt good about that. I was on a stretch of road that had no shoulder and I could hear another big truck coming up from the rear. This time, the driver didn't move to his left (for the record, there were no other vehicles coming in the other direction and the visibility was good for him). There I was, going about fifteen miles an hour and this big tandem logging truck goes by me at about fifty. We were literally inches apart. It took a lot of concentration to keep myself in a straight line. It scared the crap out of me. On the one hand, I feel like I am entitled to be on that road, but on the other hand, "entitled" doesnt do me alot of good if I get hit by 80,000 lbs of logging truck.

I dont know, I dont think I want to be riding under those circumstances again. Riding in the city has its dangers, but that was just too close.
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Old 06-22-06, 12:55 AM   #2
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Wow, scary stuff. It's too bad that you have to carry that memory from a vacation with the family.

Living in log truck country, I've found that most of the drivers are very courteous and will move over. But there always has to be that one bozo that makes life miserable. For some reason lately though, it seems that all the drivers I've seen here have been extra careful.

It may be because of the bike/log truck accident a few weeks ago near Eugene. According to the news the bike and rider went down in a narrow spot (construction zone) and the truck was close and had no room to maneuver. Very unfortunate--it could happen to any of us. But it did make the news and I suppose that trucking managers and drivers are aware of it. Like I said, right now it seems better than it has been in a long time.

I've got friends that drive log trucks, and I know that none of them would want to hurt anyone. But all drivers get distracted at times or simply just aren't looking or can't see--even though we're in plain sight. They're not bad guys, but they make mistakes too. Unfortunately the consequences are more severe.

Big cities have bad drivers, busses, taxis. We have log trucks. I wouldn't want to trade.

John in Oregon
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Old 06-22-06, 01:33 AM   #3
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As a truck driver who drives in a professional manner, this type of thing pi$$es me off. A cyclist with no place to go gets my help, and that's that.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:36 AM   #4
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I used to do a bit of touring in Southeast MO, and the logging trucks were awful. They typically were truck that had been beat to crap, and not reall maintained to much of a level. I guess its really hard for small logging companys to make a buck. Anyway, you could hear them a'comming from a long way away. They would basically floor it comming down hills then try to hang on to get over the next hill. going uphill ypu basically had to be aware enough to get the hell outta their way, 'cause they were not slowng down for nothing, as if they did slow I am not sure they would have made it up the next hill. The real trick was to be aware of any traffic in the oncomming lane. If there were cars over there, head for the grass. If not they would swing out and give you plenty of room. Wow, I am practically shaking just remembering.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:58 AM   #5
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I ride with a mirror for this reason. I can't tell you how many times I have had to bail off of a no shoulder/just barely enough room for a fogline farm to market road common down in these parts because a cattle truck or horse hauler is bearing down on me without moving over. I've actually gotten good at it to the point that unless I end up having to bail into sand I don't even go down.
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Old 06-22-06, 10:38 AM   #6
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Dont get me wrong. I have no grudge against logging truck drivers. I think driving those big rigs is kind of cool. However, this incident makes me wonder if maybe I was wrong in even being out there. The road that this happened on was just about three miles of my actual ride. Once I got through it, there was a fairly major highway with big shoulders and the trucks were no problem there. Problem being, that I had to traverse the "no shoulder" road to get to the one with shoulders.

Bailing out into the ditch was kind of a problem in that it would have meant a crash about five to ten feet down into the woods. Of course compared to kissing the front bumper of that truck........

I have never had that scared feeling while riding in the greater Seattle area and I have seen a lot. Cars cutting me off, kids trying to startle me, etc. but I have never had that feeling the I was inches from death as I did on that logging road. I dont really know what else I could have done besides not riding that road at all.
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Old 06-22-06, 07:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcm
As a truck driver who drives in a professional manner, this type of thing pi$$es me off. A cyclist with no place to go gets my help, and that's that.

jcm: Thank you! You get my vote for driver of the week. If more professional drivers acted as professionally as this, we'd all be alot safer.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:35 PM   #8
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FWIW.
Rule #1: You cannot change other people (Truck drivers!) so you must change yourselves.
Someone above suggested a mirror, I say a big one on your bars sticking out. Could be the truck driver was not seeing you and was on the cell phone. But there are also jerks.
A possible suggestion is NOT driving at the outer margin of the road so you can go to the right if the mirror tells you that you must. It is not likely (but not impossible) that the truck driver was/is a psychotic person who wants to cause harm.
I just came from a 3000 mile tour and there were many, many trucks. I remember one such S.O.B. and that was enough. The saving grace was that I could evade to the right. That was probably that truckers intend. I still would like to choke him/her.
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Old 06-22-06, 09:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEgan712
It took a lot of concentration to keep myself in a straight line. It scared the crap out of me. On the one hand, I feel like I am entitled to be on that road, but on the other hand, "entitled" doesnt do me alot of good if I get hit by 80,000 lbs of logging truck.

I dont know, I dont think I want to be riding under those circumstances again. Riding in the city has its dangers, but that was just too close.
omg... and that suction... totally scary

I am SOOO glad you're fine J.
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Old 06-25-06, 11:32 AM   #10
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Sounds like here in Lewis County.

These guys get paid by the load. Out of 500 competent drivers there's bound to be one rectum that'll put the rest of the world at risk to squeeze in another run.
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