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Hit by Tractor Trailer this Morning

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Hit by Tractor Trailer this Morning

Old 09-10-07, 08:00 AM
  #1  
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Hit by Tractor Trailer this Morning

This morning I was hit by the tail end of a passing tractor trailer during my daily commute. This is the same route I've been taking for the past six months. This same vehicle passed me earlier in my commute (across a double line) while going into a blind turn only to end up at a stop light where I passed him by going off-road (see video clip).

At the next light, I was filtering up when traffic started moving again. Since this driver had already passed me once and I had my bright orange shirt on in full daylight, it seems unlikely that he didn't see me. He proceeded to inch his vehicle to the right until the tail end of his trailer hit my handlebar and knocked me to the ground (see video clip).

I'm basically OK - abrasions on my left elbow and hand. At first I thought I had sprained my left wrist, but I took an analgesic when I got to work and it's feeling better than it was. In retrospect, I should have either stopped before the road narrowed (though I've never had to do this before in six months of commuting) or gone off-road to avoid the collision (but the sand is deep there and I'm not sure whether I could have retained control of the bike). I'm a bit rattled and wondering what I can learn from this. Any advice?

Jim

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Old 09-10-07, 08:03 AM
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That sucks. i don't think there is much you can do, and the video doesn't look anyone is at fault (to me).
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Old 09-10-07, 08:11 AM
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And the road is EMPTY in your lane after you got knocked off? Doesn't anybody stop to care anymore? Seems they all watched and took off (road looked full with traffic prior).

That's brutal man, as soon as I noticed buddy inching over, I would've done one of my loud/short hollers "HEY" to get some attention. Other than that, I don't think there's much you could've done other than to pull off the road as you saw him creeping over... Despite their training/experience, I swear some truck drivers forget about their vehicle size/placement on the road at times.

Heal fast, hope your wrist is OK (if you can, get it checked - my fracture only felt like a sprained wrist).
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Old 09-10-07, 08:13 AM
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Hey I am glad you are ok, it could have been much worse. But if you allow me to be an armchair (internet) referee, I don't think that it was wise to be filtering up the right side of traffic. It was Ok when the lane was wide and passing cars. But filtering up the right side of the truck was a little risky. There was no way that driver would have checked there because normally there was nothing.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:15 AM
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First thing, I definately WOULD NOT filter up the right side of the left turn lane like you did in the first video even if it's legal where you live. Drivers simply aren't looking for someone passing them on the right in a single left turn lane. If you got pushed off the roadway there, that's more your fault than the truck driver's.

In the second video, it looks like he intentionally squeezed you, but I can't be sure.

Either way, this kind of thing is exaclty why I don't filter. It puts you in "conflict" with the same drivers over and over at lights. Each time you pass a driver and they then re-pass you ad infinitum at the stop ligts, it just gives them more chances to make you a target.

I just fall in behind the trafic at a light and then control the lane until I'm up to speed. Then if it's safe I'll move over for cars to pass. Up to my cruising speed, I can accelerate with trafic anyway.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:15 AM
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I managed to stop the flow of traffic by landing in the middle of the lane. Luckily, the guy immediately behind me came to an easy stop and asked if I was OK. He seemed genuinely concerned and, after I picked myself up and dusted myself off, we chatted about it while waiting at the light. The vast majority of motorists I interact with while riding are courteous and accommodating. There are, of course, the occasional exceptions.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:18 AM
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Is threading legal in your state?

There is a chance the driver didn't see you coming up, from the video it looks like you hadn't gotten back in front of him before traffic started moving again.

Also, in your first video, why are you taking a left hand lane, when the right lane is free, and judging by the marks on it, is also for going straight?

I'm glad to hear that you weren't hurt bad, and hope you heal up quick.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:27 AM
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Glad you survived your run in w/ a truck. Be careful out there.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by squegeeboo View Post
Also, in your first video, why are you taking a left hand lane, when the right lane is free, and judging by the marks on it, is also for going straight?
I took the left hand lane because it's the left turn lane and I was making a left turn. Am I missing something?
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Old 09-10-07, 08:51 AM
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Yikes, man! It looks like there really wasn't a whole lotta space. I would only filter past that truck if I knew the road was widening ahead (or that he'll be stuck there a long long time), and if I was fairly certain that traffic would not start moving as I'm filtering. And of course I would watch out for the possibility of something like this happening and having bail-out strategies in mind.

From what I see, I sort of doubt that it was intentional; I don't think you went far enough forward for the driver to even notice you. Those trucks have awful blind spots, and nobody usually checks the spot where you were anyway - he probably didn't even know you were there. Though I could easily be wrong; it's hard to say from a video.

Heal well! Hope you're okay and back on the bike soon. Be especially vigilant about big vehicles: out of the last 7 cycling deaths in Toronto, 5 or 6 involved trucks! Have fun, be safe.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jimlamb View Post
I took the left hand lane because it's the left turn lane and I was making a left turn. Am I missing something?
Ah, my bad, I missed that some how, but threading up the right, or at all when there is only a few cars, for a left hand turn seems stupid for lack of a better term, especially if you have to go off road to get around the truck as it turns.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:58 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by jimlamb View Post
At the next light, I was filtering up when traffic started moving again. Since this driver had already passed me once and I had my bright orange shirt on in full daylight, it seems unlikely that he didn't see me. He proceeded to inch his vehicle to the right until the tail end of his trailer hit my handlebar and knocked me to the ground (see video clip).
I am glad you are OK.

But I really wonder why you were trying to squeeze by this large vehicle in a lane that was ending - up to the point that you even appared to go off the road trying to squeeze by. I can't see any fault of the the truck driver, they were just moving forward with the flow of traffic. There were plently of opportunities to merge back into the flow of traffic before the lane ended. From what I could tell you merged from off the road, back into the trailer.

Al

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Old 09-10-07, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by squegeeboo View Post
Ah, my bad, I missed that some how, but threading up the right, or at all when theres only a few cars, for a left hand turn seems stupid for lack of a better term, especially if you have to go off road to get around the truck as it turns.
Good feedback. I'm not interested in taking unnecessary chances, but I'm still learning what the best course of action is in some of these scenarios. Stopping behind the vehicles waiting to turn left would probably have been more prudent but I was thinking of the other traffic coming up from behind. I took the left turn lane when there was a gap in traffic coming up behind me. I went off road after the turn to be sure that the vehicles turning could easily pass (especially the tractor trailer). I just wish that vehicles that size would take the (marginally) longer route, keeping to the main roads, and stay off these smaller residential roads.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jimlamb View Post
Good feedback. I'm not interested in taking unnecessary chances, but I'm still learning what the best course of action is in some of these scenarios. Stopping behind the vehicles waiting to turn left would probably have been more prudent but I was thinking of the other traffic coming up from behind. I took the left turn lane when there was a gap in traffic coming up behind me. I went off road after the turn to be sure that the vehicles turning could easily pass (especially the tractor trailer). I just wish that vehicles that size would take the (marginally) longer route, keeping to the main roads, and stay off these smaller residential roads.
I almost crushed myself under a car threading up on the right, hoping I could grab a quick spot for a left turn. Now, it's one of the few occasions where I won't thread.

As for when you got clipped, heres what you should have done: Threaded up to right behind the tractor trailer, gotten in line behind him, and drafted for all your worth, nothing like crushing your old top speeds with nearly 0 effort
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Old 09-10-07, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
I really wonder why you were trying to squeeze by this large vehicle in a lane that was ending - up to the point that you even appared to go off the road trying to squeeze by. I can't see any fault of the the truck driver, they were just moving forward with the flow of traffic. There were plently of opportunities to merge back into the flow of traffic before the lane ended.
I can't say that I fault the truck driver other than making the argument that he shouldn't really have been on that particular stretch of road in the first place. This particularly light runs especially long, so I honestly thought I had plenty of time to filter up to the light before traffic started moving again. Once it did, I had a pretty limited set of options as I was already next to the truck and the road had already narrowed.

Like I said, in retrospect, I probably should have just gone off road and walked my bike up to the intersection. The risk being that I could have spilled while going off road due to the deep sand and falling next to a tractor trailer seems even less appealing than falling behind a tractor trailer. It's really nice, however, to leverage this community to learn what I can from this experience.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by squegeeboo View Post
As for when you got clipped, heres what you should have done: Threaded up to right behind the tractor trailer, gotten in line behind him, and drafted for all your worth, nothing like crushing your old top speeds with nearly 0 effort
Excellent suggestion. If I had realized how courteous the driver immediately behind the tractor trailer was, I would have done that without hesitating. In the future, I'll make a conscious effort to give people the benefit of the doubt, make eye contact and more actively negotiate my filtering and merging maneuvers.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:18 AM
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You can do what you want, but here's some feedback. I think you could benefit from being a little more conservative or cautious.

You did a good job merging left into the turn lane. I would have stayed behind the cars there and not filtered on the right. I think it gives you more visibility if you go through the turn by yourself instead of shadowing another vehicle. I think it puts you in positions that are more predictable to the other vehicle drivers.

I filter on the right only if there is a wide shoulder that continues for some distance. That road where you got hit basically necks down to no shoulder. I wouldn't filter at all in that case. Not even in the disappearing right lane. I wouldn't filter there because I would just have to merge left and take the lane when the shoulder disappears. Not very courteous to filter on the right past someone and then take the lane causing them to be stuck at your slower pace until they can pass.

I don't think the truck driver can realistically be expected to see vehicles passing him on the right in the same lane.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:22 AM
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You are lucky.

Generally speaking when people ride like you they end up looking like a pancake.

stop passing people on the right.

I certainly will not feel sorry for you next time.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:22 AM
  #19  
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I'm glad to hear that you're OK. Impressive that it's all on video, but in the first one, I was somewhat surprised that you passed the truck & trailer on his right; bear in mind that he's turning left, which means there's no way in hell that he can see anything near the right side of his trailer once he has started the turn, so you're absolutely in his blind spot

In the second video, I think you should have waited; rarely will I sneak up on the inside, and only when there's ample room on the shoulder, and when the shoulder doesn't narrow ahead. I'm sorry to have to say this, but I think you were totally wrong, and that you were lucky it wasn't worse. I must say though, that I respect you tremendously for having the balls to post your experiences here, so that at least some others of us may learn from your experience.

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Old 09-10-07, 09:24 AM
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Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:25 AM
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Well glad to read that others stopped - that's relieving.

I take filtering/threading as it comes, it's a risk I take and try to be vigilant about it. Just this past weekend I did this while filtering.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7tShEx-S1M

Definitely my fault, luckily a harmless incident.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:26 AM
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ok, I just watched your videos and I can honestly say that you are an idiot.

I would applaud that trucker for getting out of his truck, kicking your axx and throwing your bike in the nearest river.

This is EXACTLY why motorists call bikers names, honk at them and cut us off.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:27 AM
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I think your video should be turned into a sticky link for people to see why you don't filter past cars on the right. We're all tempted and I occasionally still do this, but this is the perfect example of why to not do it.

The truck drive may have seen you, but almost no one looks in their right mirror unless they are merging right. You will never be seen by a car in this situation.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Wil Davis View Post
I'm sorry to have to say this, but I think you were totally wrong, and that you were lucky it wasn't worse. I must say though, that I respect you tremendously for having the balls to post your experiences here, so that at least some others of us may learn from your experience.
No need to be sorry. This is precisely the type of feedback I was hoping for when I posted. I've jumped into bike commuting wholeheartedly over the last six months, but I still have a lot to learn. Having a resource like this forum and the collective wisdom behind it is a tremendous benefit to us all. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!
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Old 09-10-07, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Flimflam View Post
Well glad to read that others stopped - that's relieving.

I take filtering/threading as it comes, it's a risk I take and try to be vigilant about it. Just this past weekend I did this while filtering.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7tShEx-S1M

Definitely my fault, luckily a harmless incident.
I like how you kept weaving in between cars after the fall. I'm so glad I don't have to commute in Toronto anymore, those rails are terrible
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