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1-800-hows-my-driving?

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Old 06-01-13, 05:43 PM
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TromboneAl
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1-800-hows-my-driving?

Yesterday I was riding on a two-lane road with very little shoulder. A big truck something like this



comes up behind me. He's what I call a "chicken driver," the kind that won't pass you even though there is plenty of visibility, and no cars are coming the other way. He just drives along right behind me.

I finally give up, and stop, off the road. He passes me, but doesn't move over an inch. Really close. My guess is that he's a new driver, or he hates cyclists.

When he passes, I memorize the How's My Driving 1-888-550-SAFE, number. I call the number when I get home, but without the license plate number or the 7+ digit vehicle code (which I didn't have time to memorize), they can't help.

I learned that 1-888-550-SAFE goes to a national company. So you can't say "the white double trailer white truck that was traveling on xyz road at 3:05 PM." Too bad, because there's only so much that you can memorize in 5 seconds.

Last edited by TromboneAl; 06-01-13 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 06-01-13, 05:50 PM
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cyclinfool
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That's what cell phone cameras are for.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:22 PM
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I would prefer a chicken (truck) driver to one who eases by with barely room to spare. Once a large tractor trailer slows down they don't accelerate all that quickly. It could be the driver was just concerned about making the pass before an onncoming car appeared.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:34 PM
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If a truck this large was behind me, I'd gladly pull over to let it pass. A truck that large could run completely over a bike and rider and the driver wouldn't notice anything. That he didn't try to squeeze by shows he is a considerate driver.
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Old 06-01-13, 06:45 PM
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Are you sure there was plenty of room for the truck driver to get 80,000 pounds up to speed from the 20 mph he was following you at and safely pass before any oncoming traffic could appear? Kind of like jumping a chasm, he can't stop halfway if he finds that he can't make it without something bad happening. He wasn't being a chicken, he was using good judgment if he wasn't absolutely certain that he could pass safely. Don't forget, he's got to get all seventy-five feet past you plus the following distance he was giving you plus some buffer for once he has passed. Once you pulled off the road, he just needed to not hit any stationary objects on the roadside, like you. I'm not sure what you are upset about.

I've been in his seat. I will not pass a cyclist until I am absolutely certain that I can do it with a large margin for safety. Of course, I stay well back of any cyclists I encounter so that they know I am not antsy to get by. I've always received friendly waves when we finally part ways, either by my passing the cyclists or by them turning off or pulling over.
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Old 06-01-13, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Are you sure there was plenty of room for the truck driver to get 80,000 pounds up to speed from the 20 mph he was following you at and safely pass before any oncoming traffic could appear? Kind of like jumping a chasm, he can't stop halfway if he finds that he can't make it without something bad happening. He wasn't being a chicken, he was using good judgment if he wasn't absolutely certain that he could pass safely. Don't forget, he's got to get all seventy-five feet past you plus the following distance he was giving you plus some buffer for once he has passed. Once you pulled off the road, he just needed to not hit any stationary objects on the roadside, like you. I'm not sure what you are upset about.

I've been in his seat. I will not pass a cyclist until I am absolutely certain that I can do it with a large margin for safety. Of course, I stay well back of any cyclists I encounter so that they know I am not antsy to get by. I've always received friendly waves when we finally part ways, either by my passing the cyclists or by them turning off or pulling over.
You are exactly right. I don't know about California, but where I come from, double trailer units can be waaaay in excess of 80,000# Every move must be carefully calculated, and when in doubt, chicken out.
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Old 06-01-13, 09:52 PM
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I've never driven a double but I've heard they are especially squirrelly. Truck drivers don't get paid to lollygag around at 20 MPH either and probably don't enjoy it enough to do it out of any meanness.
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Old 06-02-13, 05:01 AM
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Dan Burkhart 
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
I've never driven a double but I've heard they are especially squirrelly. Truck drivers don't get paid to lollygag around at 20 MPH either and probably don't enjoy it enough to do it out of any meanness.
I've put many miles on doubles, everything from twin 20 footers to twin 53s. One thing I can tell ya is, the shorter the trailers, the more unstable they are.
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Old 06-02-13, 05:13 AM
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Dan Burkhart 
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So, had you been successful in getting through to the company's safety department, and after describing the incident as you have here, the person on the other end of the phone might have been confused over whether you were complaining about this driver or commending him. (Or her).
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Old 06-02-13, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Are you sure there was plenty of room for the truck driver to get 80,000 pounds up to speed from the 20 mph he was following you at and safely pass before any oncoming traffic could appear?
Good point, I think that is what was going on.

My main complaint, though was that he didn't move over at all when he passed.
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Old 06-02-13, 09:40 AM
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Those 'hows my drivn' signs are put on trucks largly for an insurance discount. They know few people will call, and fewer will have the truck number.
As for this truck, maybe he just felt he was being safe, and doing you a favor. I would prefer they pass me, I'd rather have a 50 ton truck in front of me than behind me.
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Old 06-02-13, 02:51 PM
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I have the good fortune to ride almost exclusively on 2 lane roads around the local strawberry fields and thankfully the truckers around here are bicycle friendly they always give a wide berth. sounds like he was trying to do the right thing.
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