First off, this is not a rant about how horrid truckers are. My professional business is partly reliant on the trucking business, so I often hear 'their' side of driving issues. I can sort of sympathize that a 15-20T truck is hard to manuevre in tight traffice with tiny little cars cutting you off and slamming brakes in front of them etc....
As I was minding my own business up Hwy 1 this afternoon, freezing my ass off....Mr. 53' Tractor Trailer decided he wanted my lane, whilst I was about halfway alongside his trailer. I swerved slowly onto the shoulder, dropped a gear and shot past him. Felt it was safer than backing off as I was almost already at his cab and there was other traffic right behind me, and nobody close ahead. Lucky for me I saw it all coming with enough time to manuevre myself out of harms way. And let me tell you, he KNEW I was pissed. He got half a mile of my best arm waving and head shaking. He backed way off, moved back into the right lane, and slowed way up. Perhaps he got the picture.
My point here is that we, as bikers (and cagers for that matter) need to ASSUME that trucks cannot see us. They're higher up in the air, have many more blind spots (like NO rearview mirror at all for example), and are carrying loads 100X the size of us.
I'm no bike safety officer or anything but here's a few things you can do when travelling along side trucks, particularly in tight traffic.....
1. Look under the trailer for the lights on the actual truck. Most of the time, truckers actually do signal their intentions, and they don't just have lights on the trailer and the cab/driver door. In this instance, he signalled, and as I have a habit of looking under there to see if those handly little siggy's are on.....I happened to see it coming.
2. Failing the ability to see those signals, watch the front tires to see if they're turning slowly your way. Best lesson I learned at Young Drivers of Canada: The signals are usually reliable, but the front wheels will ALWAYS tell you the intentions of the driver.
3. Listen for them dropping a gear and/or putting their foot in it. They may well be planning to pass someone in front of them. If you're right close you can actually hear them doing it.
4. Don't sit in a blind spot. If you can't see that drivers face, he/she sure as hell can't see you. And even then it's doubtful. My rule of thumb here: Pass or don't pass. No sitting beside trucks.
5. Have an escape route. Behind the truck, ahead of the truck, beside the truck on the shoulder. No plan to escape might just put you UNDER the truck. And we've all read enough about accidents where riders have been killed already this biking season.
Anyways, my intention here was not to slam the truckers, but just to remind everyone as we get more and more into biking season that we're invisible to other drivers out there......particularly truckers.
Ride safe everyone. I don't want to read any more RIP threads.
ps. I hope this thread turns into a place for the rest of you to post up any tips of your own....please keep trucker/traffic rants to other threads. Thanks!!