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I have ridden bikes and driven trucks for years.This is one of the best threads I have seen about any subject for years!
I have several years experience at driving with my last company tractor a 1989 Volvo with 1.9 million miles on her.She was the beast!
Just to reinforce what others have said........

Allow lots of room

in states where they run triples like I did,there was 106 feet of truck doing 55mph to go past

allow lots of room

In a triples train 1 inch of steering wheel movement equates to 12 inches of snake flex by the time it gets to the rear trailer so be careful

allow lots of room

Trucks and trailers are designed to stop with full loads in a safe manner-when empty they slide all over the place in an emergency as they lose traction

allow lots of room

Capped tires sould not be used on the front steer tires its illegal period

allow lots of room

Drivers cannot always see everything behind them when pulling long loads, Make sure you can see their mirrors

allow lots of room

Trucks pulling Hazmat are required to stop at railroad crossings

allow lots of room

Don't pull in front of a truck after you have overtaken it as the driver will **** his pants if you stop and then you've become a hood ornament.

Allow lots of room

And lastly

A L L O W L O T S O F R O O M

Ride safe all and give the knights of the road a break, they all work hard long hours making sure this great country keeps going!
 

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oh I forgot to add if you want to see the regulations that us truckers have to live by, go grab yourself a copy of the CFR part 49
Thats the Federal Code Of Regulations part 49 Its a nice thick book you can read when its snowing outside and you cannot ride ;D
 

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Really great to hear from these fellow biker/truckers. This is super important and GREAT information.

Shadowchaser - Awesome response to a great question. I feel like you hit all the points on a truckers mind that the 2 & 4-wheelers never really think about. I am not 100% in agreement, however with your approach to the truck. As some others have mentioned, it seems like a hurried or less experienced driver could potentially misunderstand the flashing lights as permission to change lanes. Personally, I have a headlight that pulses during the day and it is a feature I use. When I approach a big-truck I get into my corner to prepare the pass and I wait until I can see in his mirror that the driver is doing a mirror check. When he sees me (or if he does not look for a long time) I gun it until I am at least 2 car lengths in front, then resume normal speed.

Squidwood - great additions. I would add one "Keep your eyes open" for every "leave room". Notice everything about that truck you are passing. You must constantly keep and eye on that truck you are approaching and watch not only the tires but things loose on the trailer, road debris, type of truck (is it a well maintained over the road truck or a ratty day cab?). Also, keep an eye on container/rock haulers. They are often local and the way they are paid encourages them to hurry. Containers may have pins and/or locks that were left unnoticed and could inflict serious injury. And watch the driver, see if he is on the phone.. or maybe the CB. If he is looking at you and talking on the CB he might be telling the trucks ahead you are coming.

Awesome posts. I dont drive anymore but in my experience, truckers are a lot like bikers. As bikers we look out for things that can kill us and truckers are looking out so that they do not kill anyone else. I feel each of my experiences complimented the other. Just like bikers, there are a few reckless truck drivers that want to aggressively own the road but most just want to get to where they are going as safe as they can.

Thanks for the question!
 

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This was great, I read it some time ago, but actually used the technique you explained, and lucky for me the driver of the rig was very cooperative in giving me some space and letting me over after I passed... Really appreciate the time\effort in your post!
 

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I had a small epiphany while I was in Southern France on business last spring and it pretty much sums up what everyone has been saying. I thoroughly enjoyed driving over there, despite what I felt were somewhat high speeds, especially on the mountain roads. There was no feeling of road rage, or that someone took it personally when they were passed. You simply signaled, popped into the passing lane, and then quickly got back over when the condition permitted. Yield signs were not stop signs, and traffic merged smoothly. I found myself negotiating a narrow, twisty, and slightly damp road in the Gorges of Verdun and pulled over when someone comes up behind me. Amazingly predictable. Now if we could only start enforcing lane-laws over here, I think it would go a long way to smooth out traffic problems.
 

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I drive 'em, and I ride bikes too...Yup, there are complete idiots driving 40 ton trucks out there.
Despite the common opinion here, I am not a psychotic lunatic behind the wheel....Commercial drivers (of reputable companies anyway) are held to a far higher standard than your regular gotta get to work/walmart/fill in the blank schmoe....Tickets and violations on my "Personal" time directly affect whether or not I can keep my job....Heavy penalties for stuff like that, even if it's on your own time in your own personal vehicle. ViVa les DOT....
I'm in the city everyday and all I can ask is that bikes make "clean" moves...I appreciate the mobility of two wheels and sometimes your speed is in direct conflict with mine...just make it clean...don't really care if it's close or not, just clean. My .02.......
 

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great post, i belong to a few other bike forums and first time ive seen this post.

I agree with alot of what was said here, 100% on "Allow lots of room". to the normal driver or rider, this will not seem like a very big deal because when you drive or ride you are able to see everything around you and maneuver accordingly. I dont drive CDL but have towed 30-40ft trailers in a dually and even with the added visibility of a pickup truck, having drivers show respect for you and your load by giving you a "margin of saftey" is a much welcomed thing. It keeps YOU and I safe.

One other thing ive noticed is that when a semi or car or whatever is pulled over in the break down lane, many people do not mover over a lane. This is extremely dangerous for everyone. The vehical is pulled over for a reason and there is a high probability that someone is outside their vehical checking something or fixing something so just pull over a lane to give them some room.

I guess the main thing i have to add to this discussion is to remember to be courteous to all people on the roads and especially those hauling for a living. Just remember the highway is their office and how their day goes relys on the other people on the road. Wouldn't it suck if there were a bunch of jerks in your office messing up your equipment or clogging up your hallways?
 

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Re: Question to Shadowchaser re: big rigs and motorcycles

so that is the correct way to indicate passing and Ok to move over.. finally someone explained that to me.. i wondered why some of the truck drivers did it one way to let you move over and others did it the high/low flashing...

SHADOWCHASER said:
Ciao SB, That's exactly why I stipulated that you should be at least two car lengths back, and paying attention to not only the trucks turn signals before you initiate the pass, but also the traffic conditions directly in front of the truck you are passing. To allow an extra margin of safety to cover the ignorance quota which sadly continues to rise amongst the driving population here in America. :-[

It has always been the correct and socially accepted practice of the vehicle being passed to briefly turn its headlamps completely OFF and then back ON, to signal the passing vehicle that it is clear to come back over into the right lane.

It has also always been the correct and socially accepted practice of the vehicle about to initiate the pass to briefly flash its headlamps from LOW to HIGH beam to signal the intended pass.

(The LOW to HIGH beam flash to pass practice originated in Europe with its ancient and constantly added on to thoroughfares. The roads there are much tighter, twisty, and with many more blind curves, and hills, as well as much more access points to contend with. A motorist being passed could really create a problem if they were to suddenly speed up while another is trying to overtake them. This is why so many European vehicles are equipped with a high beam flasher switch to call attention to the intended pass. Even our beloved monsters have a high beam flasher switch which is mounted as a trigger style switch on the leading edge of the left hand grip controls. ;) )

Unfortunately there are a very large number of Rookie drivers in Semis at this time in America. :-[ A small number of these drivers either misunderstand or are simply to LAZY to reach forward to the dash to turn the headlamps off, and then back on again. It is much easier to flash your high beams now that most vehicles have the high beam flashers mounted in conjunction with the turn signal array. :p

Any time any of the older drivers (myself included) are passing one of these Rookies and they pull this lame practice and flash their high-beams in my mirror to let us know it is clear, we always make a point to chastise them in a number of different ways. The most common being to address them on the CB after making the pass in conjunction with not responding with our courtesy flashers which flash our marker lights on the trailer and tractor. The CB statements usually are to this effect: "Well ROOKIE I would have thanked you for signaling me over except that your d**n high beams in my mirror have blinded me. I'll have to wait for the spots in my eyes to clear before I can see my switches." This lazy practice, and the resulting hostilities have started many heated arguments, but through the wonderful effect of peer-pressure, and community influence always end with the ignorant or lazy party ceasing the practice. [thumbsup]
 

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I have a question regarding following trucks. I usually tuck in behind a truck about two car lengths to 1.5 on the highway. Like the parasitic fish on the shark, I do not, not return the favor of the decreased wind resistance and watch for my truckers signals and get over and make room for them since it is far easier for a car to get over. Is this relationship a nuisance for the trucker or the mutual relationship I am picturing? This is in the car, not the bike, and only for long hauls.
 

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Dude, shadowchaser, you have taken some responsibility to saving my life on the road cuz I have no idea what to do with semis. I'm glad this quetion was asked and answered properly.

Monstercyn13
 
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