I can't seem to load photos onto the blog at the moment. So I'm postponing the post I had in mind. There's something weird about how that last sentence flows, isn't there? Postponing the post. Oh well.
I came across this the other day and thought I'd share it with you.
We all know how many bogies and hazards are out there. To successfully survive being a daily bike commuter we need to adopt a three part strategy.
1. Wear the proper gear all the time.
2. Always, always, work on adding to and sharpening our skills.
3. Know the enemy. Use that knowledge to develop strategies for dealing with them.
Here's an item under rule number 3. It's about truck drivers. Bear with me, Dave T.!
This is word for word from an article in our local paper, the Albany Democrat Herald.
Troopers: Too many truckers doing drugs.
The Oregon State Police say nearly 9 percent of truckers sampled last month flunked drug tests.
Sergeant Alan Hageman says it's unacceptable that so many commercial drivers are high when they're running rigs of nearly 80,000 pounds.
In all, 468 drivers on Interstate 84 at Cascade Locks were tested over three days, and 42 tested positive. Five tested positive for more than one drug.
Hageman says the drug of choice was marijuana, with 19 drivers testing positive.
( end of article )
The good news is that 91 percent of the truckers passed the drug tests. I've actually had very few problems with these big rig drivers. For the most part I've found that if I respect them I receive the same in return. This job has its jerks like any other, of course. My overall experience has been positive.
A lot of the problems bikes have with trucks is just physics. Small bike, big truck. Everyone knows about wind blast, suction, debris, etc. I personally won't just lollygag alongside a big rig. On the freeway I'll wait until there's enough room between me and the car ahead of me to pass the truck all at once. One time I was beside a truck when a tire let loose. I nearly soiled my riding pants, let me tell you. Besides that, though, I feel like it puts me at a disadvantage. I worry about getting lost in a driver's mirrors.
Once in a while a trucker's forced into making a sudden move. Sometimes a truck will be in the middle lane of a three lane interstate, for example. If I'm in the hammer lane beside the truck I can't see the right lane. Somebody in the slow lane drifts wide, etc., a driver in front of the truck dives in and suddenly brakes, there's a host of other scenarios. If the truck driver needs to make a sudden move I could escape notice during a quick glance. No matter how good the driver is or how skilled, my smaller bike can easily get lost. I saw an experiment where bikes were placed in a truck's blind spots. Guess how many bikes fit in the blind spot. 28. Yeah, that many. I figure it's my responsibility to stay out of these blind spots.
I won't even talk about the water spray on rainy days. Yikes!
In other situations I give them a lot of room and keep watchful. Interestingly, some of the things I've had to deal with involving trucks haven't been with the truck directly. It's been Idiots who try to crowd the truck, go around a backing trailer, or whatever. Yeah, I capitalized "Idiot" on purpose. Keeping a big space cushion can seem timid but it's actually pretty smart. Not much is really worth being in that a big of hurry over, anyway. Besides, isn't that one of the reasons we claim to ride? We shout "Freedom!!" I say part of that freedom is being free to not be like the Mindless Moron drivers out there. I ride my own ride dictated by my own needs at the moment.
Bikes and trucks don't mix well simply due to their opposite natures. Now there's another reason to be wary. When you're near a big rig there's no way of knowing if it's a driver like our fellow rider Dave or somebody not so competent. Be vigilant out there.
Miles and smiles,