From a van driver's point of view...

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spoonful
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From a van driver's point of view...

Postby spoonful » 7 Nov 2012, 3:51pm

I've been reading this forum for a while, and can't help but feel that a lot of aggression towards van/truck drivers is because most people simply aren't aware of the size, blind spots, slow acceleration etc. I drive a long wheelbase 3.5 ton van and sometimes a 7.5 ton truck as part of my job at a PA company just outside London, and cycle 20 miles each day to and from work through suburbs, a town centre and a bit of rural goodness.

Here's a few things to bear in mind...

- A fully loaded van is pretty slow and it's almost impossible to safely overtake a cyclist on a twisty uphill road. Please pull over if there's a van/truck behind you for a couple of miles, unable to overtake...and let them past! Some drivers get pretty angry and end up dangerously overtaking after tailing a cyclist at 10mph uphill for 20 mins. I've done this before, except for the overtaking dangerously bit and it got me pretty angry as the guy didn't even slow down or pull into the kerb to let me past. I was crawling uphill for miles, while the cyclist passed many many places where he could safely pull over. Now, if I hear a truck behind me for a while, I pull over and let the queue pass.

- Blind spots are huge. If I'm turning left at a junction with cars/cyclists going straight on to the right of me, I'll be looking in my right hand mirror to make sure my rear overhang doesn't knock a cyclist off or hit a car as it swings around. Before that, I'll be looking in the left hand mirror of course, but it's very hard to spot someone who's in my blind spot and tries to undertake as I turn the corner.

- When I'm changing lanes at low speed...say 5-10mph in traffic, it's hard to spot a cyclist who is trying to filter after seeing me indicate, and tries to get past anyway. Once my nose is over the white lines, you're in my blind spot!

- Cyclists who follow right close to my back bumper are pretty much invisible. In the dark, I can only see cycle lights reflecting off the ground, not the bike itself. In the daytime, I can't see the cyclist at all, so if I'm changing lanes and he decides to under/overtake without noticing the indicators (easily done on a bike in traffic, you're not always looking at the lights 1 foot in front of you), I simply won't see him unless he's in very close to my side and I've almost hit him.


As a cyclist, I don't go near any trucks which are indicating, simply because I know how difficult it is to see a cyclist when turning, and the driver is trying to look in both mirrors at the same time.

Any tips from more experienced road cyclists are much appreciated...

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hubgearfreak
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby hubgearfreak » 7 Nov 2012, 4:03pm

spoonful wrote:I was crawling uphill for miles, while the cyclist passed many many places where he could safely pull over. Now, if I hear a truck behind me for a while, I pull over and let the queue pass.


well done for your patience. how many miles exactly?

Mike Sales
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby Mike Sales » 7 Nov 2012, 4:18pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
spoonful wrote:I was crawling uphill for miles, while the cyclist passed many many places where he could safely pull over. Now, if I hear a truck behind me for a while, I pull over and let the queue pass.


well done for your patience. how many miles exactly?


He said 20 min. @ 10 mph. I make that 3 1/3 miles. Perhaps he would also tell us where this hill was?

spoonful
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby spoonful » 7 Nov 2012, 4:22pm

It was a good 20 mins at about 10mph, dropping to 7-8mph as the cyclist got tired. It's a long, bendy gentle uphill between Guildford and Godalming where a car could nip past safely, no problem. Doing the same in a heavy truck is risky though...even dropping a gear and flooring it didn't mean I would be able to accelerate fast enough to get past before the next curve. I don't think the cyclist realised that heavier vehicles simply can't get past safely.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby hubgearfreak » 7 Nov 2012, 4:24pm

Mike Sales wrote: Perhaps he would also tell us where this hill was?


i've known some that long - western isles, lakes & etc.
i'd be interested to know where one is on the outskirts of london and see it on streetview 8)

Mike Sales
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby Mike Sales » 7 Nov 2012, 4:36pm

spoonful wrote:a heavy truck


This was a heavy truck then, not your usual van?

broadway
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby broadway » 7 Nov 2012, 4:43pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
Mike Sales wrote: Perhaps he would also tell us where this hill was?


i've known some that long - western isles, lakes & etc.
i'd be interested to know where one is on the outskirts of london and see it on streetview 8)


Where does it say the hill was on the outskirts of London?

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Alex L
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby Alex L » 7 Nov 2012, 4:46pm

If there is a lorry that can't get past me, I usually do pull over and let them past, the problem is, I can then get stuck. I'll get a wave of thanks from driver but then can get stuck as no one will let me out again. So there is a balance there.

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meic
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby meic » 7 Nov 2012, 4:48pm

I have a long and twisty climb when I leave the house. One mile and climbing 100m it takes me around 10 minutes to do at between 4 and 7mph. There are two possible places (trespassing on private property) to pull aside to let others pass, so possibly a five minute journey to do the longest stretch.

I have only pulled in to those passing places something like twice a year, almost never do any vehicles wait for me to reach them before attempting an overtake. If I ever have a vehicle stuck behind me for a minute it feels intense, three minutes is an eternity to have a vehicle stuck behind you and it is literally one in ten thousand or less that will do that, if it came to it.

Far more frequently than me reaching that place in time to move over an oncoming car will be forced to do an emergency stop or off the road!!

I have little choice but to go up that hill, I live on that road, it is an extra 9 mile detour to avoid using it and my child's school and nearest town is that direction.

I am far more aware that a truck can not accelerate quickly enough to pass me on that road than it appears the drivers are, they demonstrated this all too frequently. There are places where it is possible to pass with oncoming cars arriving out of the blue having enough space to slow down and avoid a collision, the better drivers do wait for these places.

It is often impossible to get a truck safely past me in that five minutes stretch, I can see that from the van drivers' point of view. It is probably quite difficult to crawl up that hill at 5 mph behind me but I am pretty sure it is harder work to be cycling up that hill as fast as you can to get out of their way.

I can guarantee you I dont spend any longer on that hill than necessary.
Yma o Hyd

Mike Sales
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby Mike Sales » 7 Nov 2012, 4:50pm

broadway wrote:Where does it say the hill was on the outskirts of London?


spoonful wrote: I drive a long wheelbase 3.5 ton van and sometimes a 7.5 ton truck as part of my job at a PA company just outside London,

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horizon
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby horizon » 7 Nov 2012, 4:53pm

spoonful wrote:It was a good 20 mins at about 10mph, dropping to 7-8mph as the cyclist got tired. It's a long, bendy gentle uphill between Guildford and Godalming where a car could nip past safely, no problem. Doing the same in a heavy truck is risky though...even dropping a gear and flooring it didn't mean I would be able to accelerate fast enough to get past before the next curve. I don't think the cyclist realised that heavier vehicles simply can't get past safely.


I think we do which is why we don't always let them past. :wink:

I am reading in this that you were too slow to get past. How quickly would you have gone had the cyclist pulled over? I am a bit concerned that you say drivers get angry over small delays - should they be on the road? Are they sufficiently skilled?
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby horizon » 7 Nov 2012, 5:02pm

QUICK QUIZ

Please read the following and then answer the question:

1. A man is cycling up a long steep hill on his way to work. He is hot, he is sweaty, it is raining. His legs are aching. As he draws a deep breath he breathes in vehicle fumes. He must do this for the next 10 minutes.

2. Behind him, a man in a van is following him up the hill. This man is sitting on a comfortable seat, listening to the radio and adjusting the heating to his preference. His power steering involves no effort. He is warm and dry. He must do this for the next 10 minutes.

One of these men gets angry - which man do you think it is?
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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scottmac
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 5:08pm

horizon wrote:QUICK QUIZ

Please read the following and then answer the question:

1. A man is cycling up a long steep hill on his way to work. He is hot, he is sweaty, it is raining. His legs are aching. As he draws a deep breath he breathes in vehicle fumes. He must do this for the next 10 minutes.

2. Behind him, a man in a van is following him up the hill. This man is sitting on a comfortable seat, listening to the radio and adjusting the heating to his preference. His power steering involves no effort. He is warm and dry. He must do this for the next 10 minutes.

One of these men gets angry - which man do you think it is?

Sod these stupid questions, for starters... :roll:

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al_yrpal
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby al_yrpal » 7 Nov 2012, 5:18pm

I had this situation yesterday, except it was on a very narrow lane through a forest. The truck was stuck behind me for about 90 seconds. I could tell he was getting anxious so I pulled in and let him past at the first opportunity, a tee junction with a track. He gunned it past me but didn't see the broken off tree sticking out on his left hand side. The 6" branch hit his mirrors. It split down the middle and was hanging out dangerously in the road. It dislodged the covers on his two side mirrors which clattered in the road. It's possible it smashed one or both of his mirrors too. I tackled the broken tree and managed to crack the piece off and clear the road. I picked up the mirror covers and put them on the verge and cleared the road of the glass. I continued on a couple of miles and saw him just as he turned back into the road from the industrial estate to retrace his steps. He didn't stop and he never knew what I had done. I don't know if he retrieved his mirror covers which looked quite expensive. It's quite possible that this poor guy had been directed onto this very narrow lane by his satnav. The same thing happened to me in Devon last week in my car. It was a satnav nightmare. I always try to use a bit of give and take in such situations and pull over. You never know how such a situation as his has arisen.
A lot of the trouble on the roads is from aggression IMO. When he lost it a bit and charged past it came back to bite him on the bum. Just shows...

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

tatanab
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Re: From a van driver's point of view...

Postby tatanab » 7 Nov 2012, 5:26pm

spoonful wrote:I've been reading this forum for a while...

Then you will know that a large number of us do pretty much as you ask.

Certainly, on my rural rides I will do what I can to allow a working vehicle to pass where convenient for me - and that applies to those approaching me as well. However, particularly when climbing, I do not really want to lose much momentum so I will pull into a passing place or a farm entrance or suchlike, but really do not want to stop. I will have indicated to the driver to pass me just before I pull over so I expect them to have their wits about them. I would be getting agitated if I had a motor vehicle sitting behind me for 400 yards let alone the miles you have written about, it really is unpleasant. I wish some drivers would realise that changing down a gear helps in acceleration from the comparatively low speed. People trying to accelerate from 12mph in 4th gear need to go back to driving school.

A bit of give and take all around is a good thing.