Bus driver Training

Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Manual

Currently Maryland's (and most likely other States as well) the CDL Manual says that bicyclists are hazards and that truck drivers should honk at them (ok, in the manual it says tap the horn lightly but still that is totally bogus safety information.)

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) in their Bike Friendly States (BFS) program had this question:
In the state driver's CDL testing and manual are questions and information regarding motorists rights and responsibilities toward bicyclists included?
Which to me implies that there is something better out their then what Maryland has.

We just got this response back from someone at MVA:
Sorry this is a week later, but wanted to be sure I passed along this information with reference to the CDL Manual. It was suggested in the email discussion to update the CDL manual. In fact, Maryland's CDL manual is modeled on the AAMVA manual (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrations), and the sections mentioned in the email discussion regarding bicycles are actually taken word for word from the AAMVA model. There is a new version being printed this month with changes as a result of national model changes. I double-checked before sending this, and the new version of the CDL manual will have the same language on bicycles.

Because the verbage is basically handed down to us, any updates to the manual are definitely not something that could be easily changed -- likely, any request for changes would have to work their way through nationally. It may seem unfriendly for trucks to blow their horn (or tap it lightly) at bicycles to make them aware of a truck behind them (getting ready to pass), and for bicycles to be listed as a potential hazard to trucks, but certainly the national model to teach truck drivers how to drive safely would not suggest harrassment of bicycles. Both of these sections mentioned are from the section on "Driving Safely" -- with the first under "Communicating Your Presence" and the second under "Seeing Hazards."
This seems to imply that Maryland has the "best" standard CDL manual.
Maryland's CDL manual
The solution could be as easy as adding some local information such as this:

An accident so common it has a name: The Right Hook.

You are plugging along on your bicycle at about 15 or 20 mph on the right hand side of the road as you should be. A car approaches from behind; he is doing 30 or 40 mph and catches and passes you quite easily. But then the driver brakes and slows down to make a right turn.

Car brakes being as efficient as they are, he slows down quickly to about 15 or 20 mph, the same speed you are doing and as a result does not completely pass you. You are now along side the car, or a little behind the driver in his blind spot. He makes the right turn and you either run into the side of the car, he side swipes you, or in the worst case he runs right over you.

A good and careful driver would slow and stay behind the cyclist and wait until the bike rider clears the junction before he turns.

Or the following which used to be on the MVA site (I am a bit miffed that it's no longer there):

It's the Law in Maryland

  • Yield the Right-of-Way to Bicyclists.
  • Bicycles are treated as vehicles in Maryland.
  • Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists. Do not attempt to share the lane with bicyclists. If you are unable to safely pass them, reduce your speed, and follow the bicycle at a safe distance. Wait for a safe opportunity to pass, allowin adequate clearance, about three feet from the side of your vehicle, and return to your lane when you can clearly see the bicyclist in your rear view mirror.
  • A bicycle is not restricted to the right side of the road.
  • Share the road and do not use your horn. the bicyclist can usually hear an approachin vehicle and loud noises can startle the bicyclist and may cause an accident.

by B' Spokes

Like most people I live a hectic life and who has the time for much exercise? Thanks to xtracycle now I do. By using my bike for daily activities I can get things done and get an hour plus work out in 15 minutes extra of my time, not a bad deal and beats taking the extra time going to the gym. In case you are still having trouble being motivated; the National Center of Disease Control says that inactivity is the #2 killer in the United States just behind smoking. ( http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/bb_nutrition/ ) Get out there and start living life! I can carry home a full shopping cart of groceries, car pool two kids or just get lost in the great outdoors camping for a week. Well I got go, another outing this weekend.
  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

Share It!

Login required to comment
Let’s go back to that buzzing incident with the garbage truck, in which the driver honked loudly as he passed me with only about a foot’s clearance.

What if I hadn’t managed to maintain control over my bike when the horn startled me? As I noted yesterday, I could have swerved to the left, which could have meant going under his wheels. Or I might have swerved right, where I would have bounced off the parked cars, and possibly been thrown back underneath him.

So who would be at fault when the police filed their report?

Would it be the driver who passed too closely, honking his horn in a threatening manner, or the cyclist who responded by losing control and colliding with the truck?

Or would they decide it was just one of those things, and no one was really to blame?

Or take today’s ride, when I was nearly right-hooked by a truck driver who passed me on the left, then made a right turn directly across my path — while I was still beside him.

Fortunately, I try to anticipate such things. So I grabbed my brakes, dropped behind him, then passed him on his left before he could even finish his turn.

But what if I hadn’t?

What if I’d collided with the truck? Would he be at fault because he turned into my path? Or would it be my fault because I hit him?

The law suggests the driver should be at fault. Yet when a Baltimore cyclist was killed recently in collision just like that, the police determined that he was at fault — evidently they felt it was his responsibility to somehow avoid the truck that cut him off.
Bus driver assaults cyclist, MPD uninterested In 2007, a Los Angeles bus driver passed a cyclist at a very unsafe distance. When the cyclist confronted the driver, she screamed at the cyclist. He calls the police, who, without interviewing anyone, handcuff the cyclist and his wife, and refuse to charge either the driver or a passenger who jumped out and spit on the cyclist. This happened shortly after a community meeting for police and bicyclists to discuss respect for and enforcement of laws for bicycles. Does DC need some community meetings of its own to clear the air between bus drivers, police and bicyclists? This morning, bicycle advocate Jeff Peel had experience eerily similar to LA's: The incident [with a southbound 53 bus] happened at approximately 8:45am at the southbound intersection of 14th & R NW. My first encounter with the bus was between U and T streets. Due to snow and ice on the roadway I was riding along the line dividing the bike lane and the right most travel lane at approximately 20-25mph. The operator passed me in the right hand travel lane at a high rate of speed (the speed limit is 25mph through here if I'm not mistaken) within less than 3 feet. I know this because it was close enough to touch. Scared, frustrated and angry I spit at the driver's rear view mirror when passing him at his next stop near the intersection with S street. He was also had not fully pulled into the stop and was blocking the bike lane and a portion of the right travel lane. Once I stopped at the light at R street at the edge of the back of the crosswalk and on top of the stop bar, the operator pulled past his stop within inches of me stopped on my bike. Had I not noticed him out of my periphery and ducked, the mirror of his bus would have struck me in the back of the head. The operator then proceed to grab at me (he had pulled up close enough to reach me) while screaming at me through his window. He refused to tell me his name, and I had to briefly block the path of the bus to get the bus number in order to record it. I know my actions may have escalated the situation, and I should not do this out of my own safety. However this does not negate the fact that the operator failed to pass me within a safe legal distance, and then attempt to use his bus as a weapon to strike me with. Due to my previous negative interactions with Metro police in similar incidents and how difficult the complaint system is, I called for MPD instead. While on the phone with dispatch I was able to flag down an officer who upon hearing what happened refused to file a report and drove off. Dispatch then had Officer with 3rd District respond. Because the operator didn't actually hit me she refused to file any sort of "accident" report. I stated that I did not want to file an accident report, that I wanted to report the driver passing to closely and an attempted assault, of which she refused to do either. Seeing the conversation going nowhere I took her name, but she failed to give her badge number. The S routes and 50 routes encounter a LOT of cyclists once they reach Columbia Heights and south into downtown. I do hope these routes and operators are called out for special training in how to better interact with pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, I regularly observe them running red lights and speeding. While many suburban customers have stopped using the system due to parking rates and frequent train malfunctions, I know more and more DC residents who are shying away from your transit system due to such poor performance of many of your bus system and the behavior of your bus operators. It is entirely legal for cyclists to ride in the regular travel lane, especially if conditions like snow and ice make the bicycle lane unsafe. Cyclists can do it for any reason, though. Unfortunately, some drivers don't know this, and try to drive extra close to cyclists to "teach them a lesson". That's dangerous, and illegal. Our officers, charged with protecting the public, need to protect our vulnerable bicycle riders as well. It's also unconscionable for an officers to refuse to disclose their badge numbers, regardless of whether they are in the right or wrong about the underlying incident.