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  #1  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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sharing the road with road trains

g'day.

i got the cash together for the bike travel gig by driving road trains and other trucks, and thought i would share some wisdom on how to deal with them on the road:

do let them overtake you. you will be surprised how fast most of these vehicles travel - most of them are fitted with speed limiters, and these let the truck reach 102 or 104km/h. from time to time, one will come up behind you, so let it past. this seems self-evident, but it's clear from up there in the driver's seat that lots of people get freaked out just at the wrong moment.

do wait until the truck is out in the opposite (passing) lane, then just ease off the throttle (brake lightly if you want) and let the train slip past. this will happen quickly, and then you can go back to your cruising speed and the truckie can keep earning a living.

do not move towards the edge of the road, as the bow wave of the truck will blow you that way anyhow, and you want some spare space. do not accelerate away either, just let the truck pass and you will probably never see it again.

in australia, do not travel behind a road train or other large truck. it seems a lot of people feel safe back there, but it is not, for a couple of reasons:
- when the truck hits a kangaroo, cow, sheep or whatever, the animal will likely exit from underneath the rear of the truck in a variety of chunks, plenty of them big enough to end your day's ride.
- a small movement at the front of a roadtrain can translate into a much larger weave at the rear, and all those wheels pick up a lot of gravel if they leave the asphalt or cross a broken surface. you would probably prefer not to eat dirt. oh, and if you think you can drive a roadtrain without kicking up dirt here and there, give it a go!

cheers,
andy.
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  #2  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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guess ill make my forst post here.
i recently went on a trip out west (in a road train) helping a mates father out for a few days, having never been in bulldust before i was surprised how soft it is so if anyone has a road train passing them in it give the dust some sime to settle the stuff is horrible gets in everything up you nose i dound was most annoying that and the week we spent cleaning the truck for the beef week festival back home in casino.
not sure what the point of this post was just thaught id add my 2 bob
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  #3  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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Great advice. I'd love to have a go at a road train, biggest thing I ever get to drive on the road is an 18 tonner, but I've driven an 8x8 with three axle drawbar on ABS testing which was fun

To add to the general how to treat trucks theme, can I beg bikers to stay out of the blind spots . As someone who can start a day on two wheels, get up to eight via three and four, I really look for bikes and track their progress, but the number I track into the blindspot by the middle of the truck and only spot again by looking over my shoulder is scary. A lot of truck drivers won't do this on multilane roads and foreign drivers can't if they are sat on the wrong side. Take care guys.

Andy
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Old 12 Jun 2008
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yeah blind spots is a good point here us new south welshmen are responsible road users we are taught to keep an eye on the trucks rear view mirror's and keep left (near the shoulder) unless overtaking, although in my shot time helping move earth moving machinery we have run many cars into the middle of roundabouts trying to undertake as they are too stupid to realise a even a heavy rigid nees both lanes

mitch
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Old 12 Jun 2008
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You'll often find that truck drivers on the lonelier outback roads will pull onto the wrong side of the road depending on the wind conditions to let bikes pass them (either way) in relative safety by not having to drive through the dust. Some are real gentlemen.

Personally I'd always pull over and let a roadtrain pass, too many stones and other things get thrown up at you.

For about 20 years I employed truck drivers and one of the things I always looked for was a motorcycle licence - I was never let down with my rule of thumb - A motorcycle licence always meant that the driver knew how to drive/ride defensively.
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  #6  
Old 12 Jun 2008
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In Australia, on paved highways (which made up probably 95% of our trip), we were usually passing the road trains with the bike, not the other way round.

You did have to keep in mind, though, that especially if its windy, the rear units can move around quite a bit... and also that it will take a much longer time to make a pass, because they are so long. And it is a good advice not to ride too close on the back, because you wont know what might jump up from underneath its wheels.

Also when coming across them on a highway, beware of the windblast that they create, it was real scary sometimes!
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Old 13 Jun 2008
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Too close?
You have all seen teh tyre remains beside the road .. when a tyre bolws on a road tain and you are close behind it .. you'll be wareing those tyre remains.

Generally other vehicles overtaking me .. I'll close the throtte when they get into teh next lane ... unless it is a mulitlane road where I'll hold my speed and cource .. The only exception to holding my courxe is where they look to be coming up to close beside me - then I'll swing out to make certain they go into the next lane... that does not happen with truck drivers .. just those 4 wheeled things!

Dirt ..
The good thing here is you'll see them off in the distance ..

if they are coming your way .. pick a tree to park under upwind so you are out of the dust and out of the way ..

If you are going the same way .... when I come up on their dust cloud I pull over check the time .. have a drink .. check the bike .. have a pee .. in general wait 5 minutes (i time in on teh watch!). Then I proceed onwards .. if I come up on them again and I'm inclinde to pass then I'll pass .. but it is risky! I find the first 5 minute stop is usuall enough - they either pull off on to some other road .. or have a break themselves .. generally this removes about 60% of the overtaking problem.
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Old 15 Jun 2008
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I cover about 50000 to 60000 thousand kms a year on highways both by car and motorbike. I have developed the habit of "announcing" myself to truck drivers before I overtake them by making sure that the truck driver has seen me in his rear vision mirrors (usually right side mirror). I do this by maintaining my position closer to the right side of the lane for a few hundred metres before starting to overtake.
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  #9  
Old 15 Jun 2008
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I would have to agree with some of the above comments. I very rarely have trucks passing me, usually the other way round. I let myself be seen from a long way off as well. As can be seen in this picture, I am riding on the wrong side of the road anyway, saves being buffeted by the slipstream, usually not a lot of oncoming traffic out there so this manouver is quite OK



As you can see from the following photo, they can be quite long, this is only 3 trailers, some of the ones up north and west have 4-6 trailers.


Another point that has not been mentioned is that when passing one of these suckers, usually with the throttle wide open, if there is any side wind it will hit you full force when you get to the front of the train, just be aware of it and expect it.

Cheers
TravellingStrom
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  #10  
Old 18 Jun 2008
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thank you

Some great advise for us who havn't been exposed to these monsters.
Thank you
Joe
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Old 18 Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Warner View Post
if they are coming your way .. pick a tree to park under upwind so you are out of the dust and out of the way ..

If you are going the same way .... when I come up on their dust cloud I pull over check the time .. have a drink .. check the bike .. have a pee .. in general wait 5 minutes (i time in on teh watch!). Then I proceed onwards .. if I come up on them again and I'm inclinde to pass then I'll pass .. but it is risky! I find the first 5 minute stop is usuall enough - they either pull off on to some other road .. or have a break themselves .. generally this removes about 60% of the overtaking problem.
This is great advice. I got the hell out of the way when I'd see them coming up behind me. I keep a close eye on my mirror but once it busted I had to keep turning around. Empty roads so going straight wasn't a problem, but I was worried by road trains passing. That happened a few times, but most of the time I could see them coming up and I'd get well off the road. I was on an old 250 though. I saw heaps of busted windshields on the side of the road from cars that didn't think about the large rocks the trucks toss up.
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