Motorcycle riding tips may assist you when riding in traffic. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, as becoming a safe, skilled and trouble-free rider requires learning many different tips and techniques over time. Our purpose is to pass on information that may assist you develop an attitude encompassing safety and survival while enjoying the sport of motorcycling.
The primary concern for all motorcyclists is visibility. Statistics suggest that in a large portion of motorcycle accidents happen because car drivers were unable to see the motorcycle prior to collision. For this purpose, we need to consider our environment in relation to our lane position, the curves and hills in the road, the road surface itself, the weather, blind spots, other vehicles, our machines and our abilities.
Position One: Generally, Position One is the best position in which to ride. This position promotes our visibility on the road permitting other motorists to see us. In this position, we are riding directly in line with the drivers of cars ahead and behind. They should be able to see us easily, giving us the cushion we require. This position also stakes our claim to the lane and prevents other motorists from using part of our lane if they pass. Our mirrors are best aligned to view traffic around us from this position and it is likely to be the part of the road with the least debris. This position is also the best choice when making a left turn.
Position Two: When there is a lane to our left with traffic traveling in the same direction, it may be prudent to move into Position Two when we passtraffic or if traffic is either passing us or maintaining the same speed as we are traveling. If the lane to our left governs oncoming traffic, we can move into Position Two when cars and trucks traveling in the opposite direction pass by. This action maintains our cushion of air and reduces any risk of colliding with these vehicles. However, we have to remember in Position Two we are riding over oil that has dripped from vehicles which may be a hazard. While this is not always a problem on a sunny day, water on a rainy day can bead on the oil and become slippery. It is advisable to use caution in Position Two when it is raining and we need to accelerate, brake or turn in a curve.
Position Three: If there is more than one lane traveling in the same direction and we are not in the curb lane, Position Three can offer the advantages as Position One. We will have greater visibility ahead and our mirrors will be aligned for traffic behind. If there is only one lane moving in our direction, however, we must remember that we are less visible in Position Three to cars pulling out from the right. We are also closer to parked cars and must watch for doors opening. This position may encourage overtaking vehicles to pass on our left while sharing the lane. This position is the best choice for making a right turn.
We should also pay special attention approaching an intersection when in the right lane of two lanes heading in the same direction. If there is a car ahead in the lane to the left heading in our direction and it stops to turn left, it may block the view of oncoming drivers waiting to turn left, preventing them from seeing us.
Also, the stopped car will block our vision preventing us from seeing the oncoming car. The oncoming car will not see us until we emerge from the blind spot and often this is only after the oncoming car turning left has already committed to making the left turn. It is advisable to proceed cautiously and move to Position Two or Three while approaching the intersection and resume Position One after passing through safely.
Another potential hazard facing motorcyclists approaching an intersection with the right-of-way, are vehicles that run the red light or stop sign and broadside the rider. It is always advisable to roll off the throttle and scan all roads leading into the intersection for potential hazards.
One of the most important pieces of equipment on our motorcycles are the tires. The traction they provide keeps us upright. You need to know how they are affected by road and weather conditions. In Canada, we usually ride on roads that are paved with asphalt. In the United States, many interstate highways have concrete surfaces. Concrete provides slightly better traction than asphalt. You should however, be aware of the hazards in each.
Concrete roads often contain grooves for water run-off. The grooves usually run to the side of the road although sometimes they run in the direction of travel and can make it difficult to steer if your tire gets caught in them. Concrete roads are poured in sections and if they become frozen, they shift upward and cause bumps at each union. This can make for unsteady handling at high speeds.
Asphalt roads also buckle from frost. Often these cracks are filled with a material called ‘banding’. This material is identifiable by it’s shiny black paint-like appearance and is extremely slippery, wet or dry. Banding presents a particular hazard in curves and all motorcyclists should use caution when riding over banding.
Painted lines are either yellow or white in colour. They divide the lanes and mark crosswalks. Given their prevalence, you should know they can be very slippery, especially when wet. Use caution when turning at intersections or crossing them when passing or changing lanes.
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Note: This site is for information purposes only and is not meant to be construed as legal advice or motorcycle riding instruction. Circumstances concerning proper riding technique are subject to change with conditions and experience. Contact your local riding school for more information. For legal consultation Contact us or call Daryl Brown directly at 604-612-6848 or toll free at 1-844-BIKE-LAW .
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