Being smaller than the majority of road users is both an advantage and disadvantage of riding a motorcycle. However, many riders don’t give much active consideration to how they can apply a motorcycle’s advantages to help mitigate its disadvantages. Thanks to lane positioning options afforded by a bike’s small size, we can take proactive steps to keep those big, lumbering cars from becoming overly intimate with us.

The width of cars pretty much limits them to one place within a lane. If their driver can just keep it between the lines, they’re golden. Motorcycles, thanks to their being narrow, single-track vehicles, have a seemingly infinite number of slices within a lane that they can occupy. However, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll divide the lane into thirds: left, right and center. Think of these as lanes within the lane. Your choice of position within the lane can do two important things.

First, by creating a protective bubble of space around you (a “space cushion” in MSF parlance), you can give yourself more time to react should an inattentive car driver start claiming more than his fair share of the road. If you are traveling in the left lane overtaking a car on your right, you will be less vulnerable if you ride in the left third of the lane when passing through the car’s blind spot. Similarly, if a car is overtaking you, move to the third of the lane opposite that vehicle.

Motorcycle Lane Positons: Beside Pickup

Riding this close to an inattentive driver gives you no time to react. Make sure you have a space cushion.

The second benefit of lane positioning is that you can make yourself more visible to other traffic. If you’re following a car, stay in the center third so that your headlight can’t be missed in a car’s rear view mirror. Do the same when traveling in front of a car, too – but remember that a tail light doesn’t capture a driver’s attention as well as your high beam. When overtaking a car on its left, you can combine space cushioning with lane placement for better visibility.

As you approach the car, make sure you are in the right third of your lane, keeping your headlight in the car’s side mirror. Just before you enter the car’s blind spot, move to the left third of the lane and immediately move back to the right third once you are safely past the car. This keeps you as far as possible from the car when the driver can’t see you, but inserts your motorcycle back into their field of vision as you move in front of them. Your movement from the left to the right third of the lane should also attract the driver’s attention, pointing out that there’s someone new in front of them. As you navigate through traffic, you will constantly need to adjust your lane position to maximize your space cushion and visibility.

Unfortunately, traffic situations don’t always occur in ways that allow you to deal with them individually, as you could in the previous examples. Sometimes, if you pause for a moment, they will naturally separate in the flow of traffic, but in most cases, you’ll have to take what you’re given. In these instances, address the issues simultaneously.

Motorcycle Lane Positons: City Street

Maintain your cushion until you are past the vehicle and can place your bike into the driver’s line of sight.

If cars are both on the left and the right of your intended path of travel, choosing either side of the lane would compromise your space cushion with one of the vehicles. So, you’ll need to split the difference to get the most separation possible from both by passing them in the middle third of the lane. While this is not an ideal situation with either car, it does give you the best option for this scenario.

Make a game out of plotting the route you’d take while observing traffic – even if you’re not riding at the time. After all, isn’t having to constantly interact with your surroundings in an intellectually active way one of the attractions of riding? If you just wanted to sit on your ass traveling from point A to B, you’d be in a car…talking on a cell phone.

Finally, many riders neglect to consider the message they are sending to drivers with their lane position. The sad truth is that, as fewer people use their turn signals, drivers are being forced to make assumptions based on limited information about what the other road users are going to do.

Motorcycle Lane Positons: Wet Road

This rider has placed himself in a position to be more visible to the driver. If the car is overtaking the motorcycle, moving to the right would increase the space cushion as the car passed.

So, consider the signals you send to other road users through your actions within your lane. For example, how you would appear to an oncoming car when you ride in the left third of the left lane as you both approach an intersection? Your lane position could be misinterpreted as preparing to turn left, which could prompt the other driver to initiate his turn right in front of you. Instead, shift to the right third of your lane as you approach the intersection.

Could your shift to the right third of the lane be sending a different message when it occurs on a two-lane road rather than a four-lane one? Moving to the center of your lane on a two lane road would not give you as much of a space cushion, but there is less of a chance that your move will be interpreted as preparing to turn right than if you’d moved all the way over to the right third.

Either way, by moving away from the other car, you’ve increased your space cushion and clearly stated that you have no intention of turning left. Another benefit is that by switching positions, you’ve caused your headlight to waver, drawing the distracted driver’s attention to you.

Lane Positions: Three Motorcycles

As with any other riding skill, the more you use it, the more natural it becomes, so practice on every ride. Gradually, your choices of lane positioning will become intuitive, leaving you to use more of your concentration analyzing the traffic ahead of you – or just having fun with the wind in your face.

  • Jim Gibson

    Thought provoking. Thanks for an excellent reminder!

  • kencryst

    When I ride on crowded highways which is almost every day I am constantly changing my lane position to where I can see the drivers face in their sideview mirror. Unfortunately a lot of drivers don’t use their mirrors or don’t have them adjusted properly. I always assume that someone in a car is going to change lanes directly into me without a signal, without looking and they are going to change lanes very fast. I am ALWAYS ready to react to that. When I am on a road or a highway and someone who is facing the opposite direction as me is positioned to make a left turn across my path I turn my bike so that my headlight is pointing directly at them (not with my brights on) so that there is a better chance they will notice me.

    • Frank Fernandez

      Agreed! Defensive driving is important but I have used offensive maneuvers to avoid collisions very often, hard braking or rapid acceleration have saved me more times than I can count in 43 years riding on some of the country’s most dangerous roads for bikers, Tampa Florida is where I was born raised and learned to ride, we have plenty of retirees, “malfunction junction” I-4 the death highway aka HWY US 19, and the most non signaling inconsiderate cage drivers in the country! I just drove from Tampa to LA. CA less than a year ago and in every state that I drove through I was amazed at how courteous, safe, and signaling intentions the drivers were compared to Florida, here if you are overtaking a 4 or more wheeled vehicle they will jack your lane without notice and sometimes “brake check” you if not just slow down to jam your progress. I was driving a cage on that cross country trip but after that experience I’m ready for a cross country trip on one of my touring bikes, just have to survive getting out of Florida!

      God bless you all, and keep the rubber side down and shiny side up!

  • Dave A.

    I am a casual rider, supermoto-commuter, and as well a CHP officer. What I dont understand is why the average rider on the freeway doesnt just stay in the #3 (far right) lane?! That is were I spend the vast majority of my riding time; I can pass and travel faster than 80% of the other traffic, I can quickly get off the roadway if there is an emergency, and my risk of colliding with another vehicle is reduced by 50%.

    • Noah S

      I commute daily across the Bay Bridge into San Fran and couldn’t agree with you more, especially in traffic. More room to swerve and one less lane of traffic to not see me when I’m on the right.

      • Dave A.

        Yep, we are on the same page, you are obviously a good rider like me 🙂
        I’ve seen the riders who fly past us on 580 splitting lanes at 80 mph go down like dominoes once traffic becomes stop & go.

    • LS650

      Well, if cagers in Southern California merge on and off with the same ‘skills’ as they do here, I can certainly understand why most riders prefer NOT to be in that same lane!

      • Dave A.

        Good point! but i’ve seen first hand what a squished helmet looks like over in the other lanes… maybe my taking chances with the mergers is safer. Lol

        • Bo Guss

          Just remember, the faster you go, the shorter the safe zone, and reaction time you have. Most motorcycle collisions are because of excessive speeds, and weaving in out of traffic. Just plain dumb. I’ve been riding for over 20 years, and it’s always been about the ride. I’m never in a hurry to get to where I’m going on my bike. I enjoy the scenery. When I want to crank it, and just go for the adrenaline rush of speed, I borrow my friends racer and hit the race track. Ride smart (not safe), and you will be able to deal with almost any situation that arises.

      • Bo Guss

        I have to concur with LS650. On the highway, I stay either in the middle or far left lane. Too many times for my liking I see drivers merging with traffic the WRONG way. It’s like they don’t realize there are other cars on the road, and their mirrors are non-existent.

        • Rightwheel

          And their neck cannot swivel like the rest of us to look over their shoulders.

      • di0genes

        I agree with Dave, the right lane is almost always the best place to be on most multi lane roads. Other driver skill is not an issue, never trust the skills of any driver. The thing about a limited access road is that ramps and merge points are predictable and announced and are few compared to ordinary intersections. Stay close to the left side of the painted line and you only have to hop over a few feet whenever you see merging drivers, which is the correct, courteous and safest action regardless.

    • Tim L.

      I ride and commute near Boston. When traffic is light, I stay to the right but for heavy traffic, the right lane is much busier with people changing lanes. Worse, the left side of the highway tends to slow or stop first so drivers will tend to jump to the right into moving traffic.
      As for high speed crashes during rush hour near Boston? Yeah, you might get run over but it won’t be at a high speed left or right lane.

    • Stuart Robertson

      That’s weird we also call the lane on the right lane number 3 where I come from (UK) but then we drive on the left. I thought you guys drive on the right? Doesn’t that mean you should overtake on the left? or do you not have to?

      • Dave A.

        Hi Stuart-
        You bring up a very interesting point… Here in California we are taught that the fastest vehicles should always be driving in the far left lane, while the slowest vehicles should always be in the far right lane. However, this is rarely the case. It is all too common for the fastest lane (what we in the Highway Patrol refer to as the #1 lane) to be obstructed by a vehicle which is going FAR slower than the rest of the traffic on the roadway. In this case the only way to get around that vehicle is by passing (overtaking) on the right. In California this is not against the law. In fact, by obstructing traffic from the far left lane, that slow driver is actually breaking the law. Now throw in 30 million drivers, and you could see why traffic is such a mess in this state alone. Oh well, I guess it keeps me employed. lol 🙂

        • Hugh Blackwood

          Dave… excellent point, but in UK it is frowned upon to “undertake” and perhaps illegal here. Undertaking is passing on the offside (passenger side) of vehicle.

          • Keith Lamb

            It’s illegal in some states here too, but rarely enforced if there’s a car going slower than the rest of traffic in the left lane.

        • loloyd

          Most traffic laws and highway rules around the world were patterned after US’s and UK’s own research and designs. It is fair to say that all of us were taught to overtake on the innermost lane or that the fastest vehicles should be farthest from the curb. The sad fact is that some of the ill-educated or ill-mannered drivers use the innermost lanes as convenience lanes as they could drive relatively slower on them and not be bothered much by obstructing traffic that keeps stopping or slowing down. In developing countries such as mine, this situation is very common and prevalent. In any case, as a two-wheel rider and enthusiast, I believe it still is best to use the innermost lanes for overtaking only even when others choose to not to heed the usual road rules. Ultimately, my rationale is that if we all let chaos ensue, then we won’t be enjoying ourselves and our safety much as motorcycle riders.

    • Keith Lamb

      It depends. In the city where exit and entrance ramps are close together and traffic slows to 45 or less it makes sense IMO to be in one of the middle lanes. When the ramps spread out in the suburbs I agree that it’s better to be on the right.
      Personally I avoid riding on the freeway whenever I can though.

    • stef

      Sorry there CHP but riding in the far right lane is not safe. On coming traffic usually travel at a high rate of speed to enter the highway and see you the last minuet or just think they can go passed you. these Moran’s fails to see that they really cant see or judge the speed of a motorcycle we appear slower then we are really traveling. the middle or far left lane is best.

    • philcott

      In Memphis, the safest place to ride is generally in the far left lane. In the left lane, you don’t usually have to deal with traffic coming from the left side, and you usually have a potential escape route. In the far right lane, you have to contend with merging traffic (see the other comments about driver “skills”) and when traffic slows down, you have to deal with idiots taking to the emergency lane to pass everyone else.

    • Cory Ouellette

      i commuted around long island and NYC for two years daily on my motorcycle and can without a doubt have to disagree with this at least from my personal experiences. Staying closest to the left possible lane or in HOV lane was by far the safest area to be, cars can only “legally” enter the passing or HOV lanes at specific areas and you are generally one of the faster moving vehicles on a moto (in my case for commuting anyways).

      The average speed on the highway can be between 70-85 so i would NOT want to be near the #3 lane when merging cars from a stand still have to try and compete with that flow of traffic.

      thanks for sharing, this is just my .02

  • Tim

    Some obvious advice and some good advice, but beware the ill-considered shite advice: if you use your light down a car’s rear-view mirror to `capture…a driver’s attention’ it’ll work all too well. Factor the light’s brightness into consideration first.

    (I speak mostly as a driver with biking wannabee intentions – and while I like to think of myself as biker-friendly, some combinations of bike makes and riders seem to make a point of trying to dazzle me from behind, at which point friendliness evaporates fast.)

  • Tim L.

    In slow rush hour traffic near Boston, I go right down the middle of the lane ever since I had two cagers in one day try to pass me *by* *sharing* *my* *lane.*
    I nearly jumped out of my boots.

    • Roger

      I’m in the Midwest and I stay in the middle of the lane just for your very reason and with a wary eye for folks on their cell phones or other distractions. On the Interstate the volume and speed dictates which full lane I ride which is mostly right, but away from the big trucks.

      • Tim L.

        Know what really gives me the heebee-jeebees in a cager? Hanging the left hand out the window so that it covers up the rear view mirror.

      • GypsyRoaddog

        As has been mentioned here by many Floridians, the center of any lane is slicker than the 1/3 on the left or right. Sometimes, however, it becomes necessary to ride in the center of the lane. Every moment of every ride for every rider is a snapshot of a constantly changing scenario. There are no hard & fast rules. Read the situation in every moment and ride accordingly. That’s how the Ol’ Gypsy does it.
        Ride Safe, Gyps 🙂

        • Kevin Duke

          Well said!

  • Keith LeBlanc

    I think some are missing the point of this article. The author is referring to splitting each lane into 3 imaginary lanes and how best to position yourself in the one lane, not which of 3 or more lanes to occupy when traveling. Good advice and thanks.

    • Bo Guss

      It still applies. When riding, you have to be able to think at a moments notice. You can’t spend time deciding which third to be on, on one lane. You may have to change your lanes. Or perhaps, you find in your route, certain lanes to be better than others. Most people don’t like driving on the merging lane, for very good reason. The article focuses on “thirds”. But knowing when to change positions, when to change lanes, and which lanes to be at are all related. You can’t have one without the others. And to focus on semantics, would leave you vulnerable on the road. 😉

  • Ralph Boone

    The biggest mistake I see on a 2 lane road is a Rider in the right lane. #1 . when you come to a stop Sign at a safe distance behind a Suv or any truck the person on the cross street can’t see you 90 percent of the time. also the person at a left turn lane who is in an hurry and will leave right after the truck or suv and this could be a disaster.. I learned years ago to keep 5 cars in sight at all times. the one on the right, the one on the left , the one in front + 2 in front of him if possible and the one behind me are they texting ?? Talking on the phone is bad enough.. I Use the loud pipes save lives for those. It seems the one talking on the phone on either side look over at me unless I blip the throttle. Center of the lane #2 is coated with oil in florida.. approaching the intersection in the middle of the lane is dangerous. I ride in the left cage tire tracks 90% of the time.. they are cleaned by the cagers there for no flat tires. There is no time to swerve in a quick stop by a cager in the middle lane so it is not used at all by me unless I am turning right.. always try to make eye contact with any driver.. Ride safe and follow your best judgement..

    • Bo Guss

      On a single lane approaching an intersection, where oncoming traffic is making a left turn, and I’m riding behind an SUV or truck, I stay closer to the left, and follow a little closer to the vehicle in front of me. For two reasons. One, they become a fullback to my QB. The cars wanting to make a left turn will see them before they see me. I have no worries about them making a quick left right after the vehicle passes them. On average, people’s reaction time is about 3 secs. By the time they react to the car passing them, it’ll be 2 or 3 seconds before they start making a left. I would have passed the intersection already. And second, being closer to the left, if the car making a left is attentive, they will more likely see me, than if I was on the right side of the lane. On a 4 lane road (2 lanes each way), I stay on the right lane. And use the cars on the left as my buffer. So I tend to ride just behind them. Not on their blind side, but close enough. But still give enough space to react if the driver on my left decides to cut in quickly for some reason. Once I pass the intersection, I either speed up in front of them, or hang back a safe distance.

  • Bo Guss

    I don’t do a lot of highway riding. I prefer the scenic route. But whether I ride on the highway or regular roads, I always take the lane with least resistance. By this, I mean, on a two lane road, there are park cars intermittently taking up the right lane. Instead of moving out of the right to avoid parked cars, and moving back into the right lane when it clears up, then back again when approaching more parked cars, I just stay on the left lane. Easier to focus on the road and the ride without the constant lane changing. Because sometimes, cars just don’t want to let you in, and you end up having to stop behind a parked car until the it’s safe to make a lane change. Annoying. Same pretty much applies to highway riding. Except instead of parked cars, it’s merging traffic.

    I’ve learned to anticipate others on the road, and slow or speed up when necessary. I never stay on the side or blind spot of a car (slow traffic is the exception). I’ll either hang back so I can react quickly if he moves into my lane without looking (happens often), or I speed up and get in front of them. Especially when I know there are parked cars up ahead, and cars on the right lane will certainly be changing lanes. I also look inside the cars to see what drivers are doing, especially when I notice them driving slower than the speed limit, or slowing down and speeding up. 8/10 times, it’s always because they are using their mobiles. So I have two options, stay behind them, or speed up when it’s clear and get them as far back in my rear view. Another tactic I use, I always keep an eye on cars tires. The closer they move to the line, the more I prepare to speed up or slow down. Very good chance they want to change lanes.

    I wish everyone rode motorcycles, it would teach them how to drive better. When I drive my car, my mental state is that of when I’m on my bike. More focused, more smart, and always prepared. It’s all instinct now, but for new riders, it’s a good way to practice, till it just becomes instinct.

    • john3347

      “I wish everyone rode motorcycles, it would teach them how to drive better.”
      This is a very true statement. I also wish everyone drove trucks, it would teach them to drive better. Yes, I am a motorcycle rider and a retired truck driver. I personally own a 1 ton truck that I drive now. I recently had a passenger and I had to ask him to move his arm every time I looked into the right side below eye level mirror. If he had ever driven a truck of any size he would have known to “get his cotton pickin’ arm out of my mirror”. These same kind of simple, but dangerous, errors also apply to car driving people who are not familiar with how motorcycles operate.

  • Steve Waclo

    Excellent article, but wondering why the last un-captioned photo shows riders in the dreaded “gaggle” formation.

  • Graham Pearson

    I would suggest to watch the front tires of the cars around you.The tires positon will tell you what the driver is about to do.Especialy if they are a distracted driver.

  • Richard Kline

    Part of this article is DEAD WRONG… they say to stay in the middle? Then why do motorcycle safety courses ( of which I’ve taken a few), and military motorcycle safety courses tell you to stay OUT Of the middle of the lane.
    2 reasons. 1. You ride to the left or right so the car in front of you can see you in his rear view mirror AND his side mirror.
    2. If you ride in the middle, that’s where all the junk from the cars engines go. It reduces your traction and creates greater risk for accidents.

    • Frazer Smith

      Richard is correct. I teach motorcycle safety – beginner and advanced courses. Your ideal visibility is directly in front of or behind the driver of the car. When in front of a car, this position reinforces the car driver’s perception of you as a vehicle.

      The author also did not discuss “lane dominance” which is one of a number of key principles to apply when choosing the ideal lane position. When applied correctly, asserting your lane position makes your intentions clear and can discourage lane incursion.

      The center of any lane is almost never an ideal choice. All guidelines have exceptions., however. Rough pavement, standing water in the tire ruts both may move you to the center of the lane. Note that the center of the lane is also where all the grease and oil gets deposited, so caution in wet weather especially is in order when in this lane position.

      • Frank Fernandez

        I totally agree with both of you. This article is lacking a lot and misguiding a bit.

        As to the article and the mention of riding in the center of a lane,
        that is very dangerous on roads that haven’t been washed by nature for a
        while. We should all know that’s where the “Black Stripe” (what we call
        it here in Florida) is and it’s black with petroleum products that can act like
        “Black Ice” and is unsafe at any speed, the exception is 15 minutes
        after a good rain soaking, then the center of any lane will be safer for
        a while as the water displaces the oils and they wash away until the
        oils and fuels that the cages drip into the center of the lanes build up to unsafe
        levels once again after long periods without rain. I never ride in the
        center of any lane and when I cross them I’m very cautious to maintain
        my speed not braking or accelerating as I’ve witnessed many motorcycles
        slip away and go down while doing so. Another thing in the article that
        I disagree with is the space cushion while riding near cages, I was
        taught early on to hog/own your lane, stay on the side close to the cage
        and when/if it does come over on you, you have more room to maneuver
        evasively and more time for the driver to notice their error and
        correct. If you give the cage all of the space and it does come over on
        you all of the way you may be off of the pavement (has happened to me few times but I have survived and continue to ride). You can “get skinny” and launch or brake hard to clear the danger also.

        I hope that you all keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down!

        • C.R. Mudgeon

          Also in Florida. Rain does not wash away the slick in the middle of the lane. Especially after only 15 minutes.

          • Frank Fernandez

            I meant that a good 15 minute soaking would make it safer and not completely clean and safe. You are correct, as long as you can see the difference in color it is slicker than anywhere else in the lane.

        • Agree with you on all points, Frank.

      • Evans Brasfield

        You are correct that I opted not to mention “lane dominance.” Instead, I decided to focus on communication—the message that you send with your lane position. I think that these are really two sides of the same coin, but perhaps I could have expanded on it a little to make it more clear.

        Thank you for your input.

      • Will Davis

        The media from this guy: disagrees with your assessment. It says there are indeed times when you may wish to take a central position. Perhaps this is simply a big difference between the US and the UK – I can fully respect differences per country. But there are plenty of excellent examples – which he goes into detail about – where riding in the ‘sump’ is a good option, the first and foremost being to equalize the danger on either side of you.

        Then again, our lanes are super narrow compared to yours.

        Anyhow, the whole ‘all the oil and grease’ thing may have been a big issue pre 1970s but decent modern cars very rarely leak oil. Over 2 years riding and I’ve yet to hit grease or see anything remotely slippery except for rain in the middle of the lane. On the contrary it can often provide the best traction as the surface there tends to be less worn and potholed.

        Riding in the sump is also part of our highway code. I fully appreciate you may disagree, but I’m going to be snarky and add that at the end of the day the UK’s motorcycle standards and quality of training are extremely stringent, getting a license is FAR, FAR harder than in the states.

        *edited* linked wrong video 😛 It’s the bottom video called Lesson/Advanced.

    • Evans Brasfield

      As a former motorcycle safety instructor, I think you may be taking a bit of an absolutist view about the use of the middle lane that I have seen in many students. Of course, if the middle of the lane appears to have compromised traction, you avoid it. You can also slice the middle third of the lane into sections and stay out of those portions that are greasy if need be. I think you’d be hard pressed to find more crowded urban roadways with less rain to clean them than those in Los Angeles, and the only place where traction appears to be regularly compromised in the center third of the lane (when dry) is at intersections. In those cases, moving to the right or left is prudent. It also gives you an escape route between the lanes should you hear skidding tires behind you.

      Riding motorcycles with other vehicles is an exercise in risk management with no absolute rules. For example, in a less crowded environment, riding to the side of a lane so that you can be seen in a car’s side and rear mirrors is pretty straightforward. In a more crowded environment, this position can leave a space between you and the car that is large enough to tempt another driver to pull in there. So, you vigilantly watch for that. Moving closer behind the car you are following to fill that gap means you need to move more to the edge of the lane if you want to remain visible in both mirrors. So, you need to remain aware that you have compromised your space cushion with the adjoining lane and be attentive to when a car may violate your lane. Both techniques are valid, yet both do contain an element of compromise. It is up to riders to decide which works best for them. Personally, this is one of the elements of motorcycling I find so intriguing. It keeps my mind active when riding.

      Thanks for posting your thoughts about this fascinating subject!

  • Richard Kline

    My biggest problem with 4 wheelers is the knuckle head on the phone using their left ear. Their arm and phone blocks their peripheral vision and they only glance in their left mirror before coming over.

    • BrowncoatVoter

      I left a boot print in a lady’s door for that. Probably not the nicest thing of me to do but I lived past that day.

      • Single Grampa

        Your an idiot

        • BrowncoatVoter

          You’re an idiot. You should learn proper English before you insult someone. Moron.

  • webheadwilks

    I always see these riders who ride right by the yellow lines in the middle of two-lane roads like they have some “right” to be there. But, one little mistake by a car passing in the other direction and they have no time to react. Keep it over to the right till the opposing traffic has passed, then move to the left a bit. But stay away from the middle of the road as traffic approaches.

    • kmrod

      this totally depends…i stay toward the middle when there are cars parked on the right and when there are side streets or driveways with poor views. i’d rather take my chances with a driver coming toward me because he’s (hopefully) paying attention toward his front where i am than hope that jack@ss in a parked car doesn’t whip the door open in front of me.

    • Frank Fernandez

      No disrespect intended, but you have it backwards IMHO. You have a better chance of being seen and/or escaping an oncoming passer on a two lane road if you dominate your lane by maintaining the center line side. Kmrod’s point is just as valid! Please chime in if anyone if you disagree and include your logic?

  • J Kevin

    You only need to remember one thing. When you get onto a MC, you are INVISABLE!

    • Frank Fernandez

      Great advice! You’ll fair well as a rider to remember that. I don’t know about it being the only thing to remember, but surely the most important.

  • David Wayne Edwards

    All good points, but I have a slightly different take. Maybe riding in Florida makes me want to keep the airflow up and avoid stopping for red lights, but I tend to avoid the right lane for the lane(s) away from the merging and slowing for turns. Likewise, I avoid the far left lane where left turns are an option unless an adequate deceleration zone is available. Riding in one of the center lanes is preferable, but only if vision is adequate and no crazies are nearby.

    Most cagers adjust their outside rear-view mirrors so that they can see the side of their vehicles. That is wrong! We all know what the side of our vehicles look like. What we should want to see is the vehicle in the adjacent lane. The mirrors should be adjusted farther outward to alleviate the blind spot between the widest viewpoint rearward to the periphery of forward vision. Turning one’s head to view the blind spot before changing lanes is only an option to some people and that is where we should NEVER ride! Riding on the opposite side of the adjacent lane to a vehicle in their blind spot will make you a wet spot regardless of how loud and noticeable you think your bike is.

    Approaching an area where an adjacent lane of vehicles is slowing is a reason to crowd that lane. It would not be a good idea to slow down because of the traffic behind you so the best approach is one of maximum visibility. Crowding the lane puts us in the rear-view mirror of everyone in that lane who are now anxious to invade our lane. Moving away from that lane (space cushion) is only inviting the invaders to jump out in front of us. I much prefer that they stay in their lane until after I pass.

    One thing that has not been mentioned is our greatest new threat of texting and dialing while driving. Although distracted driving has always been illegal, many states are now adopting laws that specify texting as an illegal activity for the driver. That alone won’t stop it. We all must be aware of the danger of being run over because the driver behind failed to see us as we slow or stop. For that reason, I rarely, if ever, slow or stop in the center of a lane. If the cager following me realizes that he’s about to hit me at the last second, maybe giving him a space to avoid contact will save my life (it already has once).

    In the same regard, stopping in the center of a lane is unacceptably risky too. Not only do you risk slipping in the oily residue of cages upon stopping or starting, you leave no easy escape path for distracted drivers and their sliding vehicles to avoid hitting you. A third advantage to stopping at the edge of a lane is that you can jump in between the stopped cars to escape being hit from behind. Whew!

    Our main objective to staying safe is to remain visible at all times. ALWAYS USE YOUR HIGH BEAM HEADLIGHT DURING DAYTIME RIDING! The high beam is rarely used at night because of oncoming traffic, so why not use it to make yourself as threatening as possible during the day? Modern low beams are designed to reduce glare for oncoming drivers so the light is barely visible at all during the daylight. Projection headlights are even less visible with their minuscule lenses. However, the high beams are designed to project a wide, bright light that floods the entire forward path. Some automakers simply use the high beams as daytime running lights and we should too.

    • Frank Fernandez

      Thanks for the daytime high beam tip! Makes total sense and I can’t believe that I hadn’t learned that one yet. I have always felt safer riding at night and I can appreciate the high beam increasing my profile and not being unseen by cross traffic on approach. That’s a lifesaving tip that this rider really appreciates. Thank you Mr. Edwards!