Apart from a racetrack or a rocky, off-camber clifftop trail, there may be no more demanding riding conditions than are found in a congested city. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and (ever more frequently now) electric bicycles surround you, traffic controls including lights and signs control you, and multiple lanes (including left and right turn lanes), plus alleys and driveways demand choices. It’s basically like a Super Mario game, with you in the middle.
We say it over and over again, but you really do need to pay attention while riding a motorcycle. Often, we as motorcyclists are on the constant lookout for cars trying to kill us on the highway or on our favorite twisty road, only to let our guard down once we start cruising down familiar side streets traveled several times before.
Hopefully, you’ll never experience the sinking feeling of having your motorcycle suddenly sputter and die while you’re in the left hand lane of a crowded highway traveling at 70 mph. Or maybe it’s that mushy wobble of a rear tire that is quickly going flat. Mechanical problems are never fun, but on the interstate, they can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper steps. So, what’s a rider to do?
If you’re a motorcyclist, odds are that you aren’t one of those car drivers that squats in the left lane plodding along exactly at the speed limit while everyone else stacks up behind you with their blood pressure nearing the bursting point. Then again, maybe you are one of those mouth-breathers who believes it is their God-given right to drive in whatever lane they want, no matter who it inconveniences. (If you are, we’ve got a special place in Hell carved out for you to spend all of eternity listening to the Barney Song turned up to 11.)
There are countless dangers when negotiating your way through traffic on a motorcycle, and the perils have only multiplied with the hazards of distracted driving. And when you’re on a motorcycle, there’s no such thing as a minor fender-bender type of accident. You’re the only one you can rely on to traveling safely. Here are five tips you should always keep in mind when riding through traffic.