Summer Motorcycle Travel Tips

I often see three dangerous patterns when cars interact with a long line of bikes. One scenario is when a car driver wants to get onto a four-lane highway. Though the driver should wait until the bikes have passed, he rarely does. What usually happens is the driver tries to blend into a small gap in the bikes, which, most times, is the two-second safety gap the bike riders are leaving for themselves. And though this is annoying for bike riders, it’s in our best interest to make a large opening in our line so the car can enter safely. And since the driver doesn’t want to be in the middle of a pack of bikes any more than we want him there, the car will move into the next lane as soon as possible. The same goes for when a car wants to get off at an exit.

Another dangerous scenario occurs when a long line of bikes is traveling on a curvy two-lane back road. Though we’re cruising along at a nice pace and enjoying the scenery, cars usually want to go faster and pass us. However, since the road is curvy, the driver doesn’t always have a good place to do this. As riders, we figure he’s just going to have to wait, but that’s not the way some drivers see it. To him, we’re pains in the ass that are going too slow and blocking him. After waiting for awhile, the driver may make a dangerous move to get around us. Sure, he’s in the wrong, but if another car does come around the curve towards us before he has a chance to pass the entire line, do you think he’s going to hit the other car head-on? No way! He’s going to move into the line of bikes whether there’s room for him or not. The smarter way is to open up a large space for the cars to enter our ranks every few bikes or so. This way, cars can pass us easily and go away, leaving us to safely enjoy our cruise through the countryside.

I sometimes see bike riders clogging the passing lane on the highway by going the speed limit or slower. This also makes car drivers nuts and rightly so. The far left lane is the passing lane, and it’s just as aggravating for others as it is for you when you’re the one behind the guy in the left lane going 55.

I know I’m going to get a flood of mail telling me how I’m wrong, how car drivers have to do this or that, how you don’t care what the car drivers think, etc. Fine, send them in. I don’t expect to change everyone’s mind; I just hope to share some road wisdom with those who want to make their ride safer and more enjoyable.

See you on the road.

Chris Maida
Editor

Comments

  1. Chris – I do agree what you are saying 100%. I’m from Ohio, My question is how not to get so upset with stupid? We all do! Then we lose site and stop paying attention until we come back to our senses.
    I ride an ultra classic with many lights and brake lights and stupid still want to ride on our
    Butts and cut us off. We are like 18 wheelers! I typically leave as much room as possible at stop lights, highways, city ect.. With people on the phones today and texting Is what needs to be controlled. We all try very hard to remove our selfs from stupid.
    Just a couple of my comments. All please ride safe we enjoy our bikes
    and, we all want to return home unharmed, Clean our bikes and head out again.
    Thank you for allowing me to post my comments
    Steve

  2. Bart Coppes says:

    HEY Chris,MY name is Bart Coppes and i live in Homosassa,fl..Just read your artical in septembers issue and i agree with every word in it 155%,it is a big problem here in fl, with all the winter snow Birds and alot of the year round people, every time i ride there always some person in a four wheeler driving like it`s the end of the world either getting right up behind me or passing at 80 miles and hours and flipping me off,it`s also another reason why I ride alone because every group of bike riders all drive way to close for my comfort,I ride yr round and my HD is my only Mode of transportation when i explan about getting to close there always some guy saying you don`t know how to ride or maybe i should retire my self and sell my bike these people all drive bike and own cars or pick up trks, and for get what it`s about and the words live to ride and ride to live really mean anyway my thanks for a great job I look forward to reading many more of them and also wish there was away to get everyone that rides and drive cars to be on the same page thanks again Bart Coppes……bartoncoppes@yahoo.com

  3. Melinda F says:

    Thanks, Chris, for stating the obvious. Cagers don’t always do what they should around bikes so it’s up to us to be smarter!

  4. This was a good read and it’s not always bad to try and see it from a cager’s view. As wrong as some cager’s are, by doing this we are actually making it safer for us to ride and come home safely to our friends and family. If they are not going to pay attention we need to so we can save our asses if something goes wrong. Ride safe everyone.

  5. I just wanted to say its not worth not letting a car through since they are a few thousand lbs. More than us

  6. As you stated:

    “I sometimes see bike riders clogging the passing lane on the highway by going the speed limit or slower. This also makes car drivers nuts and rightly so. The far left lane is the passing lane, and it’s just as aggravating for others as it is for you when you’re the one behind the guy in the left lane going 55.”

    I couldn’t agree with this more. I typically see this more often with cars than bikes but its still annoying. Here in Canada we even have signs in some places stating “Slower Traffic Keep Right” but no one ever listens to it. I’m glad someone else finally mentioned this, I thought I was the only bugged by it.

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