Lane Placement - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Lane Placement

Most would agree that when riding on a four laner one's best bet is to ride in the left tire track of the right lane or right tire track of the left lane while watching the mirrors for overtaking traffic and moving over accordingly. The left tire track also works well for two lane rural roads with light traffic. However, when oncoming traffic is heavy on a two laner it might be wise to ride in the right tire track because you are more visible to approaching traffic that might want to pass the vehicle in front of them. It also puts you closer to your 'bail-out' area on the shoulder should, heaven forbid, the need to use it arise.

Being a biker, I've heard some grumbling from our 4 wheeled friends that bikes they meet who are riding too close to the center line may cause them to have to take the shoulder when meeting them, especially on curves.

I'm not posting this as a matter of doctrine, just food for thought.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 11:15 PM
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Well I can tell you where not to place ur big ape hanging harley on a two lane parkway with your extremely load pipes... Riding up the poor excuse for a breakdown lane with grooved pavement sitting in my blindspot. Heard his pipes so did what all the rest were doing.. Inching over to right to let him lane split (although illegal here) but no he was not coming up the left. His pipes made me aware of him but caused me to almost move into him on the right. I get traffic is heavy but IMO it was too narrow to ride safely and sure enough 3 miles up. Some guy moved to the right when he heard the pipes and hit him. Neither were hurt but it was ridiculously easy to call that one. Oh and now more traffic delay. Cranky....


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 05:28 AM
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Not an official safety expert here but ride where the oncoming traffic can see you best. If you can't see them they can't see you. Too many times I see oncoming bikes all the way to the right of the oncoming lane, tailgating to boot, behind an SUV and they are essentially invisible. If I am approaching an oncoming vehicle waiting to make a left across my lane I move to the right side of the lane so if or when they start to turn I have quicker escape route to the shoulder if needed. Then return back to the left.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 07:32 AM
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I just try to be visible. People detect motion so, I vary my speed, move around in my lane, change lanes, move through traffic. Stretch my arms, shake out my throttle hand. I will move into the right side of my lane next to trucks to my right so he can see me (if you can see his mirrors, he can see you).

What I try and avoid at all costs is just being there, cruising along at the same speed as everyone else. That's how we forget there is someone right next to us. We, riders, have the advantage of being car drivers so we know the things they do that are dangerous to bikes and we have the advantage of being riders who know what the risks are and how a little lane incursion that is just an 'oops' for cars can be fatal for us, real quick.

I wanna be visible.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 01:32 PM
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In on coming traffic a bike on the far right can appear to not be on the road, rather the shoulder.
Also staying close to the shoulder invites dangerous situations like, sand or other obstetrical that can hinder traction. Animals, domestic and wild can spring up out of bushes on the side of the road leaving you with little to no reaction time.
Also riding on the right leaves you only one direction to dodge things in the road.
Knowing all of this my wife still feels more comfortable taking the right lane. I usually ride wing to the left a bike length or two behind her if not right beside her. This gives the appearance to on coming traffic of a full sized vehicle.
Wife recently experienced the wild animal jumping from the side of the road in front of her, a 150 full grown deer. lucky we were on the mountain road to or house that you can't go more than 35 mph. She was gong about 25 mph and had absolutely no time to react. I watched the deer spin hoofs trying to get traction to get going. It made it by only inches.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Good discussion gentlemen, and a lot of truth from varying points of view. To summarize what's been said thus far:
1. Position yourself to optimize your field of view.
2. Position yourself to make yourself as visible as possible to others.
3. Leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle that you're following.
4. Watch your mirrors to prevent surprises from behind.
5. Ride mindfully, always analyzing the situation in which you find yourself.
6. Try to anticipate the errors and lack of alertness of others.
7. Positioning can't be dictated by a simple statement. It will be dictated by momentary conditions that are constantly changing. Don't be afraid to use your whole lane as momentary conditions warrant to keep yourself as safe as possible.
Any other suggestions?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 09:25 PM
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Number 7 in particular!


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 09:47 PM
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I agree with all of the above.

If I'm riding on a 2-lane then I will usually ride in the left track towards the center of the road mainly because I want room in case a deer or a dog (or a bear or a kid or...) comes out of the bushes along the side. The right track is more likely to have pot holes in it and is more likely to have sand or gravel especially on curves to the right where cars might have had a tire off the pavement to kick debris out into the road. And in town you've got to worry about cars pulling out of parking spaces or drivers of parallel-parked cars opening their door in front of you.

Having said that, it is stupid to hug the center line on a blind curve because you never know when a car is going to be coming from the opposite direction.

Also about curves, the painted lines can be slippery and the reflectors can really be a problem if you hit one while leaning through a curve. So move within the lane all you want but be careful not to push the limits too far.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 09:49 AM
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On two lanes you will find me I. The left lane usually riding the right tire. If there are several turns and cross streets I stay more in the left trite so oncoming can see me. I rarely stay in the rich lane except when I know I need to turn right. Staying visible is key and yes I'm the annoying guy who will rev from time to time sitting at a stop light as well. Nothing crazy just a light throttle pull to get the cell phone army aware that I'm still there before the green.

I never try to lane split as road rage is comin here in Texas and I don feel like dealing with a pissed off soccer dad. On one lane roads I'm always moving between the left and the right tire tracks so that I'm visible to the cars on botht the on coming lane and the cars pulling into the lane. I also leave a big and I mean big enough hole between me and the car in front that could fit a semi with a trailer. If someone gets pissy I just apply brakes move to the right and let them pass to usually ride the ass of the person I was following and jus get my space back again... Pretty much the 4 second rule from MSF class is key in the city however such as downtown Dallas or Fort Worth I have to be a lot more aggressive that I like and situational awareness plays a huge role on that one. Mirrors head and bike need to be on top of everything. Hell even pedestrians will step out in front of you as they are to busy walking and texting.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 11:42 AM
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I try to stay out of the middle of the lane because that is where most of the dirt and debris is

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