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Highway lane position question

  #1  
Old 06-13-2011, 02:13 PM
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Default Highway lane position question

Hey everyone. I just uhh... graduated(?) my MSF basic rider course this past weekend. To my dismay, there was no sort of highway riding safety section, or any exercises at any sort of speed (top speed was 20, and that was pushing it). I'm picking up my F3 in a couple days. I tend to do a lot of traveling (by car) via I-95 where the speed limit is 65-70mph. But the flow of traffic is typically north of 80mph. Now I've read that the ideal road position on the highway is in the right hand side, of the left hand lane. But I don't like going all that fast (i'd like to stick to the speed limit for a while). And if I do that in the left lane, I'll be getting in peoples way all the time. Either forcing people to go around me (if they see me), or having to move over and back the whole trip. And if I'm in the right hand lane, I'll always have people entering/exiting, and I've been told the center lane is absolutely off limits. Can someone throw me some pointers? Or maybe there's some literature on the subject? Thanks.

TL;DR- highway riding position and safety tips please.
 
  #2  
Old 06-13-2011, 02:36 PM
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It's all about awareness. Sure, the right lane is dangerous, but only if you're floating in someone's blind spot. Look at where heads are moving inside of the car ahead of you and check to see your positioning in relation to the other cars around you. There is no guaranteed safe spot on any part of any road, ideal... sure, but that doesn't mean some yahoo might not see you and decide to veer right into you.
 
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:06 PM
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agrees^. im always looking in others mirrors for their faces. if i can see them then they are supposed to see me. this is not always the case. so you have to be on your toes the whole time. ill usually stay either in front of the cars or behind them, so if they do move over to my lane they wont be right into me.
 
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:40 PM
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When I graduated the MSF, I had the same reservations as you.

I decided to just take the 45mph surface streets for a while, even though lots of people told me it was more dangerous. Eventually, when I found myself doing 50-55 on the surface streets I decided that 65-70 wasn't -that- much faster. Still, I waited till the highway was relatively empty (mid-day) and hopped on to ride around. Eventually, you get used to the speed.

I like the left lane, because there's not as many people merging into your lane. HOV is even better. The speed is quicker, but not by much, and there are less distractions. Of course, if the road dictates that you get into a different lane, get into it.
 
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:39 PM
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I generally, try to run in the left hand of the right lane (on a 2 lane road).
On a 3 lane highway, I occupy the left of the middle lane.

My reasoning .....this gives me the most road surface to use, laterally. I still have plenty of pavement in both directions. This gives me the most latitude for avoidance of any forward threat, as well as side threats. You're not trapped by either edge of the road.

It also, gives you easy lane position to hop into the passing lane without actually occupying it. In Oklahoma, they recently made it illegal to ride in the left lane except to pass (unless in heavy urban traffic).

With all of that said, even though that is my main position, I do some 'drift' to remind people that I'm entitled to the whole of the lane.

Ern
 
  #6  
Old 06-13-2011, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MadHattr059 View Post
In Oklahoma, they recently made it illegal to ride in the left lane except to pass...
Solution: Constantly pass
 
  #7  
Old 06-13-2011, 06:57 PM
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my MSF instructor said the use of your lane changes constantly according to traffic and conditions around you. don't stay in only one portion of the lane, but use whichever portion is required for whats around you
 
  #8  
Old 06-13-2011, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MadHattr059 View Post
On a 3 lane highway, I occupy the left of the middle lane.

My reasoning .....this gives me the most road surface to use, laterally. I still have plenty of pavement in both directions. This gives me the most latitude for avoidance of any forward threat, as well as side threats. You're not trapped by either edge of the road.

Ern
Thanks Ern, I think this'll be my "go-to" road positioning.

Originally Posted by AF Twin Turbo View Post
my MSF instructor said the use of your lane changes constantly according to traffic and conditions around you. don't stay in only one portion of the lane, but use whichever portion is required for whats around you
^^ I would have to agree with you there. But I wish the MSF would extrapolate that statement into like a 2 hour safety course.
 
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:07 PM
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I travel the left lane most times on the freeway. I tend to avoid the right lane as much as possible because of on / off ramps.

People have proven to me consistently they do not know how to enter a highway. Often either trying to jump into tight spots between cars, hoping / expecting the trail car will yield to them (despite the fact the traffic on the highway has right of way). Or they creep on, going insanely slow and creating a major hazard for traffic that is doing the speed limit. And off ramps have the danger of people suddenly deciding they need to exit RIGHT NOW. Despite the fact they're in the center or far lane. That's how my friend went down last year. The left lane eliminates danger from one direction, the left, as the only thing over there is the divider. And while people can be oblivious to almost every thing, the one thing they're all aware of (even truckers) is that unyielding wall.

One thing you have to remember is what your bike lacks in armor it makes up for in agility, speed and size. You can maneuver out of most dangers if you're paying attention and plan ahead. Remember the MSF's SEE: Search - Evaluate - Execute.

You should be scanning for potential problems before they become actual problems. You prolly have enough experience driving (yes, in a cage) to recognize when someone is potentially about to do something stupid (like drift into your lane).

When you see the potential situation, you should begin eliminating escape routes. I say "eliminating" because you should always have multiple escape routes in your mind, only needing to eliminate ones that don't apply.

And obviously when the "potential" becomes reality, execute one of your plans. Don't forget your bike is a lot smaller than a car and can get a lot closer to other vehicles, using them as armor.

Riding the highway is no different than riding the street. Just everyone is moving faster (hopefully you're not in a traffic jam). And they're all going the same direction (if someone isn't, you might be kinda ****ed )
 
  #10  
Old 06-14-2011, 04:19 AM
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Good call Kuroshio.
 

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