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Safety Tip from Throttle - Lane positioning

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Where should you ride on the road? Left, center, or right? The right answer is, it depends. Typically, you should stick to either the left side or right side (the tire tracks of cars). Reason: Dual track vehicles push debris away from their tracks leaving the tire tracks more clean than the middle, shoulder and center line of the road.

When following larger vehicles (large SUVs, tractor-trailers, buses, etc) make sure you leave an additional “safety zone” between you and the vehicle. The extra buffer makes up for not being able to see in front of the vehicle and being able to see trouble coming.

What about when riding in the early morning or late evening in areas where deer might be present. In this scenario, you would want to pick the center most lane and/or track to give you the biggest safety cushion away from the edge of the road.

How about when you’re riding down a four lane road (2 lanes in both directions) in the right lane when the traffic in the left lane comes to a stop but your lane is still cruising along? It’s certainly possible that someone in the left lane may become impatient and try to jump in the right lane. If this happens directly infront of you, bad things could happen. To protect yourself, decrease your speed, cover your brakes, and increase your cushion between you and the danger (slide to the right track).

How about riding down a road with cars parked on the right hand side? A door could fly open, a car could pull out into traffic or even pull out and do an immediate U-turn, or a person could step out in front of you. Again, you would want to slow down, cover your brakes, and move to the left side of the lane continually scanning for hints of a threat. Hints would be:

  • a person in the drivers seat
  • brake lights
  • wheels turned to the left
  • condensation from tail pipe emissions (indicting the vehicle is on)
  • turn signals

Consider these two general guidelines when deciding if you should ride in the right or left track when riding solo. Pick the track that:

  • makes you the most visible to traffic around you and to those sitting at intersections you are approaching AND
  • provides you the largest safety cushion between you and the potential danger. The greater the distance, the greater the time you have to react.

For questions, comments, or suggestions on safety tips please contact Rob 'Throttle' Capozzi.

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