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I do my best to only pass in the "passing" lane. If I do spend any time in the passing lane its because I'm passing everybody. Only time you see traffic behind me, its because there is a slow poke holding up everybody and can't get around him.

Merging traffic has to get up to speed and merge with traffic. The guy who merged into my van without looking proved that, and the trooper that wrote him the ticket and the judge that agreed with the trooper.
 

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Doberperson post 20 and Kubbie post 21 are correct,... traffic entering a highway via an on ramp do not have right of way over vehicles already on the highway. Traffic entering are supposed to time there speed and position to smoothly blend in with the existing flow of traffic. I.E. , not "barge in" too slow or too fast thereby interrupting the flow of traffic. Cars entering a highway are just one more thing to be aware when riding since all to many drivers feel that you must accommodate them as they enter a highway.
Unfortunately, in the U.S.A., our state governments, and court systems, (at least in N.Y., anyway) have largely failed in delivering truly meaningful penalties, and fines in response to traffic violations, (and criminal activity at all levels). For example, in all the years we have been operating automobiles, we have never been able to stop D.U.I. It continues to take its toll on the innocent while courts are too often too easy on offenders.
 

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Here in California we aren't obliged to stay in the right lane and motorcyclists can use the HOV (rideshare) lanes which are typically the left-most lanes (left of the fast lane). The HOV lane (or fast lane if there is no HOV lane) is where I typically ride as long as there's a barrier or median between me and the oncoming traffic.

Statistically, that's the safest place to ride for 2 reasons: 1> You don't have to worry about merging traffic and cars crossing your lane as they try to exit the hwy. 2> Cars can only move into your lane from one direction (the right).

Pete
 

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Here in California we aren't obliged to stay in the right lane and motorcyclists can use the HOV (rideshare) lanes which are typically the left-most lanes (left of the fast lane). The HOV lane (or fast lane if there is no HOV lane) is where I typically ride as long as there's a barrier or median between me and the oncoming traffic.

Statistically, that's the safest place to ride for 2 reasons: 1> You don't have to worry about merging traffic and cars crossing your lane as they try to exit the hwy. 2> Cars can only move into your lane from one direction (the right).

Pete
I wish Ontario would allow bikes in the HOV lanes. Makes a lot of sense.

I used to always ride the far left lane as I felt safer doing the passing, than being passed. My first time on serious multi lane highways after 30 years this summer, I decided to try the right (outside) lanes and not ride so fast. It didn't take long and a guy in a Honda Civic passed me using the the shoulder of the road. I am back in the left lane doing the passing again. Far left means you have to move over for fast traffic, but otherwise it is mostly to stay out of other drivers blind spots.
 

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It's tough staying out of blind spots when so many drivers apparently don't see motorcycles — even when they're looking right at them. They're looking for cars and the fact that there's a motorcycle there doesn't even register.

Pete
 

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One reminder for those of you in Europe, in the USA traffic laws are state-by-state. Now, the state I live in (Texas) is larger than most European countries so it's much like a national law.

Lane choice is complicated here by many factors. For example, we have "left turn" lanes, which typically is a two-way lane between the opposing direction lanes that is intended for left-turning drivers, so they are supposed to get out of the lane of traffic before they slow/stop to make a turn. Unfortunately many drivers seem to think this is also a target lane when they are turning left from a side street and no police enforce this blatant violation, so that means even in the left of a two-lane-per-side road you have to expect traffic merging from the left. And on certain divided highways if there are only two lanes in either direction then it is posted "left lane for passing only", which is never followed nor enforced. The major complication there are trucks that are speed governed and they think that in a 75mph zone if the truck in the right lane is going 64 but my truck can go 64.5 then that means I can get in the left lane and "pass", which of course takes 10 minutes, and blocks all traffic. When the lanes open up to 3 or more per side then this left lane rule changes to "no trucks left lane".

The reality is that on two-lane-per-side roads, near urban or suburban areas there is just not enough capacity for "left lane passing only" to make any sense. You need both lanes to handle the quantity of traffic without a passing restriction. And where the road is empty enough where the capacity is not needed, people driving slower in the left lane is not a meaningful impediment, you just pass them, on the right. Passing on both sides is completely legal and ordinary. You should get used to that if you are driving in TX.

I personally do not think it's my responsibility to make way for drivers who want to exceed the speed limit by double digits. If I am driving (in my Jeep, BTW... not on the bike) at 9mph over the speed limit with my cruise control on because I'm going 100 miles before I stop and happen to be in the left lane, then it's up to you to figure out how to pass me if you want to go 20mph over the speed limit. But if I'm going to stay at or below the speed limit then I'll keep right.

On my motorcycles I typically don't speed and I just try to find the safest spot to ride. On a windy road or one with no margin between opposing lanes I will stay right even if it means frequently dealing with cars turning on and off the road. On divided roads, usually I keep left because it's less interaction with cars. Whatever it takes for me to stay out of the way of cars and reduce my risk. Truth is I avoid routes that include divided highways or roads with >60mph speed limits because it's just not much fun riding an unfaired motorcycle in urban/suburban traffic with trucks and idiots driving at 70mph or more. I do this to reduce stress, not add to it. It's a lot more fun to take the alternate route down a two-lane country road with curves and hills and no other traffic even if it takes twice as long to get there. If I'm under a time constraint, I drive my Jeep. Everyone gets out of my way then, and the median itself is a viable lane of traffic.
 

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Good reply Mr72,
I have been riding now for 58 years (started when I was 9). On all roads, I generally like to ride where I have room to maneuver when necessary. On a two lane road (one lane in each direction), I prefer to be next to the center line. This does put me closer to on-coming traffic, but I believe they can see me better than if I were riding on the right half of the lane. The left have (this is in America and Canada) also keeps me further away from animals coming onto the road. You can also ride in the center part of the lane, but that is where all the oil drips and can be a little slippery.

When on an interstate/freeway, while in the country, I stay in the left half of the right lane except to pass. However, when I get to where the traffic is so bad there are 3 or more lanes in each direction, I move to the far left lane. This keeps me away from the 18 wheelers and all the merging traffic. I just don't like to play dodge ball with the four-wheelers.

One other thing; when, due to traffic congestion, I have to follow cars/trucks fairly close, I align with their wheels (either left or right depending on other variables). My thinking is if they see something in the road, they will position their vehicle to avoid running over it with their tires; this often means they will drive over debris with their tires on both side of it. Thus, if you are not aligning with their tires, there is an increased probability of hitting what they just avoided by centering over it.

And, lastly, I try my best to stay off of busy roads.
 

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It's tough staying out of blind spots when so many drivers apparently don't see motorcycles — even when they're looking right at them. They're looking for cars and the fact that there's a motorcycle there doesn't even register.
Last Sunday I helped a friend get some materials for a shed he's building. He has the truck so he drove. The studs at the local lumber yard looked terrible so we went to one further away which involved a 4-mile drive on a freeway. On the way back we had a guy on a Ducati riding beside us and my friend turned on his signal and started moving into his lane. I warned him that there was a bike there and his reply was "He'll get out of the way."

I wouldn't exactly say we're enemies now, but our relationship is strained over what I yelled at him. What makes this especially puzzling is he knows I ride, but he showed total disregard for that rider anyway. I had no idea he was that kind of guy.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is things like this apparently aren't always innocent mistakes.

Pete
 

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In two, three or even four lane motorways/highways, do you have a preferred lane to ride in? I know in Europe you are supposed to stay on the outside lane and use the others for overtaking as traffic allows, always returning to the outside. Seems that any lane is game on US highways, so overtaking occurs on both side if you are in the middle lane of a three lane highway. Somewhat disconcerting if you are used to overtaking vehicles passing on one side only. Universally I believe the law "encourages" staying on the outside lane (furthest lane from traffic coming in the other direction). Makes sense to me, but interrupted by merging traffic (that has priority in the US).

Share what's your rationale for lane selection?
Where I live I stay in the left lane the drivers around me do something the cops call a "Puertorican lane change" and when I lived in Texas they called it a "Texas Exit", both are when the drivers are in the far left lane and then at the last minute come across all lanes to make an exit so if you aren't in the left lane some idiot could come out of nowhere an run you down, and also in my state I think they are setting a record for the most hit and runs and don't get me started with all the wrong way accidents we have been having. I use the middle lane and the break down lane as my escape and I always go faster than the flow of traffic to keep me away from the wolf packs and I always seem to find clear lanes when I do that.
 

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I ride in the lane that is the most open... the one with the least amount of traffic and the one in which I have the best view down the road. I never ride the exact same speed as surrounding traffic, choosing instead to move 5 to 7 mph faster than traffic around me. That keeps me constantly moving in relation to all the cars and easier to see. I prefer passing on the left, as is legal, but I will pass on the right if that will quickly get me out of a traffic pod and get me clear of traffic.

My biggest rule is NOT to ride in a pod, or cluster, of traffic. If they aren't near you... they can't hit you.
 

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When on roads like California's Freeways, I ride my motorcycle mostly in the right lane. Except for on ramps there's no traffic on the right. And in case of an emergency, there is usually an 'escape' shoulder if needed.
 

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(Here in Italy)
I generally stick to the outside lane, it is the most free from traffic as most cars drive on the inner, sometimes fast and other times slow.
If I have no traffic ahead I just ride along, then again I am a slow rider at 70/80mph, don't really have any issues.
Before junctions I switch to the inside to allow eventual inward traffic and then move back to the right.
I also tend to keep a good safety distance and overtake trucks when their side mirrors are about to go out of sight.



...
BUBI 0_0

www.lamiatriumph.it
 

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When in rural area with fewer on-ramps and two lanes going each direction, I ride on the left side of the right lane. I do move over to the left lane (when possible) to allow entering traffic to merger; however, the entering traffic does not have the right of way; they must yield to traffic already on the multiple lane highway. When in congested traffic with more than two lanes in each direction, I ride near the center and/or the left side of the far left lane. This allows me to have traffic on only one side and maneuverability in the lane and left shoulder as necessary. I avoid riding in the center lane, as there is traffic on both sides and motorcycles are difficult to see in all that traffic. The best solution (when possible) is to ride on two lane roads. You still have to watch out for on-coming traffic entering your lane, animals running onto the road, vehicles pulling out in front of you or driving too close to your rear (I then spit in the air and it hits their windshield), but you don't have to play with high speed semi traffic.
 

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This might sound odd to people in other places, but I usually run in the fast lane (#1 lane). Some of this has to do with the law here in California. The law here states that all trucks (over 3 axle, I think) must stay in the right two lanes (the two lanes left of the right hand fog line) unless an additional lane is specifically marked OK for trucks. That makes those right two lanes slower, and more congested than the others. There is also no law here stating the left lane is only for passing. I do feel that if I am in the fast lane I have the obligation to keep my speed up so as not to impede the flow of traffic. If everyone seems to want to run faster than I want to, I move over to the right one lane. But I do not like to run with the trucks. They are a danger to avoid and you cannot see around them. Of course you have the dumb trucker now and again that insists on running or passing out of thier designated two lanes. I LOVE IT when I see them get ticketed for that! Usually some out of state "hillbilly" trucker. The Teamsters, and longhaul drivers usually know better. ...J.D.
 

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I ride in Colorado. Went thru Lyons up to Nederland and back to Ward then down left hand canyon today. I have an SE but did this ride with my wife on a hog.

My biggest hazard is fruitcakes in subarus that want to cross the double yellow line to give 6 feet of space to a bicyclist in their lane and in the process crossting into my (going up or down) lane thus squeezing me at the worst possible moment into the furthest right edge of the road. So I never let this be a threat and I just ride accordingly although it did take me a few rides to learn what to expect.

Overall I drive the lane that is either strategically or tactically to my advantage. I use my performance advantage to position myself in the least congested space when I can. I don't care if you catch up to me. I only care it I am able to concentrate on the least number of variables when I can.

The two biggest reasons bikes crash is unable to negotiate the corner and a cage turning in front of you.

So I work real hard on awareness at the points where I am helpless and most vulnerable.

On our little ride today, about 110 miles, we had two cars cross in front of us and one car cut us off completely. In each instance I was so far under the available stopping capability that it was not a big deal.

So bottom line is this, we ride machines that out perform nearly all cages. So while we can use our advantage to be safe we can also eliminate our advantage by "taking away the time available to a normal driver" simply because we can haul ass.

Work the combination that benefits you best.
 

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I ussualy pick the wrong one.
Somebody turning left without bothering to signal or parking.
Particularly in Vancouver, pretty sure most drivers are on phones, drugs, both or bribed someone to get a license.
I find them much more courteous when I am on my bike. Still a few air heads. Most are more courteous to my bike than my car.

On the highway depends.
Rush hour near Vancouver whichever one I think is moving best, I mostly bet it wrong. I like my bike can use the HOV. So I do.

Not so many three lane highways. Between Vancouver and Hope it doesn’t seam to matter much but I try and stick to the right lane when traffic permits. Nearer the city the right lane turns into an exit lane far to often.

Most of the highways are two lane with passing lanes every so often. I stick to the right unless I am passing the posted signs tell you to.

Main thing I find is despite riding between 10 and 20 k above the posted limit. I am slower than most. Doing 110 of 120 in the pissing rain getting passed by semis, logging trucks, 5th wheels even one one of those little f ing trendy fiats.
You want to pass, I pull over let you pass.

I will pass them again on the next hill.
 

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I stay in the non passing lane , unless I'm passing, then I get into the passing lane and make the pass, then I get back into the non passing lane.

  • The rules/laws must have changed since I got my license 36 years ago because I find myself having to pass (in the non passing lane) an awful lot of idi*** that are driving, (in many cases, under the speed limit) in the passing lane. :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Law hasn't changed, at least in Michigan. They just don't enforce it. Also there are exit and entry ramps on both sides of two, three, and more lane highways, necessitating traveling in the "overtaking" lanes. Seems like we have lost our way with lane discipline, and significantly compromised driving safety at the same time. Commuting into Detroit, is becoming more of an adrenaline rush than ever.....just praying the gods stay with me!
 

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I don't think it so much that we are losing our "lane discipline", if such a thing even has any value in today's driving world... I mean, to me "lane discipline" is stay in your lane unless you have a legitimate reason to leave it. But WRT normal driving in the so-called "passing lane", well the problem around here is just that there's simply not enough road capacity to reserve a lane for "passing". Sign or not, people are going to drive in that left lane because the road would be way more congested if they didn't. And it's safer if it's not congested. It's also safer if people don't exceed the speed limit. The "slow people in the 'passing lane'" issue is only annoying for those who want to speed. Don't pretend it's about safety, it's not.
 
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