Kawasaki Concours Forum

Riding => Rides and Stories => Topic started by: Jaxter on June 07, 2011, 09:00:48 pm

Title: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Jaxter on June 07, 2011, 09:00:48 pm
As I was riding over Stevens Pass last week-end I noticed that sometimes I was on the RH side of my lane and other times I was on the LH side of my lane...so I started to wonder why I was choosing one side or the other. Upon some not so deep pondering, I came up with some possible explainations. Obviously I don't ride in the center because that is where all of the cagers drop their slick fluids. When a big semi truck is approaching I move to the right. When I am the last person in a line of traffic I move to the left so oncoming traffic can see me earlier. Most obvious is looking for objects in the road or rough roads. Do any of you have lane preferences...and why?
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: YoDoc on June 07, 2011, 10:18:35 pm
I base in the center, and bob and weave as needed.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Son of Pappy on June 07, 2011, 11:01:23 pm
See and be seen.  I have no certain spot or preferance.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Two Skies on June 07, 2011, 11:46:47 pm
It depends.  I spend a lot of time in the right side of the lane on the freeway, so that drivers can see me more easily in their left mirror (and hopefully not lane change into me).  I move to the left if I am concerned that the driver in the left lane may not see me, in the hopes that he'll see me in his center/rh mirror.  And in general, I don't stay next to any vehicles for extended periods of time if I can help it.

I'm not a big fan of riding in the center.  Not only does oil, etc. accumulate there, but also if the car in front of you straddles some debris, it will be directly in your riding path, with little time to react.  So I tend to stay in line with the left or right wheels of the vehicle in front of me, with my logic being that whatever their tires hit will go flying, probably to the left or right, with me swerving the opposite way.

When in the far right lane on the freeway, I tend to hang out in the left side of the lane so that 1) the cars in the left lanes can see me more easily and 2)I have more pavement to work with should I have to swerve around something in my lane.

On divided, two way roads, I tend to travel just right of the centerline, so that I have more asphalt to work with when swerving to the left or right.  And moving over to the middle or right side of my lane when passing approaching cars of course.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: YoDoc on June 07, 2011, 11:54:06 pm
Most pavement has plenty of traction on the middle "slick" part of the lane. Granted, even I avoid that right after it starts raining. I base in the middle because then I can swerve left OR right. It gives me maximum room to maneuver, and here in Dallas, it also tends to prevent cagers from "sharing" your lane. I hate these fu***ng drivers. If you don't drive like an as**ole, you WILL get creamed. Case in point, I was riding today, and the four lane surface street I was on was under construction. They had the barrels out and the MERGE LEFT signs and everything. I was keeping pace with traffic, with about 50 feet in front of me to the next car, at about 35-40 mph. Keep in mind that the RIGHT lane is the one going away, and I'm in the LEFT lane already. A car zoomed up behind me, slammed on it's brakes, then went around me to the left... yes, in the lane I was in. I just happened to be riding in the right portion to avoid some poor repairs on the left/center portions of the lane. Riding a bike here is dangerous. I'm surprised more bikers aren't dead every day.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Assassin 11B3P on June 08, 2011, 12:02:11 am
i like going all over the place, mostly randomly, no regard to other cars!
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: kathybrj on June 08, 2011, 04:54:20 am
I ride like I was taught in my MSF class long, long ago......LH in the lane. When Blaise is riding with me and in front, I ride RH in the lane. But agree with Pappy- see and be seen.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Bob on June 08, 2011, 06:31:25 am
 I ride in the left of the lane. IMO, it gives me better visibility to on coming traffic as well as they're seeing me. I feel it also gives me more room to maneuver if someone starts to pull in out in front of you from the right.  Of course this is just my opinion and preference.
 Like Kathy, I ride in the right lane when in groups and that's where the stagger in line allows me to slot in. It's not my preferred place to be. But in groups it is IMO, the safest place to be in the group.
 Then when in back road play time, it could be anywhere in the lane that my line is going to require me to be! At that will be all over the lane!!! 8)
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: JetJock on June 08, 2011, 11:27:32 am
LH for me most of the time when in traffic. But I move around a LOT as a big believer in being seen. I don't run alongside any car/truck in their blind spots for any longer than I can avoid. One of the joys of the Connie is that the loud handle makes passing verrrryyyy easy and enjoyable! 8)
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Jeremy Mitchell on June 08, 2011, 11:38:19 am
Commuting I am almost always in the LH portion of my lane, otherwise I am on whatever side gives me the best chance to hit the apex at my given speed.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: VirginiaJim on June 08, 2011, 02:29:55 pm
I do most of the above and change position depending on the circumstances.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Pfloydgad on June 08, 2011, 04:21:46 pm
Proximity Location.
5 potential riding positions. I practice my position this way. Left tire line, inside lft. tire line, middle, rt tire line and inside rt tire line. I will juse the outside rt tire line at times, but not very often.
I ride in the left tire line or just to the inside of that tire line. When oncoming traffic has a clear view of me, to avoid potential fixation, I then shift my position to the rt tire line and lock in to that position till the oncoming vehicle passes. I then move to the original ltf tire line and start the process over again.
I have noticed that oncoming vehicles will actually move a little toward their shoulder when they see me moving also, I would guess better then 50% do shift a little.
I have done this for a very long time, only stopped by the man, actually a woman once. But after explaining my tecnique, she put it into her gray matter and thanked me for new knowledge.
I can also recommend this to help you stay ingaged in your ride, placement and surroundings. Any little bit helps, and making sure the oncoming car knows you are rolling toward them, they will hopefully be as cautious as you.
Ride safe all.
Greg
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: YoDoc on June 08, 2011, 04:41:48 pm
I ride like I was taught in my MSF class long, long ago......LH in the lane. When Blaise is riding with me and in front, I ride RH in the lane. But agree with Pappy- see and be seen.

That's interesting. In my MSF class, I was taught to ride in the center...
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Tom J. on June 08, 2011, 05:11:14 pm
I've been riding for about 30 years.  This is a very dynamic question and there are, IMHO, way too many variables to accurately and clearly answer.  I will say that almost everything plays into where I am positioned in my lane.  Traffic conditions, road conditions as well as number of lanes, divided or not, speed, lighting conditions, weather conditions (especially if it's a heavy crosswind), certainly if I'm riding with a group makes a huge difference, etc...
I'm not always in the right spot, but this question makes me think of all the things that play into my almost unconscious decisions of what part of the lane I'm riding in.
NEVER do I stay in the middle of a lane for any length of time. 
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Summit670 on June 08, 2011, 06:45:57 pm
Agree, depends upon too many factors.

My goal is to see and be seen, not get sandwiched front/back so watching car behind me in slow-down situations and at least position myself so I can throttle out, possibly.  To stay out of blind spots.  Not get caught in the middle too close behind someone in case they straddle some debris like 2x4, 4x4, bricks, etc.
Always try and be able to see ahead of who is in front and anticipate braking of more than just the car ahead of you.

Anticipate semi's kicking up debris, losing tire tread, creating windshear.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: blue14 on June 08, 2011, 07:40:35 pm
Mostly left hand but depends on situation.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: manowarwi on June 08, 2011, 08:02:51 pm
That's interesting. In my MSF class, I was taught to ride in the center...

In WI we were told to stay in the left part of the lane unless in a group, then stagger left / right, but never in the middle.  Different DOTs have different recommendations I guess.

I prefer the left part of the lane anyways - especially on county roads / highways.  Some of the roads I ride have the outer white line and then only an inch or two of asphalt before you are in gravel.  Not much room for error and a lot of gravel gets kicked up.  I've also noticed around turns on such roads I see a lot of gravel in the middle but not on the left or right sides because the cars tend to clear it out. 
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: YoDoc on June 08, 2011, 08:57:16 pm
One of the reasons we were taught to "base" in the center was for corners. Out in NC, where I took the class, the MSF guy said that a lot of riders who got in fatal accidents were from riding too far left, leaning left in a left curve. Even though the MC is in the correct lane, the riders head was not, and that was fatal. So, whether or not it was policy or not, I don't know. (The guy was pretty relaxed about everything, it wouldn't surprise me if he went a bit off track...)
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: usttobee50 on June 08, 2011, 09:19:39 pm
Well....I agree with most of what I have read, however when approaching a hill on two lane roads I stay to the right. Too many distracted drivers talking on cells and TEXTING...Agggggggggg. Hate Em!!!. Have seen many cars on or over the center line on hills....You need all the right lane you can get in these situations. Remember..... you do not know what is on the other side of that hill, Yet... 8) 8)
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: kathybrj on June 09, 2011, 04:54:27 am
One of the reasons we were taught to "base" in the center was for corners. Out in NC, where I took the class, the MSF guy said that a lot of riders who got in fatal accidents were from riding too far left, leaning left in a left curve. Even though the MC is in the correct lane, the riders head was not, and that was fatal. So, whether or not it was policy or not, I don't know. (The guy was pretty relaxed about everything, it wouldn't surprise me if he went a bit off track...)

I was taught that when approaching corners to move to the opposite side of the lane. So when taking a left I move right and when taking a right curve I will move left, although not as important because of the potential of leaning over the line on a left curve and being too far left.

My instructors also warned us that the middle of the lane can potentially be very hazardous with spills from cagers. Here in upstate NY riding in the RH side of the lane can be a challenge because the roads are usually patched or tarred there. I do move to the right when approaching hills as well when I ride alone.

Slabbed it to MA a couple of weekends ago and did about 3 hours in the RH side of the lane with Blaise in front and to the left. Saw LOTS of bikes hugging the RH white line or sitting in the middle. I guess people learn differently from place to place.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Bob on June 09, 2011, 05:10:26 am
I normally move back and forth to the opposite side for making turns into roads or when playing at speed. IMO, it gives you better visability through the turn and well as less of a lean angle (not such a tight turn), or in otherwords a better line. People all have their own reasons for where they ride. The only one I do avoid is just riding in the middle of the lane. Kathy again has already explained this, and I think that way also. I guess I agree with Kathy a lot in the thread!


I was taught that when approaching corners to move to the opposite side of the lane. So when taking a left I move right and when taking a right curve I will move left, although not as important because of the potential of leaning over the line on a left curve and being too far left.

My instructors also warned us that the middle of the lane can potentially be very hazardous with spills from cagers. Here in upstate NY riding in the RH side of the lane can be a challenge because the roads are usually patched or tarred there. I do move to the right when approaching hills as well when I ride alone.

Slabbed it to MA a couple of weekends ago and did about 3 hours in the RH side of the lane with Blaise in front and to the left. Saw LOTS of bikes hugging the RH white line or sitting in the middle. I guess people learn differently from place to place.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: DHarvey on June 09, 2011, 06:09:42 am
My default position is LH side..primarily to aid cagers in front seeing me in their side view mirror. As for those who stay too far left in a left curve, their problem is what Kathy points out.. that's not where you should be. You 'set up' in the RH side for a left curve (and visa versa) and then arch your way to the inside as you negotiate the curve..for those familiar with track riding, you want your 'entry' outside so that you can 'drive' through the exit on the inside of the curve.. it's the fastest way through. However, that's track but I try to utilize similar concepts on the public roads. Interesting post.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: koval68 on June 09, 2011, 07:14:36 pm
I never ride in the center! I stay in the left tire tracks of the highway lanes, except for the passing lane (right tire tracks). When leading a group in a staggered formation, in the passing lane I will take the left tire tracks. This way, every rider will remain in the same tire tracks as before.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: kathybrj on June 10, 2011, 05:17:51 am
I guess I agree with Kathy a lot in the thread!

I knew you were a smart man Bob!
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Tactical_Mik on June 10, 2011, 05:35:28 am
Somewhere in between the yellow and white lines.  Just depends on the situation.
Title: Re: Which side of your lane do you ride in
Post by: Jaxter on June 10, 2011, 11:11:13 pm
This has been very informative to me & I believe I have learned a lot from all of your experience...Thanks for all of the replys