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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why Do We Do That?

Well, it's March already and almost the end. Time does indeed fly...

I'm driving home from work early last week and pulled up to a traffic signal. I'm behind a beautiful chartruse Harley Davidson Softail Standard. The rider was female--either that or it was a very shapely man with long blonde hair flowing from the helmet! Really, it was a female.

The light turned green and traffic starting flowing through the intersection. As the traffic gets up to speed, I notice that the rider has chosen to ride in the middle of the lane. I think it's a bit odd, but the road has a few twists and turns, so I figure that's what the problem is. As we go into a straight away, the rider remains in the middle of the lane.

Riding in the center of the lane is not a good idea. Simply, the deposit of oil and vehicle fluids tends to accumulate in the center of the lane. This may or may not be much of an issue when the lanes are dry. However, if it rains......

With incoming rain, riders are even more at peril. Cars, pedistrians; the activity of riding becomes more complicated with rain. Visibility is limited due to water on the helmet screen or on eyewear and the roads get slick. The habits of riding become really important at this time because having to deal with the added factors of riding. One habit to not have is riding in the middle of the lane where all the vehicular fluids are deposited and the rain begins.

It could be very slick indeed.

I did get caught in the rain riding home from work on Friday. I did have a fleeting thought of the rider on the chartruse Harley and hoped that this was another day of safe riding for her.

Me, I'm riding in the left third of the lane.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine


Motorcycle Friend said...

Nice post and good advice, other issue is not enough breaking distance for rider behind. It always makes me nervous when I am riding behind someone who riding in the middle of a lane.

Canajun said...

Good post. I'd be with you in the left third.

Lane position seems to be one of the hardest things for new riders to really understand. They don't want to get too close to oncoming traffic, so they shy away from the left tire track. And they remember the bit about being visible, so they don't want to bury themselves over in the right tire track. So they compromise and ride right down the middle.

And then we further confuse them by telling them how slick the tire tracks can get with a bit of rain after a long dry spell.

No simple answers except to be aware of conditions at all times and position yourself accordingly.