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Thread: Riding technique question:

  1. #1
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    Question Riding technique question:

    OK, here is the situation...
    From the "on ramp" you have just entered the right lane of a 3 lane freeway. There is a car about 50 feet in front and one on your "6" about 60 feet behind you who is impatient and creeping up.
    On your rear left quarter is the first of several semi's all in the same line in the center lane. The semi's are going about 5mph faster than you. In my opinion, the semi's are too close to each other. You and the car in front of you are holding the same speed at about 58mph.

    Do you:
    A.) Try to find space in between the trucks in order to get into the far left lane?
    B.) Continue in right lane until the trucks go by along with the impatient cager behind you-then move to the left lane?
    C.) Enter from the ON ramp very slowly and wait for the truck convoy to pass?
    D.) Something else?

    TIA,
    Ultracyclist
    "What is beautiful is simple, and what is simple always works"....Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47.
    Currently bikeless, but looking hard! "Center yourself in the vertizontal. Ride a motorcycle...namaste' "

  2. #2
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Many variables, and a good example of trusting your life to the other drivers.

    Flash your brake light a couple of times to wake up the drone behind you. Add a "left palm down" wave.

    ALWAYS let the big trucks go by (how much of a hurry are you in?), unless they flash (2x) a high beam at you to indicate a "go ahead". They can be our friends (most are professional drivers, many also ride, and they've alerted me to speed traps ahead quite a few times), but they are big, heavy, and take a long time to change position or slow down.

    If I need to force my way into a lane, I add a hard snappy left or right forefinger pointing to where I am going, in addition to - and after starting - my amber turn signal.

    The key is matching speeds to the merge, without endangering yourself or anybody else, and without pissing them off. Safety is priority number one, courteous is number two, put them together and you come up with a better ride.

  3. #3
    Motorradfahrer
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    You have one escape to the shoulder on the right. If you try to squeeze between the trucks the impatient cage might close in on the car in the right lane and depending on traffic in the left might leave you no escape. The impatient cage knows the right lane is the slow lane and will try themselves to squeeze left. You trying to squeeze there ahead of the cager might just put them closer on you tail. Impatient people will switch lanes and generally to the left. I would wait for the trucks and cager to pass before moving left.

    I don't like the left lane if there is traffic. I want an escape route. Generally the only out from the left lane is the middle lane where there is already traffic. Most left lanes have only wall to the left and if they do have space it is filled with debris. The center lane does give you two escape routes and does not put you in harms way of merging traffic which never looks until merging right into your lane. This is of course if both the right and left lanes don't already have vehicles in them close to you, then you have no escape route. I also like the right lane if there is not several on-ramps ahead. I can pass slower traffic using the middle lane and for the most part I am out of everyone's way. From the right I again have an escape route with no traffic on the shoulder.

  4. #4
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    Good advice to a good question!

    +1 to both response posts.

    I ride a lot in big metro areas - L.A., Phoenix, S.F. Bay area, Seattle, and it helps enormously to follow Paul's suggestions about hand signals to the (asleep) cagers -- most of them appreciate this signal which lets them know your intentions right away.

    Despite our small size (and small numbers) -- sometimes you need to "assert" w/o being a butthead about it. . .

    Editorial Comment: When I see the CRAZY s- - - that some of our fellow brothers and sisters (usually brothers) pull while on two wheels in, for instance, L.A. traffic (not talking about lane splitting here) -- it's NO wonder that cagers wonder what bizarre maneuver that 2-wheeler in the next lane is going to do. . .so let them know - blinkers, hand signals, head turn, etc. EVERYTHING you can do . . .

    They hate us for our quickness. . .

    Walking Eagle

  5. #5
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    I would humbly suggest patience. I have seen many occurrences of drivers of all vehicles making risky maneuvers for what to me is stupid impatience and very little gain for the risk taken.

    In your situation, merging onto a highway, in many cases you will have minimal opportunity to judge and act in concert with the existing traffic while merging. Being as predictable as you can to other drivers should be a plus in this and most driving situations.

    I believe also that often when one finds themselves "boxed in" had they been scanning and using their wits as they drove, they would have been able to easily and safely make a lane or speed change prior to the box closing, avoiding the mess altogether.

    There is a delicate balance between being too timid and too aggressive when dealing with other traffic on the highway.

  6. #6
    From MARS
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    If I had enough room to accelerate and get in front of the trucks, that's what I'd do. There is nothing more dangerous than riding next to a truck tire, IMO. If there wasn't enough room to get in front, I'd ease off a bit and let them get by me as quickly as possible.

    Tom

  7. #7
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    In these circumstances, if the guy starts tailgating me, I would pull over to the shoulder, and ride at reduced speed until I can merge back.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  8. #8
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultracyclist View Post
    OK, here is the situation...
    From the "on ramp" you have just entered the right lane of a 3 lane freeway. There is a car about 50 feet in front and one on your "6" about 60 feet behind you who is impatient and creeping up.
    If I understand the set up correctly, you already have a problem. You are tailgating the vehicle ahead of you, and the one behind you is tailgating you. That car ahead of you should be way more than 50 feet ahead.

    In this type of situation, I will often do my best to minimize risk by merging carefully and not doing anything dramatic, and wait on things to stabilize. Do you have a good idea of what the car ahead of you is going to do? In situations where I'm not entirely sure of what will happen, I will choose a path where I can buy some time to let things play out. If you can't predict with good certainty, then try to buy time to acquire more information.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  9. #9
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    interesting situation.

    first off,
    i'm not exactly clear how far back the trucks are here- where are the trucks in relation to the 2nd car (car B) as you actually merge?

    if i read it correctly there's a 110 foot hole we are coming into. we hit about the middle of it. what i do hinges on where exactly the trucks are, how much space is between the trucks and car A.

    for my own peace of mind, first and foremost, i don't like to be *boxed in*.
    knowing myself, i would take the energy and initiative to see this entire scenario, coming down the ramp looking over my left shoulder. if it was safe enough to do so, i most likely would take a bit more aggressive stance and accelerate right thru- and out of the whole *box*, merging in behind the first car and swinging over immediately in front of the trucks upon entering the freeway, and go on ahead of all of them in the middle lane. take a second between lane changes, signal every move every way possible (hand signals and turn indicators), and roll on the throttle, keeping a sharp eye on where everyone is.

    why wait around to be trapped for some indeterminate time between a gang of trucks with some idiot running up your butt when you can throttle right thru it all to begin with and be gone? what's on our left? shoulder? median strip? wall? guard rail/drop off?

    buh-bye.

    no need to be a knucklehead about it, or overly aggressive. you only need so much throttle to clear. if the truckers do ride, they'll understand cuz they wouldn't want to be boxed in either.

    the folks in the two cars? car A probably never saw you to begin with. driver in car B probably sees you and is thinking of you as a nuisance- you're crowding HIM now cuz HE was hoping to speed up, pass everyone, and not be *boxed* either.

    i'm out.

  10. #10
    Registered User ncsonderman's Avatar
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    I do think that BMWRider88 provides another possibility, but unless the situation is as he is thinking.....Just be patient and let the approaching car behind you get in between the semis. If you tried to get in between the trucks and then into the left lane too quickly, you might get a surpise in the center lane that you weren't anticipating.

  11. #11
    bobh41
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    Crisis

    In the scenario you've posited you are in a crisis situation already. My recommendation - pull over to the shoulder and slow down to await a safe traffic break. Here's why: For speeds from 36 to 60 MPH a safe following distance demands adhering to a 3-second rule - which at 58 MPH (40.9 feet per second) is 122 feet. If you abide a 2-second rule, usually applied in this forum, (that's 81.8 ft), you're still way past the space you have available. You're at risk of being squashed in the event of a hard stop.

    What I would do in this situation - if the center lane ahead is clear - is gas it hard into the center lane and blitz on down the road. If it's not clear I would not get in front of a 60+ MPH truck and trailer rig.

    In reality, in freeway traffic such as L.A. you're not likely to get the ideal traffic gaps. If you want to play in that traffic you're simply going to have to establish an exit strategy and update it about every half-second. Plan on ducking between cars in an emergency stop or taking the shoulder. I've always wondered what the CHP exit strategy is while riding side-by-side one car length behind traffic on Electra Glides at 70 MPH.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultracyclist View Post
    OK, here is the situation...
    From the "on ramp" you have just entered the right lane of a 3 lane freeway. There is a car about 50 feet in front and one on your "6" about 60 feet behind you who is impatient and creeping up.
    On your rear left quarter is the first of several semi's all in the same line in the center lane. The semi's are going about 5mph faster than you. In my opinion, the semi's are too close to each other. You and the car in front of you are holding the same speed at about 58mph.

    Do you:
    A.) Try to find space in between the trucks in order to get into the far left lane?
    B.) Continue in right lane until the trucks go by along with the impatient cager behind you-then move to the left lane?
    C.) Enter from the ON ramp very slowly and wait for the truck convoy to pass?
    D.) Something else?

    TIA,
    Ultracyclist
    Option A has gotten a portion of my pay given to the local constable
    Option B, I never care about the idiot behind because they will find a place to pass, or if they don't, I got insurance and witnesses
    Option C is what I find myself doing now, especially because I can REALLY piss off the guy behind me, then REALLY accelerate to traffic speed and leave him/her who was behind me in a quandry of where and how fast to go to merge in.
    Option D, there's always something else, no one knows everything, and every ride is different

  13. #13
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Lots of good ideas on this thread, includinging two I didn't have in my bag of tricks: 1. Give ARM signal as well as using the turn signal; 2. Pull onto a wide paved shoulder - but maybe keep your speed just a notch slower so the tailgaiter can pass, then pull back into the right lane when there is a gap in traffic.

    Every traffic situation is different, but I completely agree that safety is first, not pissing off your fellow motorists second, and legality a distant third.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  14. #14
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
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    Old thread but its late and I'm lurking about.

    IMO NEVER EVER pull onto the shoulder to let cars past you. The shoulder is full of debri including but not limited to 2x4's, logs, tire carcasses, dead animals and sofas! The shoulder on a three lane interstate is a dangerous place! Plus it's illegal in most states.

    In this situation, the safest move is to slow down gradually, put space between you and the car in front of you. Then maintain the flow of traffic speed while keeping the cushion. Be ready for others to enter the space however, then you have to do the process all over again. Ignore the vehicle behind you, you have no control over what it will do.

    By increasing the space between you and the car in front, if it brakes suddenly, you have more time to brake slowly, thus not causing the car behind you run up your tail pipe in a panic stop.

  15. #15
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by From MARS View Post
    If I had enough room to accelerate and get in front of the trucks, that's what I'd do. There is nothing more dangerous than riding next to a truck tire, IMO. If there wasn't enough room to get in front, I'd ease off a bit and let them get by me as quickly as possible.
    hammer down and accelerate through the situation... using turn signal and hand signal together.

    if that's not feasible move to the right wheel track in the right lane, do the "back off" sign to the driver behind and wait it out.

    ian

    ps => if the impatient driver behind me persists and endangers me by following way too close, if the way is clear, i've also done what Rinty says... move into the breakdown lane, wave the impatient driver past, and get back on the road. You can see crap in the breakdown lane and I doubt you'd get a ticket while doing something that will increase your safety.
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