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4 Smart Lane Tips for Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycles may be smaller than most other road vehicles – and thus more vulnerable in collisions – but they have much more maneuverability. Unlike cars which take up all of the space within a lane, motorcycles, thanks to their narrow, single-track design, have multiple slices of lane within a lane they can occupy. In this article, we will simplify matters by dividing the lane into thirds: left, right, and center. Furthermore, we will explore how you can adjust your lane position in certain situations to maximize your safety.

Create a “space cushion” around you. If you’re overtaking a car, or vice versa, use the third of the lane furthest from the vehicle, especially when you’re passing through its blind spot. This way, you will have more time to react should an inattentive driver start veering into your space.

Use proper lane positioning to enhance your visibility. If you’re following a car, stay in the center third of the lane so the driver can clearly see your headlight in the rear view mirror. Before you overtake a car, stick to the third of the lane closest to the vehicle as you approach it, so the driver can see your headlight in the side mirror. Don’t forget to move to the furthest third of the lane just before you enter the car’s blind spot. Once you are safely past the car, you should immediately move back to the closest third. This movement should attract the driver’s attention and let him or her be aware of your presence.

If you’re surrounded, stick to the center. There will be moments when cars are on both sides of your intended path of travel. Your best option for this scenario is to pass them in the middle third of the lane. Although not ideal, this will at least give you the most separation possible from both vehicles.

Be mindful of the signals you’re sending to other motorists. Think of lane positioning as a kind of body language for motorcycles. For example, when you’re approaching an intersection on the left third of the lane, the oncoming motorist may assume that you’re preparing to make a left turn and initiate his turn right in front of you. In this situation, you can best signal your intent to go straight by sticking to the right third of the lane. However, this only applies to four-lane roads. In a two-lane road, it’s preferable to use the middle third at intersections. If you use the right third, other road users may think you’re preparing to turn right. Basically, stay vigilant and use common sense to communicate with the drivers around you.

This may seem like a lot to take on at first, but you will get better with more practice. Gradually, your grasp of proper lane positioning will become more intuitive, leaving you to use more of your focus analyzing the traffic ahead of you – or just riding with ease.

At Wilshire Law Firm, our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of motorcyclists throughout California. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another party, please don’t hesitate to contact us for immediate assistance. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you obtain full and fair compensation for your damages. To learn more about your best options for recovery in a FREE consultation, call us today at (800) 522-7274.