How to Choose the Right Lane Position on a Motorcycle

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Lane position is particularly important to a motorcyclist because it's hard for other drivers to see you, even when your headlights are on. Sometimes, though, the relatively small size of your motorcycle can be a safety advantage. Instructions

  1. Remember that each lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel: right side, center and left side.
  2. Use your lane position to enhance your ability to see and be seen. Avoid driving in other drivers' blind spots.
  3. Watch out for surface hazards and wind blasts from other vehicles.
  4. Protect your lane from those who might try to share it with you by honking to let them know you're there.
  5. Use your signals and let other drivers know what you're going to do.
  6. Position yourself so you can use your height and visibility advantage to see things other drivers can't see. Move to one side of the lane or the other to get a better view of traffic and road conditions ahead.
  7. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. It's easier than you may think to take a turn wide and risk collision with a fence, a phone pole or a tree.
  8. Approach curves cautiously to determine whether they're banked, flat, gradually widening, getting tighter, or the first of multiple turns.
  9. Take advantage of the fact that you don't have six feet of rubber, chrome and steel sticking out in front of you. Riders can easily peek around buildings, parked cars, or bushes to see if anything is coming.
  10. Increase your visibility at intersections by riding with your headlights on. Ride in the lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic.
  11. Keep possible escape routes in mind at all times and leave a space cushion around you so you'll best be able to react to dangerous situations you may encounter.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Ride next to larger vehicles while crossing an intersection or other dangerous places. Big trucks can protect you from unseen oncoming traffic.
  2. Position your motorcycle several feet from the crosswalks when stopping at a stoplight. Make sure the stoplight's signal device can "pick you up."
  3. Back into parking spaces whenever possible. That way, you'll be driving your bike out into traffic rather than backing into it.
  4. Motorcycling is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity.