Riding Tip: Avoid This Position At Intersections
TEAM Arizona Riding Tip:
Avoid This Position At An Intersection
It is tough for us to drive or ride anywhere and not take notice of other motorcyclists and their habits (don’t judge us for judging you-ha!). We see some strange behaviors from time to time, and we can’t help but shake our head in disbelief occasionally. It seems common sense may be uncommon after all.
This topic came to us during our morning commute after watching motorcyclist after motorcyclist commit what we think is an obvious error when stopping at an intersection. First, a primer in lane positioning.
In our courses we talk about positioning ourselves on the road way that gives us the best chance of seeing hazards and being seen by other motorists. We take an active approach; positioning ourselves within our lane is dynamic. Not only are we placing ourselves to see and be seen, we’re also positioning ourselves where we gain the most time and space.
To better define lane positioning, we look at a lane as having three positions (left third, middle, right third). Yes, there are technically unlimited positions one could take, but for matters of simplicity, we will define a lane as having three positions: 1 (left third), 2 (middle), and 3 (right third). With lane positioning defined, we can take a look at our options when stopping at an intersection.
Take a look at the intersection picture above. What do you notice about the three positions within a lane? What do you see in Position 2?
STOPPING AT AN INTERSECTION
Take a look at the picture above. Notice anything about the three lane portions? Is there a lane position you’d probably want to avoid? Why?
You’ve probably figured out that we want to avoid the middle third of the lane due to oil, coolant, transmission fluid, debris, gravel, and other hazards that may collect in the middle of the lane. Not only do these contaminants make it difficult to stop when approaching an intersection, they also make it difficult when accelerating away from the intersection should an out-of-control vehicle approach us from behind.
Upon leaving the intersection, contaminants can remain on our tires, so if we should decide to perform a corner or have to perform a hazard avoidance maneuver like a swerve, it is possible our traction levels can be reduced. If you’re like us, you want all the traction possible.
THE RIDE AWAY
It may not seem significant to most riders, but stopping in the middle of a lane at an intersection may be an indication of a much larger, not readily obvious problem. It may signify that the rider lacks an overall lane positioning strategy. So if you are the rider who hasn’t given much thought to where they position themselves at intersections, we want to challenge you. Think about your lane position well before the intersection, and at the very least, avoid the middle portion of the lane when coming to a stop at an intersection.
Do you notice any unusual habits by riders on the road way? Share them with me in the comments below or send me an email.
Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011. He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee. Have questions or comments about the article? Email him: [email protected]