Author Topic: Good article on traffic riding strategy from Cycle World  (Read 878 times)

Offline Chris

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Good article on traffic riding strategy from Cycle World
« on: September 09, 2016, 05:02:25 am »
I found an interesting article by Nick Ienatsch on the Cycle World magazine website at   I agree with almost all of it and the "slightly agressive" riding technique has been my normal mode in heavy traffic for decades.  I've always felt more in control of the situation when I had the initiative rather than passively waiting for something to happen.  Ienatsch explains it better.  Let me know if you agree.



The Most Dangerous Days

Riding defensively isnít the only approach you need in traffic

By Nick Ienatsch September 6, 2016
Cycle World

Dangerous commutes arenít necessarily the ones where you are in a hurry and riding faster than you should, but rather the ones where you relax and cruise along with the flow of traffic.
For thirteen years I worked full-time for Petersen Publishing Company and commuted by motorcycle into Hollywood, California, from the San Fernando Valley in what can be described as ďinsanely heavy traffic.Ē Though Iím no longer in California, I still ride and drive in heavy traffic occasionally, and last week in the middle of Las Vegas rush hour I was reminded of the most dangerous commutes from the magazine era. Ask the general public and theyíll equate ďdangerousĒ with fast and too much speed and aggression, so when I write ďdangerous commutes,Ē some will think they happened on the days I was late and rushed and hurried.  But in fact, the most dangerous days were just the opposite.

The most dangerous days were days when I thought: Iím gonna be mellow today and just cruise along, go with the flow, take it easy. Those were the days I almost got hit. The decision to take it easy often came after a speeding ticket or after we (the speed-addled magazine staffers) had been stretching time and space, but that decision put me right in the middle of traffic and at their pace.  Few of us need to be reminded of the generally poor driver training most car drivers have undergone, and when you decide to hang around in the same general vicinity of these drivers, their poor training and decision making become immediately obvious. These ďmellowĒ days taught me a lesson and Iíll put it this way: Go Rider Go.

Motorcyclists must learn to move through traffic in a slightly aggressive manner, always trickling through slightly faster than surrounding traffic. We need ride through traffic, not with traffic.  You will notice the italicized slightly in the above paragraph because blasting through traffic too fast will get you cited, and it should because big speed in heavy traffic areas is a leading cause of our deaths. Iím writing about moving gently but consistently through traffic during commutes or heavy freeway traffic, always pushing forward and rarely if ever riding along in the flow of traffic.

Being aggressive on the street means jumping through blind spots and being in command of the situation. The fact is, you canít you always trust a driver to see you in his or her mirror.

You are the aggressor because it allows you to be in better command of the situation. You are acting upon the other cars, rather than them acting upon you. You are jumping through blind spots rather than riding in them. And you are less worried about cars approaching from your rear because you are moving slightly faster than most of the traffic, which allows the majority of your focus to be on your next move ahead of you, rather than a carís next move as it approaches you from behind. Donít be in a position of hoping distracted and poorly trained drivers will pilot their way around you. Please take a share of my cynicism on the subject of driver performance and donít be around when the mistakes are committed.

Some interesting things will happen when you do. You will find pockets in the traffic where you have no one around you and you will sit and enjoy these pockets. As the pockets close, you will move forward again. Your friends will notice that you ride at the flow of traffic when thereís nobody near you, but slightly increase your pace as cars come close. You will begin to drive your car like this too, and be safer for it.

Your riding will become less reactive because you arenít just sitting there hoping everyone sees you and makes good decisions around you. You will be approaching traffic from behind and judging the vehicles, imagining what they might do and where theyíre going to be in a few seconds. You will be more in control of your future because youíre helping to create it, not just let it roll over you. Literally.

One last example to help you understand the mindset: Last month I booked a shuttle from the airport to my parentís house, and the driverís habits had me squirming in my seat. His top priority in the fast-moving traffic was the speed limit, and cars and trucks flowed past us left and right.  His adherence to the speed limit constantly placed us in awkward positions as he peered in his mirror looking for an opening, or got dive-bombed by someone exiting or entering the freeway. I was scared. We were forfeiting control of our health to others because they were catching and passing us, making decisions on following distances and passing tolerances. I like it the other way around and encourage you to match a successful riderís defensive techniques with enough aggression to have you move smoothly through traffic. Go Rider, Go.



1978 GS1000C / 1979 GS1000S / 1981 CM400C / 1986 RG500 GAMMA / 1988 R100RS / 1991 K100RS / 1997 GSF1200 BANDIT

Offline Luvmystar

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Re: Good article on traffic riding strategy from Cycle World
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 01:32:58 pm »
 :21 I can agree with that.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Offline BudLong

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Re: Good article on traffic riding strategy from Cycle World
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 09:01:26 am »
good article, thanks.  good stuff to think about