Riding your motorcycle in traffic is unpredictable. Some people tend to think that rush hour is one of the only times you will run into congestion on the road, but the truth is, traffic can happen anytime and anywhere. While you may try to avoid getting caught up in a slowdown, learning how to safely maneuver through traffic will improve your control, get you to where you need to be without rerouting and help you avoid a potential crash.
Always Assume You’re Invisible
The key to getting through traffic is to practice defensive riding. You can be wearing high-visibility gear and riding with your lights on at all times, but the truth is someone still won’t see you. Ride with confidence and assertiveness and expect the worst from those around you.
Be Comfortable Riding At Slow Speeds
Riding in traffic means you are going to be moving very slowly. Motorcycle training isn’t just for new riders. There are a variety of classes catering to intermediate and advanced riders that will allow you to fine-tune your skills. Slowly easing on and off of the clutch, brake and throttle will allow you to smoothly ride through traffic without jerking around or having to catch yourself with your feet. Be aware of your center of gravity and shift your weight accordingly – if you feel yourself losing control, adjust your speed and catch yourself if necessary.
Give Yourself Escape Room
When at a dead stop in traffic, give yourself enough space between you and the car in front of you to allow room to escape a possible rear-end collision. Watch your mirrors and if you feel like the car behind you is moving too fast and may not see you, flash your brakes to avoid a motorcycle crash.
Avoid Blind Spots
People get antsy while driving in traffic, which means cars may change lanes quickly without a warning or signal. Never ride in between another vehicle and an exit. Many vehicles change lanes at the last minute to make it to an exit and you don’t want to get caught in the middle. Stay out of other vehicle’s blind spots by riding in the front line of vision or in open pockets.
Scan For Hazards
You should always be looking around for any potential hazards, but even more so while driving through traffic. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your motorcycle braking distance is different than that of other vehicles. You should always be following two to three seconds behind the car in front of you, and scanning the road about seven to 12 seconds ahead. If a car passes you that you didn’t notice, you need to keep a closer eye on your mirrors!
It’s A Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families and our communities.