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Rules of the Road

By Brett Hathcock

You can find many different articles on the internet on motorcycle riding safety. Anyone that is even thinking about riding should make themselves familiar with as many of these as possible. I have come up with a few of my own, "Rules of the Road" I call them, based on situations and potential hazards I have noticed or experienced first hand while riding. These are all things I look out for and avoid at all times if possible.

One of the things I try to avoid is riding next to another moving vehicle. You never know when they may change lanes in your direction with out any notice or signal. If I cannot put some distance between us and have to ride fairly close due to traffic, then I will fall back in my lane so that if the car in the next lane comes over the line at all without notice it has no chance of hitting me. This has saved me more times than I can count. I have heard many say “ride like you are invisible”, this is one of the many reasons why.

This one falls in the same category as above but also brings with it several dangerous hazards to be aware of. Eighteen wheelers. These are huge vehicles and have very limited view from the drivers seat and should be avoided completely. Also if one was to have a tire blow out while you were riding next to it could cause you to lose control of your motorcycle. We have all seen the tire chunks or “road gators” as some people call them that they have left behind which are hazardous enough for a rider, but would be even more dangerous if not deadly if one was to be hit by one of these at highway speeds. Also you should be aware that some of these drivers go long periods on the road with out sleep which can affect their driving.

Avoid driving behind any pickup, truck or trailer that could lose it’s load. This includes the eighteen wheeler above but also work trucks. Look out for pickups or trucks that are carrying ladders, buckets, mowing equipment or anything that they may be hauling that has a possibility of falling or flying out. Also individuals moving sometimes have a load that not only blocks there vision but could potentially fall into your lane of travel.

Stopping traffic. This one came as an after thought after having to take the shoulder on the freeway when the traffic ahead of me came to a sudden stop. After realizing I was not going to be able to stop safely in time I went off the right shoulder and came to a stop safely there. By the way, watch out for loose gravel, sand and anything else that may be on the shoulder when doing so. But thinking about it later I realized even if I had come to a stop safely on the road doesn’t mean the vehicle behind me is able to or maybe never even noticed the sudden stop in traffic, so I now make it a rule to head for the shoulder in these situations until I know the traffic behind me is aware of the situation ahead and is safely stopping.

One more thing, always make sure the car coming in your direction is actually going to turn as they are indicating with their signal before pulling out in front of them. I’m sure we have all seen that one vehicle traveling down the road with the endless turning signal on that never turns off. Don’t be the one who pulls out in front of them.

There are many other things that could have been listed here that I have read elsewhere but I chose to list some that I have not read often or not at all. Anyone who rides should learn as much as they can about the sport of riding, it could save their life.

Ride safe!



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