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Old 03-06-2014, 03:40 PM   #16
MotoTex
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Something like this was covered in a defensive driving class I took maybe twenty years ago.

As I recall, the statement was along the lines of,

"Insurance studies have found the drivers involved in the fewest accidents are those who routinely drive three to five mph faster than the flow of traffic"

The instructor went on to say something like,

This was most likely because the threats to such a driver would seldom come from behind or from being in another vehicle's blind spot for significant periods of time thus reducing their exposure to risks. These drivers were more likely to be focused on their driving, and would be actively scanning forward and rear keeping up with what is going on around them, rather than simply following or pacing the cars around them.

From what I've seen on the road those drivers who let the car in front of them drive for them (seemingly becoming magnetized to the other car's bumper) are the ones more likely to be startled each time they suddenly are brought to the realization that they are at the controls of a moving car. In other words, they are distracted and not taking the task of driving very seriously. Therefore, they are increasing their exposure to risk.

Ten percent seems a little too pat an answer, but the gist of it would match what this instructor postulated. Moving slightly faster than the flow of traffic reduces the exposure to several easily identifiable risk factors and forces the driver to pay more attention to what is going on in order to maintain that pace.

Oddly enough I felt quite pleased when hearing this as it described perfectly how I flitted though Houston traffic back then.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ranger Ron View Post
Once in town on the multi-lane feeder routes (two and three lanes each direction), the volume of traffic is increased (all lanes filled) to the point that there is virtually no way to consistently keep passing all the vehicles in order to maintain the "10%" rule.
Forget the 10% rule in the above situation. To me the goal is to as much as possible not be beside a car. If you aren't beside a car then they can't take you out. How do you do that? Travel in either the outer or inner most lanes. You only have cars on one side, and you can totally control your position in relation to the cars in that one lane beside you. Sit back far enough behind the car in the lane beside you so (a) you're in the best position to be seen in their mirror, and (b) if they were to dive into your lane that'd pass in front of you. If you decide to pull ahead do so quickly but only if there is enough distance ahead to get clear of the car you currently sitting behind.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:00 PM   #18
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I choose to move on traffic not the other way around.
10% seems about right, watching what is out front of you is much easier than seeing whats coming up on you from behind!
Brake checking the vehicle ahead of you is all in your hands.
Being hit from behind Not a option!
If you have ever seen a motorcycle hit from behind you will never have this conversation with yourself again!
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:03 PM   #19
shaweetz
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Originally Posted by foxtrapper View Post
By going slightly faster than traffic, the timing of encounters and interactions are controlled by the rider. The rider will decide when to be beside a given vehicle, and when to overtake it.

By going slightly faster than traffic, the encounters and interactions take place more or less in front of rider, where they are more easily viewed by the rider.
+1 on this. It is not suitable for all situations, but when it is, you're tipping the balance of control in your favor, and reducing the number of vectors available for the unexpected to occur. Also, it guarantees that you're not lingering in blind spots for very long. Without first reading about it, I just started doing it because I could intuit that the general level of risk was consistently lower.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:06 PM   #20
Ranger Ron OP
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Originally Posted by tommysmothers View Post
Most of the riders that, "ride 10% faster than traffic" are probably doing so on multi-lane highways or freeways.
This is probably the case...

----------------------------------------------

All good insights here. I personally tend to be a "gapper" and pretty much align with JohnCW's view.

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Old 03-06-2014, 04:11 PM   #21
markk53
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Originally Posted by tommysmothers View Post
RR,

Most of the riders that, "ride 10% faster than traffic" are probably doing so on multi-lane highways or freeways.

Around here (DC Metro area), riding at the average speed of traffic means you will be surrounded on all four sides by 2 ton cages. They stack up behind each other and "drone" along.

Riding faster keeps you away from them, and also keeps you more engaged with the task at hand.

Yeah, when I am off on the two lane fun stuff it's more like 30-50% faster!
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:24 PM   #22
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I don't want to pass everyone, just the one in front of me.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:36 PM   #23
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It depends...
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:19 PM   #24
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Bluhduh How fast do indeed to go Doc? 1.21 gigiwatts Marty

20% faster and on 1 wheel! 50% less exposure.
Do you think by going faster you somehow shrink space and time? You occupy the same space always.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:38 PM   #25
Al Goodwin
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My dad taught me this year's ago while following him through Chattanooga. He said go faster than all the other traffic, they way you can focus only on traffic to the front.

Made sense to me, and it works. We're not talking about a 30mph difference here, but just a touch faster than the next fastest traffic makes riding much safer.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:15 PM   #26
gearheadE30
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Originally Posted by Al Goodwin View Post
My dad taught me this year's ago while following him through Chattanooga. He said go faster than all the other traffic, they way you can focus only on traffic to the front.

Made sense to me, and it works. We're not talking about a 30mph difference here, but just a touch faster than the next fastest traffic makes riding much safer.
Yep, within reason, of course. I try to stay about 2-3 mph faster than traffic on the highway for this reason, and it's served me well. Motorcycle mirrors in general aren't very effective, so any situation where you're reducing danger from behind is a good one. Around town, though, it's usually not practical and isn't near as helpful because traffic speeds change so much, so I just try to keep my head on a swivel there.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:31 PM   #27
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I don't find speed to be nearly as important as staying out of blind spots and the danger zones.
I will speed up, slow down, or match speed to be in a safe, visable position that leaves me an out.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:51 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by markk53 View Post

But like everything else, one must think before acting.
This. Go whatever speed makes you safest at this particular place and time. Some random number painted on a sign for the purpose of generating revenue isn't it.
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:51 AM   #29
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Slower than general traffic flow is definitely not the safest way to get around.

Same speed, or a tiny bit faster for me, and which one, depends on many things.
It's hard to say if going faster than traffic might be 1% safer under some circumstances than going slower.
But as a general rule of thumb, ride another speed than traffic and you're fine. It really doesn't matter that much if slower or faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearheadE30 View Post
Motorcycle mirrors in general aren't very effective
I'm so happy I never encountered a general motorcycle mirror.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:11 AM   #30
gearheadE30
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Originally Posted by Wraith Rider View Post

I'm so happy I never encountered a general motorcycle mirror.
I think it's because I'm really tall, or maybe just the bikes I've had, so in general I just get a great view of my shoulders or they vibrate so much I can't really see anything anyway. I've gone though quite a few mirrors, and as of about a month ago I finally found a set that works - the double take mirrors, which have a 3" RAM mount and a long arm on them to adjust out further. And I've found I actually do ride slower, now that I can actually see what's behind me.
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