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Old 03-17-2014, 03:57 AM   #91
OneZero
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I typically travel at 5 mph faster than the flow of traffic but, like many have already stated, it varies depending the situation. If the lanes are packed, I like to stay in the fast lane with the faster flow of traffic. The main intent is to reduce the amount of cars passing me from the rear. I've been riding on the road for 19 years and have found success with this method but YMMV.
I am currently in visiting family in GA after finishing a 1300 mile ride from Kansas on Saturday. While riding through Tennessee, I decided to give the speed limit a try. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but after an hour of having cars buzz by me from the rear in the left lane, some dude in a black chevy sedan flew by me on my right side along the shoulder of the highway. I always check my rear view mirrors on a consistent basis but I missed this guy since he was going so fast (I'm guessing around 90 mph in a 65 zone). I followed the guy and got his license plate number (Florida 536 BMC) just in case I happened to spot him at a gas station along the rest of my trip, then slowed back down. For the rest of the trip, I stuck with traveling around 5 mph faster than the speed of traffic (when possible) and didn't have any more problems. I'll be heading back to KS on 22 March and will maintain the same technique. It's just too unnerving for me to have cars constantly passing from the rear when there is something I can do to mitigate it.
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Old 03-17-2014, 04:02 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by gearheadE30 View Post
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.
Yup +1 to Double Take, and another < 10% but go for the empty places rider.

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Old 03-17-2014, 05:09 AM   #93
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+1 on Double Take!
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:07 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Stonehenge View Post
There is something to be said about complacency, not everyone has top ability but concentration and anticipation is paramount. I do not profess to being an expert but I did ride police motorcycles (BMW K1100 & R1200) in city traffic for near on 14 years Day and Night and adopted the Police patrolling method of moving through the traffic, never riding with it. I have always ridden my own bikes in the same way moving through the traffic. Yes It does expose you to more possible situations than just sitting in a lane going with the flow but it also raises your awareness greatly. Its like racing, your concentration is hightened and you very quickly learn to read the traffic. I can only speak from Police and my own experience but I will always ride through the traffic. You can't maintain that level of concentration or anticipation going with the flow.
This is essentially what I do. I call it "assertive riding". By moving through traffic, I'm making things happen when I want them to instead of waiting for something to happen to me. I'm constantly scanning and doing mental speed/time/distance calculations. Traffic doesn't intimidate me, and I get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of it.
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:09 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Stonehenge View Post
There is something to be said about complacency, not everyone has top ability but concentration and anticipation is paramount. I do not profess to being an expert but I did ride police motorcycles (BMW K1100 & R1200) in city traffic for near on 14 years Day and Night and adopted the Police patrolling method of moving through the traffic, never riding with it. I have always ridden my own bikes in the same way moving through the traffic. Yes It does expose you to more possible situations than just sitting in a lane going with the flow but it also raises your awareness greatly. Its like racing, your concentration is hightened and you very quickly learn to read the traffic. I can only speak from Police and my own experience but I will always ride through the traffic. You can't maintain that level of concentration or anticipation going with the flow.
I can't agree that you can't maintain a high level of concentration "going with the flow". Whenever I'm on the bike I have exactly the same high level of concentration no matter if I'm in riding a deserted twistie road, or travelling in peak-hour traffic. Sitting in the inner or outer most lane and maintaining a position so no one can possibly take you out, watching the vehicle in the next lane like a hawk, scanning up the road, and the occasional swift pass, requires a lot of concentration. In heavy traffic the possibility of being taken out passing or sitting beside a car is so far greater than anything coming up from behind. In years of heavy traffic riding I have to deal with potentially or actually being cut of on a daily basis. While you get the occasional tailgater that makes you uncomfortable, I've never had a real problem from behind in over 40 years.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:06 PM   #96
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I would guess that most motorcycle accidents on the open road occur when a motorist moves out of lane and takes out the rider. It would stand to reason that anything that you can do to build and maintain a bubble around you would be the best tactic. Absent the desire or ability to do that, wouldn't minimizing time beside vehicles and planning escape routes when you are in the danger zone be good tactics. Doing things like keeping as far as practicable from a vehicle you are passing and expecting each motorist you pass to move over would be a good idea huh? Working with three lanes? Use the inner our outer to minimize the threats. Increase following distances. When dealing with significantly slower traffic, the increased speed differential decreases reaction time. Plan and behave accordingly.

To say ride 10% faster is to do a disservice to the topic of coexisting in the land of cages. Way too many variables for a generic statement like that.
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Old 03-19-2014, 02:12 PM   #97
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I agree with most everyone here. I usually like to maintain just a slightly higher speed than general traffic. Situations vary, and riding styles should too. My commute includes about 15mi of 4 lane highway with traffic lights every mile and a turning lane or breaks in the median throughout. In this particular section, and many like it, I don't like to be the "lone target" that breaks away from the pack. In fact, I'll usually look for the one car that's out front but running close to the speed limit, and duck in behind them. Keep em close enough in front they run interference, but far enough I can safely stop. It seems those left turners see the big pack of cars coming and make a panic decision to make their left turn before the pack gets there. That's when they don't see that lone MC they're pulling in front of. By keeping a cage out in front of me, I feel a little more "seen", even if they don't see me explicitly. Maybe I'm in fantasy land, but if it makes me feel more confident, I'll stay there
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:44 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by NSA View Post
I agree with most everyone here. I usually like to maintain just a slightly higher speed than general traffic. Situations vary, and riding styles should too. My commute includes about 15mi of 4 lane highway with traffic lights every mile and a turning lane or breaks in the median throughout. In this particular section, and many like it, I don't like to be the "lone target" that breaks away from the pack. In fact, I'll usually look for the one car that's out front but running close to the speed limit, and duck in behind them. Keep em close enough in front they run interference, but far enough I can safely stop. It seems those left turners see the big pack of cars coming and make a panic decision to make their left turn before the pack gets there. That's when they don't see that lone MC they're pulling in front of. By keeping a cage out in front of me, I feel a little more "seen", even if they don't see me explicitly. Maybe I'm in fantasy land, but if it makes me feel more confident, I'll stay there
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:51 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Dranrab Luap View Post
I would guess that most motorcycle accidents on the open road occur when a motorist moves out of lane and takes out the rider. It would stand to reason that anything that you can do to build and maintain a bubble around you would be the best tactic. Absent the desire or ability to do that, wouldn't minimizing time beside vehicles and planning escape routes when you are in the danger zone be good tactics. Doing things like keeping as far as practicable from a vehicle you are passing and expecting each motorist you pass to move over would be a good idea huh? Working with three lanes? Use the inner our outer to minimize the threats. Increase following distances. When dealing with significantly slower traffic, the increased speed differential decreases reaction time. Plan and behave accordingly.

To say ride 10% faster is to do a disservice to the topic of coexisting in the land of cages. Way too many variables for a generic statement like that.

Not sure why. I've never been bothered by any vehicle safely passing me at about 5-7 mph faster than I'm going. Now when it's more like 30-40 mph that's pushing it.

I will say I do get passed a lot when driving my truck. I usually will roll at around 55 mph even on a 70 mph highway. I know I'm going slow and stay in my lane. I also watch what's coming up behind. Oddly enough the cars doing 70 aren't really "blowing by" me. They move past rapidly, but not like I'm standing still. Why do I do 55? I gain about 3-5 mpg when I do so. The truck just pushes too much air at 70.

So I don't see any big breech of etiquette doing about 10% over when I do so nor when anyone else does so. It is more about the passing when not done safely regardless of vehicle. And I'm not talking on double yellow, I'm talking blind curves, rises and hills. If someone wants to pass me on a clear open stretch, have at it.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:15 AM   #100
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Why do I do 55? I gain about 3-5 mpg when I do so. The truck just pushes too much air at 70.
.
bikes have terrible coefficient of drag as well, and can benefit similarly if hyper-mileing is your game, that 15%-20% gain you see in truck mileage by slowing down 10-15 mph could be 10mpg or more when you do it on a bike

once you hit 60mph, aerodynamics are in play, cars today have nearly perfect aerodynamics and frontal area is getting smaller(I hate modern cars, I can't sit up straight in them)

myself, speed of traffic is not my concern, I ride at the pace that my destination demands, I plan ahead, don't rush to leave on schedule, sometimes I'm going faster than traffic, sometimes slower, sometimes the same speed, but mostly I am very good and travelling when there is least amount of traffic,or travelling in the opposite direction of heavy traffic, and avoiding traffic altogether
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:30 PM   #101
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Traffic here, might be 6 tractors lined up going 25mph.
10% sounds a little low!
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:21 AM   #102
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On my bike I am generally always slightly faster than the majority of traffic around me, except for the idiots who go a lot faster than the norm for that day, those conditions, traffic congestion, whatever.

I also generally ride in the far left lane in areas with lots on off ranps and on ramps, as this minimizes traffic moving around me. If I am familiar with the traffic patterns and traffic loads for familiar roads it also determines my speed and traffic/lane position. It is always changing.

But like we teach in the MSF, do whatever you can to maximize your space cushion, following distance, and visibility. If you really work at this it makes your riding SO much easier and you see things transpire before you get there and have to deal with it in a reactionary mode.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:44 AM   #103
markk53
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Here in Denmark, the MC Cops usually go at least 3 - 5 KPH SLOWER than the speed limit, causing a pile-up of scared dimwits scared to pass them, unaware of their speedometer showing 10% higher than actual.

Since I know my true speed, and know that they can't get you for less than 5 over, I make it all the way up to the MC cop and pull away doing 4 over.
It is just plain incredible how a cop affects things. It also demonstrates how little attention some people give to driving. A cop around has every idiot in their car slowing - even if they're already under the speed limit. They have no clue how fast or slow they're running. And then there are those who are afraid of passing a cop legally on a freeway.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:53 PM   #104
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It is just plain incredible how a cop affects things. It also demonstrates how little attention some people give to driving. A cop around has every idiot in their car slowing - even if they're already under the speed limit. They have no clue how fast or slow they're running. And then there are those who are afraid of passing a cop legally on a freeway.
I don't give a rats ass , I pass them at 10 over regularly and when they're speeding I go right along with them.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:21 PM   #105
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Having ridden the same bikes the CHP was riding at the time (R1150RT) I can tell you I saw lots of brake lights. Lots of folks slowed down and/or got out of my way on that bike.

...till they saw I wasn't riding something white and black anyway

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