This April I started filming my motorcycle commutes to work. I live about 23 miles from work, and have to ride downtown. This can be a bit hairy at times, and I figured my commutes might be able to help other motorcyclists who decide to use their bikes instead of their cars to go to work.
I’m still figuring out the best way to chronicle my rides, but I will start putting up some lessons learned soon.
However, I wanted to get a jump on things and talk about an interesting lane incursion that happened to me last week.
Part of my commute involves a weird mixing bowl. There are three frontage roads that lead into three different on ramps. Traffic approaches this mixing bowl at three different speeds, from 20MPH to 55MPH+. Most of the cars will shift to the right-most lane. This backs traffic up during rush hour, and makes for an interesting dance. Most of the cars are trying to get into the right lane, with the rest of us moving to the other two lanes in fits and starts.
Last week a driver, obviously familiar with cars trying to get over to the right, made his sudden and deliberate move to the left-most lane after perceiving cars changing lanes. He never thought that there would still be a vehicle in the left-most lane. Unfortunately, I was that vehicle.
Here’s what I did to stay out of trouble, and how you might be able to avoid some trouble of your own.
In the summer of 2009 I wrote about the Spring Hypothesis, which is my idea that as a car comes closer to another object they are more likely to react suddenly and often without looking. This definitely happened in this case; the driver never turned to check their blind spot. When I saw the black Audi approach stopped traffic and evaluated the angle of their hood I knew something was going to happen.
I wrote about moving to the opposite portion of your lane when you sense danger. When the Audi moved into the center lane I started moving towards the right third of my lane.
When the Audi’s tires hit the white dividing line between our lanes I started modulating my horn like I discussed in July of 2010. This time it didn’t make a difference, as the Audi kept plowing into my lane. However, this technique has worked for me in the past, and I’ll continue to use it.
Look for additional tips and techniques in my Motorcycle Commuting Tactics section, and keep the shiny side up.