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Buffering wiki

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by smileedude, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. I was feeling really procrastinatey this morning so I thought I would try my hand at a Netrider Wiki. There is a lot more I wanted to write but thought I would leave it there for now and get some comments. Feel free to edit and add your own points. I'll try to keep adding to it.


    When driving a car you who have 2 options under your control;

    Which lane you are in and,

    How fast you are going (or how close you are to the vehicle in front if you are not on open road).

    If you are in a manual vehicle you have the third control of what your revs are. These 3 controls are really simple. They don’t involve too much conflicting information. They involve fairly simple analysis of the surrounds and decisions based on these. “I’m overtaking, move to the right lane”, “I might not be able to make this corner at this speed, slow down”, “I need more power to get up this hill, drop gears”.

    That’s really all driving is, making observations and controlling those three things from your observations. Your decisions are based on cost and reward; you get the decision right there is reward, you get it wrong there is cost. The reward is getting somewhere faster or safer, the cost is slower or greater risk.

    However jump on a bike and you all of a sudden have this fourth new control to play with. Where should I be in my lane? It’s no different to the others; you make observations and decide where you should be based on those observations and the cost & benefit associated. If you master this control a motorcycle should have a lower risk of being in a crash than a car. However consequences of a crash are still much worse so make sure you master lane position.

    So what are the benefits of correct lane position?

    1. You can increase your visibility to surrounding traffic.

    2. You can give yourself space to avoid a crash if the surrounding traffic fails to see you.

    3. You can also avoid obstacles.

    So you are deciding your lane position on these three things. Usually it’s really straight forward.
    I’m approaching a car on a side street on the left turning into my lane. The right side of my lane increases my visibility and gives me buffer space if he doesn’t see me and the road is in good condition. I’ll take the right side the whole way through (a little side to side movement in the right of the lane also helps with point 1).

    But what happens when these benefits conflict? How do you decide your road position? For the moment we will assume the road surface is fine throughout. Let’s take the example you are travelling down a road. You approach a side street on the left. There is a car waiting in the side street to turn left into your lane and a car waiting on the opposite side of the road to turn into the side street. Here you have;

    The best place to increase your visibility for the car in the side street is the right of your lane.
    The best place for visibility to the car opposite is the middle of your lane.
    The best place for space for the car on the left is to the right and
    The best place for space from the car opposite is to the left of your lane.

    You now have to prioritise the benefits from the different positions. So which is more important space or visibility? It really depends how close you are to the situation, and luckily you don’t need to pick one position and stick with it. You have a danger zone (when you can get hit) and a pre-danger zone. In the pre danger zone buffering for space is not important, you want to maximise your visibility. In the danger zone buffering for space now trumps visibility.

    So how do you approach the above situation? Pre danger you want to move between the right and the centre, moving between positions will increase your visibility so do a couple of small swerves between centre and right. As you get closer your visibility increases from the whole lane so you want to start positioning for buffer space. You move to your left, pass the car opposite and then move quickly to your right to pass the car in the side street.

    So the main points are:

    Learn to prioritise the risks and choose your lane position accordingly.

    Lane position is not static can and should be all over the road through a tricky situation.
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