Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Lane position in the wet

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by samo, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. I've thought about this a few times and the recent wet weather in Melbourne reminded me about it again - where should you sit in the lane when it's wet?

    Reason I ask is often the wheel tracks are more wet than the middle of the lane, but the middle of the lane is where most of the slippery junk piles up. And when the road starts drying up usually the middle is dry well before the tracks are...

    So what do the wise old heads around here have to say about it?

  2. My experience has generally lead me to ride in the wheel tracks. Even if they are deep and full of water, the concavity feels safer than riding on the convexity in between. BUT it does depend on the road. When I used to live in the city and was commuting daily, there were some roads where I wouldn't do this. Hard to find a do-all rule when roads can be so variable.
  3. If I'm riding in the wet it normally means i'm riding to or from work. Like the last post said the wheel tracks definitely feel more comfortable and is a good general rule to avoid the stuff you obviously worried about in the middle. Given a lot of trucks use the routes I take to work there is wide cracks and pot holes, and bridge joins that i avoid by taking middle of the road when i need to but move back to the track pretty much straight away.

    Don't be too worried about going on wheel tracks if it is wet. assuming you are heading in a straight (or mostly straight line) and the road surface is reasonable or better the bike is likely to be just fine.
  4. I've often found the wheel tracks to be the driest part of the road because the tyres from other cars move the water away from there.
  5. The same place as in the dry for me. It was my first time riding in the rain on Saturday and I asked myself the same question when I got on the road. I had a good look and it appeared that the wheel paths were the best option. I saw a lot of oil patches in between the wheel paths so stayed clear of them.
  6. Just be more careful about where your riding, look for oil slicks, and shiny bits, stay away from both, this includes the painted lines they are the worst!

    Also after yesterday be careful about new tyres in the wet too, a girl came off her scooter on springvale road i think she was coming off burwood highway and did the usual turn but with what looked like new tyres or not scrubbed in oldish ones (i stopped to help and had a look at her scooter and her and saw them and felt how shiny her tyres were)
  7. Thanks for all the replies, wheel tracks it is then.

    That's what I would have thought, but I've noticed that once the road is starting to dry pretty often the middle is dry first and the tracks are still damp, especially near intersections. Only thing I can think of is the car engines are above the middle and the heat off them dry the road out??
  8. I'm not too fussy about my lane position in the wet, generally... I'm more concerned with ensuring that I'm visible to cars waiting on side-streets, etc. I don't think lane position makes that big a difference to wet-weather grip 'in general'.

    At intersections (traffic lights, stop signs), however, I always stay in the wheeltracks. One day in the wet I tried to brake in the middle of the lane at an intersection and discovered just how slippery those oil patches are when wet. Like ice.

    Didn't crash, but did need a change of underpants.
  9. or the roads gradually settled where the tyres tend to be, creating a crown in the middle.
  10. Make sure you stay in the front wheel tracks, not the rear wheel ones. Rear wheels leave all sorts of shit on the road.
  11. Wheeltracks for sure.

    And if you didn't already know, just be aware that the first 1/2 hour of rain is the slipperiest time since that's when all the oil and crap from the surface comes up.
  12. You should sit in the spot that gives you the most safety.

    All things being equal this is probably the right hand wheel track. But things aren't always equal.

    If one side of the road is rough or broken it may be best to move to the other side. If there is a car coming out of an intersection on your right maybe move left to give yourself room and vice versa if it's coming out from your left.

    If the car in front of you is travelling in the left of the lane maybe you will have better vision past him in the right and vice versa.

    Anicipate that things will turn bad. The car ahead will slam on it's brakes; the car next to you will suddenly change lanes; the car at the intersection will not give way. Which spot will give you the greatest margin for escape. Be there.
  13. Roads usually are highest in the middle of the lanes, even if you dont notice it. Im pretty sure its from just constant traffic that makes it sink to the sides, but also I know that some roads, if not all are made with a slight lean as to run the water off them. So wheel track dents makes awesome fun for getting wet =D but i'd stick with these old guns and say its the safest.
  14. :? :LOL:
  15. ^^ +1 Well said Grey..

    It's a fluid and dynamic environment, so your choices from one moment to the next will/might change - be prepared and ride pro-actively to give yourself the greater safety margin.

    And assume that cagers WON'T see you...Bikes ARE hard to see, for a variety of reasons - it's just a fact of life that you need to take into account. Never assume that they know you are there...

  16. I generally sit in the wheel tracks, but which track? It depends on the situation.

    If Im in the left hand lane I will sit in the right hand track, if im in the right and lane I stay in the left hand track.

    I have found that if you do this, lazy cagers who glance in their mirrors before changing lanes instead of using their neck, are more likely to see you.

    In addition to this, staying clear behind or clear in front of a car becomes even more imortant when in the wet. Remember, a car has far more grip in the wet than you do.