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Tips for newbie - freeway riding

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Nixy V3, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Like the heading says, Im looking for tips to best tackle, handle and approach freeway riding as a newbie.

    Up until now I have been petrified to even think about heading out on the freeway as I have only just been getting my skills and speed up slowly but surely. The thought of cars and trucks racing beside or tail gating is something Im definately wanting to avoid, but I know also in reality it will happen, so therefore wanting to play it right and smart when I do.

    The freeway is my next "target" as I know now that Im at that stage, so would appreciate any suggestions whether it be lane positions, speed, distance between objects and so on.

    So from the experienced, any tips please ?
  2. hey nixon, fwy ridin can be fun so dont get to stressed, try to enter just above there speed it makes it easier to adjust yours to fit in, lane position is important so drivers see you and cant push into you, left lane try to sit in right wheel track and vice versa for right lane. but a huge tip is dont sit next to semi's or pass em close, go wide when passing em. the amount of wind they create can knock ur bike around a bit.
  3. just be prepared for gusts of wind after passing a truck, they tend to sheild u from the wind some times and then as you pass you get a big gust.

    free way riding isn't too hard, i find it safer than in suburban streets because cars just come out of no where, where as on the free way they can only enter/exit at certain points so you know whats around you and when to expect new vehicles.

    maybe for your first time, if you have a riding partner, get him her to sit behind you so you only have to worry about whats infront of you.

    cars are quiete predictable, if you see some one speeding, even just slightly, they are always the ones who do rapid lane changes because they think it gets them wherever they are going faster.

    i just try and find an open spot in traffic where thee isnt a car that can turn into me.

    be weary of the extreme right as most people tend to want to go a bit faster in that lane, and also just keep your eyes open when in the extreme left as you might not be seen by merging traffic.

    overall its not that much of a duanting experience. once you get used to the speed (100 as opposed to 80) youll be fine.

    just always keep your eyes open much as you would do in suburbia.
  4. The police riding schools (so I'm told) teach their riders to "whenever practicable" ride in the far right lane and in the left tyre line.
    This is because cars change lanes to the left to exit and sometimes without warning.
    Being in the left tyre line enables greater visibility and therefore less chance of being in a blind spot.
    Of course, you still have to have your wits about you, like you do anywhere else.
  5. Car drivers also tend to take a better look when changing lanes to the right than when changing to the left. I think it's because when over taking anywhere with 1 or 2 lanes they know it's clear to go left. Unfortunately not the case on 3+ lane roads so stick to the right lane (left wheel track) is safest. Be aware that if the speed limit is over 80km (80km is fine) then it's illegal to do this unless turning right or if traffic is congested. It's no big drama and I've never heard of anyone being booked but the polite thing to do is reguarly check mirrors and change left to let people through if they come up behind you.

    A fwy is just another road. Ride courteously and relax. You'll be fine. :)
  6. Sheesh... why not ask a simple question?!?!?!!!

    Take everything you learned in driving a car, now add a space buffer around you and protect it jealously... For the most part, people will respect your space though... it's not all bad.

    My golden traffic roadcraft rules are these:

    1. Be well infront, be well behind, but as far as possible avoid being beside.
    2. Space space space
    3. Stay out of blind spots. Be seen.
    4. Maintain a mental radar map of the traffic around you.
    5. Space space space
    6. Learn to read car body language and decide which cars to avoid.
    7. Did I mention space?
    8. Own your space. Let your body language own the space and communicate that message to all the drivers around you.
    9. If someone is on your tail, you let the f.ucker know that's unnacceptable, or you simply move out of their way.
    10. See rules 1 and 2

    In regards to space, a bike with good brakes and a switched on rider would leave 2 - 3 seconds space to the car infront. If you doubt your brakes or your abilities, leave a greater margin.

    By the way, did I mention space???

    Have a good look at the articles here.

    Here are some selected articles.


    And also check the link in my sig.

    The tip about freeway positions and drivers making a cross lane beeline for the exit is a good one.

    Welcome to the "art" of motorcycle riding.


  7. Enjoy, Your bike will also appreciate it.

    Try not to ride in other peoples blind spots, especially coming in to Tolls. You will need to be alert for drivers changing lanes here.
  8. i did my first freeway ride about two weeks ago, it was one week in from when i first got my bike. i was a little daunted by the idea of it but honestly, once i got out there it was no big deal. As Breno said, there are a lot less places for cars to appear from so it's relatively easy to keep track of who/what is around you. just keep your speed up as you enter the freeway and relax and you'll be fine

    if you're riding a naked the wind can be a bit annoying at 100-110 kph compared to 80, but it's not intolerable. also riding next to big trucks can be a bit nerve-wracking on a little 250, you feel so tiny and exposed, so best to not ride directly next to them if you can avoid it.

    good luck with it when you finally have a go :grin:
  9. I can't remember which post it was from, but trucks are a lot more likely to see you passing them on their right, particularly if you're splitting past them. And my brother who drives B-doubles (the big 2-section + cabin trucks), he said it can be very difficult to control the rear trailer, so don't hang about next to it or it might kick you! (especially on a windy day or bumpy road)

    Also, I too feel quite vulnerable in the left lane due to people suddenly realising it's their exit and darting across, and those entering trying to merge when they might not see you. Too much happens in the left.

    Of course, if you just want to get on the freeway to say you've done it, do it when it's really quiet! Mon-Wed late at night can be good. Be careful of drunks, & youngies trying to prove themselves other nights.

    You can do it! Tell me if you want some company.
  10. Call me cynical but I thought that the Police teach be in the "left tyre line" because drivers don't tend to look there. How many times in a car have you thought "where did he come from". I'd prefer to know what the riding schools are teaching (anyone know) rather than the Police. But as I said, I may be cynical.
  11. Can someone PLEASE post these somewhere permanently

    these are such a good list of tips for newbies...L platers etc
    they should be displayed prominently

    nice one Rob

  12. Hi Rob.
    In that spiel linked from your sig it reads -
    " They can stop more quickly and can usually out accelerate most cars so there is even more reason to wonder why they don't avoid certain kinds of accidents that cars cannot avoid "

    Not true. A bike cannot outbreak a car.
  13. Simple things really...

    1. Match traffic speed (within reason) to minimise risk to yourself - obviously most important when merging. (Why do people not understand you can't merge at 60?).

    2. Position yourself as far as possible from any danger. This means you won't stick to any particular spot on the road - always give all other vehicles room. If a car is overtaking, move from the right-hand wheel track to the middle. If a truck overtakes, perhaps move a little further to the left wheel track. Always try to maximise your 'safety buffer', which gives you more reaction time.

    3. Just relax and try not to get stressed. If you're relaxed you can concentrate better and anticipate threats easier. You'll get the hang of it quickly. :)
  14. I'm sure you mean out brake, but you're right. A bike's stopping distance will be similar to a modern car in good condition: including larger 4WDs. Moreover, even if you do have a slight advantage on paper, it requires FAR more skill to stop a bike in it's minimum stopping distance. Cars can slam on the brakes and wait for ABS to work - most bikes don't have that luxury and need to step through setting up; squeezing the brakes progressively and reacting to feedback from the tyres and brakes as you slow down.

    Bottom-line, don't tailgate. It's even more dangerous on a bike than a car (ignoring the fact it'll hurt more if you crash).
  15. The car brake versus bike brake question is an eternal one. It's been done many times in here and many other forums.

    In theory a car should be able to out brake a bike because of the four contact patches but there are a lot of variables: experience, road surface, rider awareness, driver awareness, type of bike, ABS etc.

    The reality is that a modern sports bike [and most disc braked bikes] will out brake most cars, simply because of less weight, performance stoppers and that riding is proactive and a rider is likely to respond to a situation sooner than a driver.

    My own experience says this is true.

    I do a bike emergency braking drill often when I enter my street. I accelerate to a certain speed and use a sewer cover as a braking marker. I do it with the car occasionally. I've NEVER pulled the car up quicker than the bike from the SAME marker and speed.

    I think it would be a close call between my commodore and virago as to which would stop quicker... I'd put my money on the bike though.

    In general, it's accepted that a bike will out brake a car, EVEN though in theory a car should be able to out brake a bike. So in practical terms, where it actually matters, count on outbraking the car that's close behind you...


  16. Cheers Rob. Have to dispute that in general a bike will out[brake] a car. If you are on a freeway at 100k 2 or 3 seconds behind a car , and it brakes - well, good luck stopping in time. At a 100k side by side both braking at the same time , my money is on the commodore to stop before your virago.
  17. 4 contact patches VS 2 & the average family sedan with brakes & tyres in roadworthy condition will outbrake a bike every time, especially when most cagers are panic merchants, so don’t tailgate cages, and if you do Murphy dictates that when you headcheck the cage in front will slam on their stoppers.
  18. Your a fool if you think a bike will outbrake a car. Always think of the worst saftey protections, that way you'll ride more defensivley and be 110% alert at all times. You'll learn that skill and confidence are an unconquerable army.
  19. my skate board would out brake my virago. lol.
  20. Let's not get off the rails. The OP needs advice on how to ride in traffic.

    How is she going to decipher me and a respected riding guru (who's behind the american MSGroups site) stating that in practical terms a modern bike with competent rider will outbrake a car, and several others here stating the exact opposite.

    DuHast, my commodore is road worthy and my bike does pull up sooner, but I want to avoid a typical nitpickerrider thread scenario... so lets agree to disagree about braking and reduce the discussion down to reaction times.

    For me, I assume that a close car behind will run over the top of me when I brake to avoid something - so I try to manage the space behind.

    I also assume that by leaving a 2 - 3 second gap to the car ahead and by roadcrafting the traffic well ahead, I'll avoid hitting the car ahead when we both respond to the same something.

    Any advances?

    ps For the record, I have a 9R, Nixon has the virago.