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Wet weather road position

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by mattb, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Hi all.

    Interested in your advice re road position in the lane when riding in the rain. I usually ride in the position a car's right tyre goes, and this would seem sensible in the rain as the oil - mixed with water - is more likely to be in the middle of the lane. However, the water itself usually runs off the middle into the tyre track spaces which become puddles and so bad places also.

    Anybody got any opinions on the best choice of position?


  2. That's a good point. I tend to try and avoid the major puddles. The wheel track (left or right) that I travel in, will depend on a number of things: the corner ahead, a rise ahead and whether there is an oncoming vehicle.
  3. The best position I find is the right lane, however I change position depending on traffic around me etc. also it's the safest place to be as motorists can see you in rear and side mirror.
  4. Motorists use their mirrors???

    On a serious note though, thats what i usually do. If its just started raining and its been a while since it rained last ill be quite caitious of the oil. Generally however im more inclined to ride wherever im most visible to who i percieve as my biggest threat. Ie the person whos wandering all over their lane while trying to read the paper and drive at the same time...
  5. I don't think there is a specific answer to this question which is what the other are alluding to.

    Where you position the bike on the road at any given time is due to the risk management/minimisation process (ie. roadcraft) running around in your head.

    In the wet, you have three more immediate risks
    - reduced visibility (people seeing you and you seeing others)
    - reduced grip/traction due to cold tyres, wet surface
    - pooling water (aqua-planing risk)

    To work out where you should position the bike you should firstly identify your greatest risk and mitigate that. The risks change as you ride so you constantly need to re-evalue them.

    As an example,

    In the dry on a freeway I will usually use the right hand wheel track in the right hand lane of a freeway as my greatest threat is cars merging into my lane and cars suddenly stopping. The right hand wheel track usually gives you the emergency lane as an escape route and also means that you only are managing the car in front and too your left.

    In the wet, on the same freeway I will usually sit in the right hand lane, once again to manage the cars around me but usually use the middle of the lane more often and natually give myself heaps more space from the car in front. Even though the middle may have some oil, the right hand track can accumulate puddles of water and hide potholes (especially on a road you don't ride often). These are a bigger threat to me than a small amount of oil.

    I'm also very conscious of water pooling on the right hand side of a road especially after and during heavy rainfall (may be blocked drains etc.).

    Once again, there is probably no single correct answer, you just need to evaluate all the factors that are a danger to you and work out how best to manage them.
  6. Lovely answer Ashes..Appreciate it

    I generally ride the right lanes when dry and the left during wet. Reason being, right as mentioned by Ashes and its quicker and don't have to bother too much traffic entering the main stream as it slows down the process.

    I use the left for the similar reasons when wet so I can slow down periodically and give myself some rest off the concentration. However I gotta do with the traffic merging so I keep to the right of the left most lane. I usually avoid the middle lanes, as if you fall or the vehicle in front of you stops ... you'd be gone. :)
  7. I agree with all the above. Ride in the drivers side wheel tracks.

    Also - increase your braking distance from 2 seconds to 3 seconds. If you need to suddenly brake hard in the wet you may lock up the front tyre - which means that you will go down.

    Increased braking distance means that you can take more time to slow down and stay in control.

    Remember - in the wet - they can't see you..... and can come at you from all directions.
  8. Wet ground riding style :

    In straight lanes I try to ride in drivers wheel tracks...

    In curves it depends on my speed / surroundings : I drive on sidewalks, dirt, fields, trees, .. \:D/
  9. I don't think there's a specific lane spot that works best... the wet slippery stuff is just another element you have to consider when you're picking your spot at any one time.

    I'm all over my lane all the time, I'll pop left if I feel better there, or jag out right to be more visible to a clown coming out of a side street etc. That doesn't change if it's raining.

    In the wet I'll also pick a tyre track to go towards intersections in, so I can dodge the oil and slippery white paint, but you pick which one you'll take based on everything else that's going on around you.
  10. In the garage?