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Thread: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    When riding SOLO on freeways/interstates, which lane do you like to ride in (number 1 being closest to center divide) and why? Any difference in which lane that you like to ride in if you are on a GROUP ride and why? Is there any common or accepted practice regarding this matter that has been put forward by experts (say in books) or organizations (say on their websites)? When SOLO I camp out in the Number 1 lane - and move to Number 2 only if someone is riding my tail or is obviously coming up quickly and traffic is light (see below). When in a GROUP I feel most comfortable being in the Number 1 lane and not moving to number 2 lane unless there is some problem with a vehicle approaching from rear.

    When considering and answering the above let's assume the following:
    - Your top speed (SOLO or GROUP) will not be over POSTED SPEED LIMIT plus 5MPH.
    - The road is in good shape (not rough, beat up, or under construction).
    - It is daylight.
    - The weather is fine (no rain, no snow, good visibility, no ice, light wind).
    - The traffic may be any of the following: light (folks going a bit over the above noted speed but plenty of room for all vehicles to maneuver), medium (vehicles at or just above posted speed limit and just enough room to maneuver), or heavy (traffic very dense with little room to maneuver and speed at less than posted limit).
    - You are going to be on the freeway for quite some distance so there is plenty of time to get into any lane and out of it also.
    - The freeway has 2, 3, or 4plus lanes (does this change your answer above).

  2. #2
    Owner of many Vs M.Brane's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    When solo I will use whichever lane gives me the most space. This is not always possible in a group since some cagers seem intent on splitting the group up. As long as the rest of the group is in sight I don't worry too much about that. The space cushion is more important to me.

    I call it staying in the bubble.

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    Super Member bosozoku's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    Quote Originally Posted by M.Brane View Post
    When solo I will use whichever lane gives me the most space. This is not always possible in a group since some cagers seem intent on splitting the group up. As long as the rest of the group is in sight I don't worry too much about that. The space cushion is more important to me.

    I call it staying in the bubble.


    In addition, I'm normally doing about ten over, and try to stay out of the #1 lane as much as possible. With all the turds squatting in the so-called "passing lane", the #2 and #3 lanes are usually the ones with the least cage-clutter.

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    Super Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    There is no one good lane for all conditions when we remember that the cagers are not looking for us. Generally I will stay in the middle lanes for maneuvering room though. All the while staying out of those dead zones (actual cage blind spots) as much as possible. I also like to ride with high beams and do the tire warm up swerve when ever I feel the need to stand out to brain dead cagers (something the DMV hand book tells us not to do BTW...stupid bureaucrats).

    If you ride like all others on the road are blind or out to get you...you will last longer.
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    Road Witch viffergyrl's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    If there is an HOV lane I use that strategically - I like all lanes being available to me for the reasons stated above.

    When riding in a group I forsake the HD take on group-riding and like to spread out as long as I can see people. I don't mind if cars merge in between the bikes. I take great pains to forsake the herd mentality....

    I wish the #1 WAS the fast lane... but it's not.
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    Senior Member JBrack's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    When riding solo, I use whatever lane is clear. However, I lead several group rides and we often have 20-25 bikes show up for any given Chapter ride. In a case like this, we split up into two groups with 10+ bikes in each group. On the freeway I will stay out of the slow lane as much as possible to allow traffic to merge on from various on-ramps. So on a multi-lane freeway we will be in the number two or three lane. This is sometimes problematic, because on a road with only two lanes, we are basically clogging things up in the fast lane because we go the speed limit, (maybe 5 over). Cagers do not like this and I have received many a one-finger salute, but its all about safety to me and merging traffic into the center of the group is never a good thing, IMO.

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    Super Member lakemaker's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    I generally ride in the #2 lane, but, like Law Dawg, I try to make sure of maneuvering room. When I took my first MSF course (early '70s), the instructor suggested that when in the left lane, ride on the right wheel path, and when in the right lane, ride in the left wheel path. He said to do that in order to "control" the lane, and as a result cages are less likely to "share" the lane with you when passing you. Also, he said never ride in the center (grease track) of any lane... makes sense to me.

    I dont' ride in large groups, but when my brother and I ride together, he leads in the left track of the lane and I follow in the right track... allows for maximum opportunity for both of us to see ahead and to allow us both to avoid obstacles.

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    Senior Member riverguy9's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    I like the #1 lane (solo or not) for two reasons:

    1) You are never in any cager's blind spot.
    2) No one is going to be cutting in front of you at the last moment to make their exit.

    I move over to allow others to pass as they come up behind me. (But I'm usually travelling _just_ barely fast enough that it doesn't happen much.)

    --Greg

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    Senior Member JCZ's Avatar
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    There was a very informative article on this a few issues back in Motorcycle Consumer News (the Consumer Reports for the motorcycle industry.....they don't accept any advertising and are beholding to nobody). I believe it was the Oct. 2011 edition.

    They had statistics from the powers that be (NHTSA, CHP, etc.) and they claim the safest place for a rider is the right hand tire path of lane #1.

    I've also talked with several motor officers of the CHP in one on one conversations and they all say the same thing.

    It provides you the lane with the least amount of vehicles doing lane changes and they can only enter from the right (that's why you're in the right hand tire path.......so they can see you before they make the change), etc.

    By the way.....assuming you're doing the posted speed limit in the bay area +5 mph, unless it's commute time, means you're about to get run over......doesn't matter what lane you're in.

  10. #10
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    Re: Solo/Group Ride Lane Position on Freeways

    I agree with JCZ. When riding solo, I like the right hand tire path of lane #1. I also will pull over if I have a car that wants to go faster. I also like the HOV lane, but a ticket in that lane could be double the fine.

    With our group rides, which for the record, I am not a big fan of, we ride in the #2 lane in a staggered formation. Although we tell everyone to ride their own ride, there appears to be a need for some riders to try and stay together at all costs. I don't believe this is exclusive to Harley riders, but I do see this in our own group.

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