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December 2013 Club News

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Ride Safety Article

Sent in by Andy Burn

Hi Bob, I thought this might be of interest for some members of the Club:
“The best place to ride on a carriageway is in the right hand wheel path and for good reasons. It gives me a wide escape route both left and right when something goes wrong such as dodging a stray animal on the road or suffering a tyre blowout. I would rather have to emergency brake on bitumen than on dirt or grass!
“It is also the smoothest place to ride, the left lane being the roughest as it is closest to the pavement edge.
“There are some exceptions to my ‘right wheel path’ plan. When approaching a crest, I veer over to the left wheel path as I never know what is about to come over the hill towards me. I also go to the left when any large vehicle approaches – passing a large truck with my left elbow a metre away with a combined closing speed of 200 kph is just scary and you never know what the other roads users’ state of mind is so I need to be as far away as I can as they pass.
“The other exception is during wet weather when the centre of the lane is my preferred place to be. As the pavement wears down with time, the wheel paths are subject to subsidence caused by the vertical forces of heavy trucks and this is where water will pool causing possible aquaplaning. The middle is not subject to these forces and therefore has a courser aggregate texture depth - you can easily see this when riding along. The centre wheel path is therefore drier and will dry out more quickly.
“Of course when riding this way it virtually eliminates the possibility of riding in staggered file formation of which I am not a huge fan. I like to ride obeying the 3 second rule. That is keeping at least 3 seconds away from the bike in front of me which allows plenty of time to take evasive action when something goes wrong. The 3 second rule is independent of speed.
“When staggered riding is practiced, the 3 second rule becomes the 1.5 second rule as really you are only riding 3 seconds directly behind the rider in front. On corners all this theory goes pear-shaped as bikes come together as each rider changes their position in the lane to safely negotiate the corner.
“The other problem with staggered riding formation is when a fellow geriatric Casey Stoner wannabe blasts past and pulls in front thereby destroying the staggered pattern system that has been carefully set up by the majority of the riders.”

The above article was written by Neville Gray from the Ulysses Club which has a policy of not instructing members how to ride. Our Club has the same policy and the above is one rider's (very good) interpretation of how to ride safely.

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