Motorcycle Driver’s Handbook

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Distance to the side

Motorcycle riders can do one thing other drivers cannot – they can move across the lane to increase their distance from other vehicles. An experienced rider changes position in the lane as traffic conditions change.

Vehicles alongside

Don’t ride beside other vehicles if there is no need. A vehicle in the next lane could change into your lane at any time without warning. Vehicles in the next lane also block your escape if you run into danger in your own lane. Speed up or drop back until you find a place that is clear on both sides.

Here are some of the conditions that require changes in lane position:

Being passed

When you’re being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle, move a little toward the centre of the lane. There’s no point in being any closer to a passing vehicle than you have to be. A slight mistake by either driver could cause a sideswipe. Moving towards the centre of the lane also helps to keep you out of the way of extended mirrors, things thrown from windows or kicked up from the tires of other vehicles.

Give way to large trucks. They can create air turbulence that affects your control. You have more room for error if you move away from the truck.

Passing vehicles

When passing parked or moving cars thumbnail for play button, the motorcycle rider has an advantage over the automobile driver. By staying in the left portion of the lane, you can avoid the problems caused by doors opening, drivers getting out of cars or people stepping from between cars. On the highway it gives you a wider safety zone between you and the vehicle you are passing.

A bigger problem is cars pulling out. Drivers often take a quick look behind them and fail to see a motorcycle. Cars making U-turns are a particular danger. Suddenly the car turns across the road and blocks the lane, leaving the motorcyclist with no place to go. If you see a car pulling out, approach very cautiously.

Passing vehicle motorcyclist


Rev: 2015