Recently, we lost a great visionary in the motorcycling industry, Bruce Rossmeyer. Most of you know by now he was killed in a motorcycle accident. From the reports I’ve read of the incident, Bruce was attempting to pass a vehicle pulling a trailer when the vehicle suddenly decided to turn left. Here in Florida, that would put the fault of the crash on the driver that failed to check his mirrors prior to making his turn. The fact of the matter is, who is at fault is really irreverent–what we should take from this incident is the best way to avoid this type of crash. Hence, I’ve decided to re-run one of my columns from 2006. My condolences go out to the Rossmeyer family and I pray he rests in peace.
Motorman’s Tips Tricks and Techniques
Passing on a Two-Lane Road:
Here’s the scenario. You’re cruising down a two lane road. The speed limit is 55mph, but there’s two cagers in front of you, the first of which is poking along at 40 to 45mph. The car directly in front of you has had many chances to pass the slow poke, but for reasons unknown to you, that driver seems content to stay behind the slow poke and tailgate instead of passing him.
You glance in the rear view mirror and notice there’s a parade of vehicles behind you and the cager directly behind you is too close for comfort. So, what’s the safe thing to do?
Well, if you’ve got more patience than me, the safest thing to do would be to slow down enough to give yourself plenty of distance between the car directly in front of you and keep a close eye on the car tail gating you. The second option is to pass the car in front and the slow poke and get away from the entire pack of four wheelers. However, before I make the pass, I’m going to look out for a few things.
Number one, oncoming traffic. If the oncoming lane is clear and there is no double yellow line, I’ll next look for intersecting streets on the left. Keep in mind that if a vehicle is at a side street waiting to pull out, that driver will be looking to his left for oncoming traffic, not to his right where you’ll be accelerating to make your pass. Also keep in mind, the intersecting road on your left might just be the street the slow poke is looking for. There’s always the chance that he’ll suddenly jam on his brakes and make his left just as you’re passing and you’ll wind up t-boning him at a high rate of speed.
If that happens, the slow poke would be at fault in the crash, but that’s not going to help you. Another thing to watch out for as you pull out to pass is the car directly in front of you may suddenly decide to make a pass the same time you do, and then there’s the possibility that one of the parade of vehicles behind you might be trying to pass the entire line of vehicles.
Sounds pretty complicated, doesn’t it? Here’s the safest way to make the pass. First, make sure there are no intersecting streets, put on your left signal light to let the drivers behind you know you’re about to make your move. Look in the rear view mirror to make sure no one else is about to pass, flash your lights or toot the horn to let the driver in front know you’re coming around, then open the throttle and pass as fast as you can. Make sure to cover both brakes the entire time in case you have to abort the pass.
The bottom line is, look at least 12 seconds ahead of your bike at all times. Have a plan, work that plan. Till next month, ride safe. Give me a call toll free and order The new Ride Like A Pro DVD. It just might save your life. I’ve also just released my new, Ride Like a Pro, The Book.
I had a great time performing my rider skills shows with my Ladies of Ride Like a Pro at ROAR motorcycles last month for Biketoberfest. All you lady riders need to stop by 897 Bellevue Avenue, Daytona Beach and visit Kathy and the gang at ROAR!! www.roarmotorcycles.com