Riding Tips - Motorway Management



Motorways are not something I relish on a bike; they’re usually just a means to and end

Yes, you can cover distance quickly but they are so boring. Whilst they are by far our safest roads in terms of casualties overall, that’s not necessarily the case for motorcyclists. Come off your bike on a motorway and you may find yourself sliding on your butt through dozens of moving vehicles. The dangers of being hit by one of these are obvious. But even if another vehicle doesn’t get you then the road furniture will. Barriers, whether Armco or wire are all biker-unfriendly and to be avoided at all costs.

The biggest cause of accidents on motorways is fatigue. By their nature, with few junctions or other hazards, they seem purpose-built to lull you into a coma. Keeping space around you is important, look for dozy drivers and avoid getting in front of them.

Probably the biggest offenders in the fatigue world are truck drivers. I make a point of not being in a lane in front of them. I have seen too many squashed care, trapped between lorries that failed to slow when the traffic queued, to ever want to be the meat in that particular sandwich.

The monotony of motorways causes vision to drop to the back of the car in front; so many drivers only react to problems when the car in front reacts. It goes without saying that this is usually too late. One advantage we have is that we are perched higher than a standard car so we can look over the top of them and increase our view ahead or we can move laterally within our lane to extend vision.

This should ensure we can increase the time we have to react to events ahead, by dealing with them before the driver ahead has even reacted. This will allow gentle braking rather that emergency braking and smooth lane changes rather than last second swerves.

Motorways lend themselves to high speeds but they also lend themselves to speed enforcements. While cameras are a rarity, there is a host of other technology aimed at catching you. Never be the fastest vehicle on the road, allow the sales rep in the BMW to pass you and flush out the copes lying in wait ahead. Watch out in roadworks with temporary speed limits as camera vans and fixed cameras infest these areas as the pickings are so good.

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