Life in the fast lane

Mo­tor­way sur­vival guide

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - Adam Child

Keep your dis­tance

As your speed in­creases so should the dis­tance be­tween you and other traf­fic. At 60mph your brak­ing dis­tance is go­ing to be around 70 me­tres, de­pend­ing on the bike. If you’re riding in a group of bikes re­mem­ber to leave big gaps be­tween your­self and the other riders, too.

Be clear on fil­ter­ing

Do this legally and safely. In con­ges­tion you can un­der­take or fil­ter but do so with ex­treme cau­tion. You don’t want to be un­der­tak­ing at speed. Give your­self time to re­act and make sure ev­ery­one can clearly see you and your in­tended po­si­tion.

Join­ing the traf­fic

When en­ter­ing the mo­tor­way on the slip road match your speed to the traf­fic; you shouldn’t blast in at dou­ble the speed limit, nor should you slow down to 30mph in a panic. Think smoothly and slot into po­si­tion, clearly in­di­cat­ing whilst dou­ble check­ing your blind spots over your shoul­der.

And re­lax...

All too of­ten, riders tend to tighten up as the speed in­creases. Re­lax; en­joy the speed and the ride. You don’t need to hold on any tighter just be­cause you’re trav­el­ling at mo­tor­way speeds, and do­ing so will only serve to make you more fa­tigued over long dis­tances.

Get prop­erly pro­tected

Don’t dwell on this, but here’s a quick, graphic re­minder about why you need to wear proper, pro­tec­tive kit. If you crash at 50mph in bare skin you’ll lose round 1.5cm of tis­sue – skin, flesh and mus­cle. At 70mph you can more than dou­ble that. Ob­vi­ously this de­pends on body­weight, how you crash, and the road sur­face. But it goes with­out say­ing: 70mph in shorts and T-shirt is just stupid. Not only that, but road de­bris thrown up at 70mph from other traf­fic can eas­ily cause nasty cuts and bruises to bare skin.

Stay out of driv­ers’ blind spots

It’s ex­tremely easy for a bike to fall into a blind spot on the mo­tor­way; I’ve lost count of the num­ber of near misses I’ve had when a driver has changed lanes with­out look­ing. Be­fore over­tak­ing, ask your­self if the driver has seen you. Are there any signs? Are they likely to move into your lane? Don’t rely on see­ing an in­di­ca­tor, some driv­ers sim­ply don’t bother, or may creep into your lane if they’re dis­tracted by their sat-nav. If in doubt, don’t over­take un­til you are sure it’s safe to do so.

Fil­ter­ing in heavy traf­fic shouldn’t be done at speed. Make sure ev­ery­one around you is aware of your pres­ence

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