stay in your lane

Stay in Your Lane

I got a nice piece of advice from a guy on Saturday morning.

I was headed out my no-gi class. The weather was great, warm and clear, so of course I rolled out on the bike. I was riding along the road just as happy as can be, and a guy pulls up beside me at a stop light, rolls down his window and says:

You keep riding the white line and you’re gonna get killed.

Say what?!

Excuse me but, you stay in your lane, I’ll stay in mine. Do you ride? I’d guess not.

What is the purpose of stopping to tell someone you’ve never met how to do what they are doing? Is it out of legitimate concern for the safety of a stranger? is it because you think you know how to do what I’m doing better than I do? Are you afraid that I might weave back and forth between lanes like a crazy person, endangering myself, you, and other drivers? OK, this last one might be a legit based on some of the squids I sometimes see riding around.

Has anyone out there ever taken a course in how to ride, say from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or a similar group? Where do they tell you to ride? Why do they tell you to ride there? This site gives a great short description on why you should, most of the time, “ride the white line.” In reality, that’s exactly where I should be if you believe the experts.

It’s not just the official experts. I’ve talked to bikers that have been riding longer than I’ve been alive. “Ride high in the lane” Ive been told.

I “Ride the white line” for the same reason that I always ride with my high-beam on, even at night, and part of the

This woman almost hit another car just to cut me off, then slowed way down. Too bad my camera was mounted on the right side of the helmet. I I'd had it on top or the left I could have posted her on a wall-o'-shame somewhere. I assume she was texting, but she could have been checking the weather or playing Flappy Bird for all I know.

This woman almost hit another car just to get in front of me, then slowed way down. Too bad my camera was mounted on the right side of the helmet when I passed her. If I’d had it on top or the left I could have posted her face on a wall-o’-shame somewhere. I assume she was texting, but she could have been checking the weather or playing Flappy Bird for all I know. I do know that she has a phone in her hand and she’s staring intently and tapping on the screen as I pass.

reason I put some “high-flow” (read: loud) exhaust on my ride. I used to think that people in cages were blind and deaf, but the reality is that so many folks are simply piloting 4000+ pound unstoppable objects and simply can’t be bothered to pay attention to what’s going on outside of the car. There’s so many text messages to answer…

I try not to ride like a maniac most of the time, but even on my best day, people are not looking or listening. Anything I can do to try to get your attention, I’ll do it. “Riding the white line” makes me MORE visible to other people, and therefore SLIGHTLY less likely to get killed (unless that is the intent). Of all the things that happen on the road, “Riding the white line” is much less likely to get me killed than, say, that woman texting in the lane next to me.

To come full circle on the subject of Stay in Your Lane and the dual meaning I place on that statement for this post. I do believe that if you don’t ride, you also don’t get the privilege of telling me how to ride. I also believe that if you literally stay in your lane and I stay in mine, let the rest of us know when you are going to make a change, there shouldn’t be an issue.

Pay attention, stay in your lane, be safe, and rock on.

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