Defensive speed

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Defensive speed

Postby RonB » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:45 pm

This is a more general riding question. From a defensive riding standpoint, would you say it is better to drive a.) slightly slower than surrounding traffic, b.) keep pace with traffic or c.) slightly faster than surrounding traffic?

I guess this would be applicable to most roads however I am thinking at roads with a speed limit in the 55 and up limit and on four lane divided hwys.


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I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
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Re: Defensive speed

Postby Triangles » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:17 pm

According to studies done by the National Motorists Association, Traveling 5mph faster than the flow of traffic is the safest speed at which to travel.

Personally IMHO The safest speed to travel on the freeway is the speed that allows you to not have a vehicle occupying the lane next to you. No one can change lanes into you if they aren't next to you!

Also you need to leave more room in front of you than you would in a car. You need to be able to see any obstacles in the road that may present themselves and have time to stop or avoid said obstacle. For example while a large pothole or road debris may give a car a flat tire or bumper damage, etc. It could very easily be deadly to a biker.

My general safety strategy on all roads is to ride like I have a target on my back and there's a million dollar prize for running me over.

I scan the road about 10 seconds ahead and look for any potential hazards and plan an escape route should such a hazard present itself. For example, is that car up there going to pull out in front of me? Assume they will and adjust your speed and position to allow yourself to take evasive action.

Back to the freeway, When traffic is heavy it's not always possible to keep the lane(s) next to you free of vehicles. In this case I have found that a 139db Stebel Nautilus air horn has been effective at alerting several oblivious SUV drivers that they were about to run me over(I almost felt bad for the idiot that almost rolled his suv because he jerked the wheel too hard when I blew my horn in his open window). Still even in these situations I made sure I could blip the throttle if necessary to get ahead of them before they ran me over or a shoulder to bail onto.

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