Motorcycling: the fine art of thinking

Britt Santowski offers Throttle Therapy for motorcycle riders, and subscribes a dose of knowledge, taken with a full cup of thinking.

Contrary to what the term “lane position” suggests, it’s not a geographical placement but a way of being.

You can identify those not in the know. They are the ones that have heard through the grapevine that dominant means riding in the left third of the lane (position “1”). So no matter what, no matter where, they assert their (false) knowledge of dominance by mindlessly riding on the left portion of the lane.

Not correct. Dominant means holding ownership over the lane. It means strategically positioning yourself so that if another vehicle needs to pass you, you force them to do a full and complete lane change. You do NOT invite them to share a portion of your lane.

In the case of a two-lane highway, for example, riding in the left third of the lane (position “1”) when passing another vehicle opens up your entire lane for any other Tom or Dick who wants to pass as well. This massive space, now wide enough for another vehicle, invites other motorists to share your lane.

Even dividing the lane into equal thirds, as is suggested by the diagram, is misleading. When positioning yourself in the “dominant” lane position — whether left, right or centre — you’re really moving incrementally. Your position should be in relation to where people sit in a car: in the driver’s seat, in the passenger seat, or in the middle seat.

If you ride based on the location of the tires on a car, keep in mind that your body sits on top of the wheel (with knees, feet and elbows sticking out), whereas a person in a vehicle sits on the inside of the wheel.

That is (approximately) where you should be positioning yourself.

Those bikers who ride based on the tire groves of cars often have sundry body parts hanging over the centre line. Bear in mind that the centre line is also known as the suicide line, for good reason. You don’t have to be fully over the line to be fully impacted by oncoming traffic. Nosirree, only a part of you needs to make contact.

As with anything else I have written in this column, the rules are not exact. The description of the dominant lane position is intended as a guideline for the thinking person. If conditions suggest something else is required to retain dominance, or if suddenly safety precedes dominance, please adjust accordingly. Wider lanes, narrower lanes, less traffic, more traffic, gravel or oil on the road will all contribute to your ongoing analysis of where you need to be.

If you remember the point of riding dominant (discouraging lane sharing) and mix that with an ounce of flexibility and another ounce of rationality, you will almost never find yourself in that horrible situation where some moron is putting you in danger by choosing to share your lane on their own volition.

Dominant lane placement. It’s not a dogma; it’s a philosophy.


Just Posted

UVic announces finalists for Male Athlete of the Year

Rower Patrick Keane, rugby player James O’Neill, and track athlete Thomas Oxland are top stand-outs

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

Young performers showcase new works in Oak Bay venue

The TD Festival of New Works is March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the CCPA Performance Hall

Victoria Sketch Club’s 109th Annual Art Show

Oldest Canadian art group west of Ontario displays art at Beach Drive campus

Victoria Sketch Club’s 109th Annual Art Show

Oldest Canadian art group west of Ontario displays art at Beach Drive campus

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Mainroad crews cleaning up after winter

Motorists warned to be on the lookout for roadside workers

Lower water pressure, discolouration expected Friday in Gorge-Tillicum area

McKenzie interchange work could affect water for up to a week

The most “Victoria” way to watch baseball?

HarbourCats fans can now watch games from double-decker buses

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Most Read