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Old Yesterday, 12:30 PM   #1
fairweatherider OP
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Left? Right? Center? (Not political)

Been riding 15yrs or so, took a riders class to get my license when I started. Can't remember what they said about this. Riding soloI on a suburban/rural two lane road 35-50mph is it safer to cruise to the left, right, or center of your lane? I usually hang to the left so I can see around the car ahead of me, but am I increasing my risk from a car drifting over the line? It seems that the center is a bad spot due a lack of car tires scrubbing it clean of fluids and debris. The right side gives you the most space from on coming traffic but poor visibility and limits your options should you need to maneuver around or away from something.

What do you guys prefer?
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Old Yesterday, 12:40 PM   #2
willfreely
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Left if in outside lane, more threat from the right side in my opinion. Other types of road different; separated highways I stay on the far left inside lane, in most cases.
Generally, you have to ride the specific conditions at the time. Weather, traffic, other external variables, can all affect what is safest for that moment.
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Old Yesterday, 01:46 PM   #3
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Balance the important of the factors on each piece of road--
--best escape route
--best traction
--best visibility & best conspicuity (a local rider traveling behind a dump truck was killed when a car on a road to the right pulled out as soon as the truck passed.)
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Old Yesterday, 04:28 PM   #4
Bill Harris
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I drift left-right in sort of a Rolling SMIDSY Maneuver.

On a two-lane undivided road, I typically travel in the left side of the lane. However, when oncoming traffic approaches I'll drift right, and after it passes by I'll drift left again. One goal is not to blend in and become part of the landscape, you need to stay visible.

Center of the lane is avoided because of slippery oil (so we're told), and especially in the rain.

Multilane divided, like Interstate? Typically in the center of three lanes (if available). Right lane is for slower traffic and traffic entering the roadway. Left lane is the fast lane and reserved for passing or for speed demons. Center lane also tends to be the most debris-free. Two lane divided? Tend to stay in the right side of the left lane unless being overtaken, then I move over to the right "slow" lane.

Or, whatever strategy works best for the specific conditions. Be flexible.

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Bill Harris screwed with this post Yesterday at 06:14 PM
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Old Yesterday, 04:38 PM   #5
ajrider
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Good Question.

OK, I'm guessing this is American based (you ride on the right side of the road). Was getting confused by some of the posts to start with.

In the country / rural areas I agree with the others. In the center-most tire tracks, and drifting to the other track when approaching traffic, or crests (top of blind hills).

Interesting with Bills response with multi lane traffic. My thoughts would initially be to avoid the middle lane, as on the edge you only have traffic on one side to worry about merging into your spot without seeing you. In the middle lane, they can come from both directions. Admitidly I don't ride in areas with multi lanes (I'm way out bush) - so my thoughts come from no experience, just armchair consideration and as such would be interested in hearing pro's & con's from others.
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Old Yesterday, 06:39 PM   #6
farmerstu
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all three lines are good and all should be used according to the circumstance. oil in the center lane is a myth. and in fact if the wheel tracks are depressed it should be the preferred line in the rain.it all depends on the road and traffic and should be adjusted accordingly.
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Old Yesterday, 06:57 PM   #7
Bill Harris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerstu View Post
all three lines are good and all should be used according to the circumstance. oil in the center lane is a myth. and in fact if the wheel tracks are depressed it should be the preferred line in the rain.it all depends on the road and traffic and should be adjusted accordingly.
Good point. I've heaved to that myth for years out of habit. I 'spose that it got started back in the '50's when everything leaked oil. I do tend to stay in the right or left track in the rain because cars close ahead of me will move the water out of those tracks.

Live and learn, even us old dogs...

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Old Yesterday, 07:24 PM   #8
jnclem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerstu View Post
all three lines are good and all should be used according to the circumstance. oil in the center lane is a myth. and in fact if the wheel tracks are depressed it should be the preferred line in the rain.it all depends on the road and traffic and should be adjusted accordingly.
Agreed about middle in the rain. Often the tracks are deep water on the rural roads I ride.

I tend to do what others are suggesting, use whichever track makes the most sense at the time. Often, I am pretty much alone on the road, and will ride the right track if the view to my right is clear. If brush or trees encroach on the right, I move left to give more time to avoid deer, a constant threat. Left to see and be seen around a vehicle ahead of me, right for oncoming vehicles.
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Old Today, 12:21 AM   #9
Wraith Rider
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Depends on the speed.
Going slow I am right.
Going fast I am left.
Going lazy, far behind the next vehicle at the same speed, rolling with traffic, I am in the middle.
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Old Today, 12:54 AM   #10
GreyThumper
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In a left-hand drive country:

Generally to the left of the lane; better visibility around cars and curves, better cornering lines (especially if you like to apex late), sometimes better traction (usually less gravel and leaves, for instance), less affected by changes in camber, and you have more options if the radius of the curve is decreasing.

That said, a two lane country road is such a dynamic environment that I end up taking right of center for any number of reasons, usually to avoid an obstacle (car, animal, pothole, low traction, whatever).
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Old Today, 03:27 AM   #11
atomicalex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Harris View Post
I drift left-right in sort of a Rolling SMIDSY Maneuver.

Or, whatever strategy works best for the specific conditions. Be flexible.
This.

There is no perfect place to be, it changes all the time. I move around a lot, too. I learned that when I figured out how to split. All of a sudden I was using the whole width of the lane so I could set up my splits safely. Although I don't live in a splitting state now, I still ride that way - stay to the edges of the lane where there is an escape route unless it's safe to ride in the middle. Many times, the edge of the lane is the safest simply because you can see father ahead and plan your SEE strategy accordingly.
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Old Today, 04:18 AM   #12
randyo
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on a 2 lane I take a line between the left wheel track of traffic and the yellow line, this puts me where oncoming traffic can see me and I am visible in the mirrors of vehicles in front of me, in left curves I swing right for earlier and longer visibility, keep 2-3 seconds separation from vehicle in front, for larger vehicles I can't see over, I may increase that

I cringe when I see motorcyclists take a line nearer the right edge of the lane,

most cars right side mirrors are the "objects are closer than they appear" type and your not really visible on that side, you are also hidden from oncoming traffic, and riders wonder why they get left turners in front of them
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