8 Ways To Stay Under The Radar

How To -



#5 “Stay Right Except To Pass”
Also, “Slower Vehicles Keep Right.” Though they’re often maddeningly ignored, these signs are intended to keep traffic flowing. To patrol officers, though, the message they convey is this: the vehicle in the left lane is going faster than the vehicle in the right. If there is no vehicle in the right lane, then the vehicle in the left is traveling so fast as to pass anything it may encounter. Therefore, it’s probably speeding. Stay to the right where you can.

#6 Watch for Lurkers
On many highways, there are turnouts in the median where cops love to hang out, often near overpasses. Usually, you can see these in plenty of time to throttle back a little bit. And on the interstate, keep your speed dialed back near rest areas. Cops need bathroom/coffee breaks, too, and often lurk near re-entry ramps to finish their coffee and donuts.

#7 Small Town Bringdown
Next time you cruise down Main Street, USA, remember this: Small towns don’t earn much revenue, so when some slick city boys come barreling through town on their noisy bikes, Buford T. Justice is not about to let that cash cow speed through his hometown with grabbing a handful. By all means, stop for lunch – but if you’re just passing through, stay under the speed limit.

#8 Weekend Warrior
Never, ever speed on Friday and Saturday nights. Drunk driving patrols are heavier, and cops are more inclined to pull you over for the slightest offense in order to check for signs of alcohol. Don’t give them a reason. There is also a higher change you’ll encounter a drunk driver. So, get where you are going, but be safe in your execution.

Mind these tips and you will likely stay under the radar. What other tips can you share?

Related Links:
Tickets: I Got $53,000 In Parking Tickets In Just Two Years
HFL: Cop Rear-Ends Me and I’m At Fault?
Police: India’s Cardboard Traffic Cops

  • Phil Mills

    Find a rabbit… but don’t make it clear that you’re using them as a rabbit.

    I was taking my new-to-me FJR back home from a state or two away via the back-road state highway at… oh, pretty quick between towns (tip #7, folks, is God’s honest truth and you do NOT want to be the motorcyclist that didn’t catch the 65->25mph transition sign at the town limit) and noticed some guy in a sedan keeping up with me in my mirrors a couple hundred yards back. After that, we must have traded positions 5 or 6 times over the next 20 miles as each of us dropped back under the speed limit to let the other guy pass us up ’cause neither of us were feeling like being the other guy’s cop-bait.

    That was an irritating stretch of the trip.

    • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

      Good point. If the other guy catches you doing it then it’s the proper thing to trade places with him periodically.

  • NKMiUM

    Wear your gear. Helmet, jacket, gloves — the more gear the better. Cops are looking for squids because they’re usually riding way too fast. If you’re geared up, you look like the BMW adventure riders which are usually pretty decent riders. That’s pretty boring for a cop. So they’re looking for squids. Wear your gear and don’t look like or be one and you’ll be ok. Ridden for 4 years, never a ticket because of this despite being on a bright red sportbike.

    • John Krause

      I’ve never gotten pulled over on my 990 SMT, but just got a nasty speeding ticket in my VW Bug (shut up). I chalk it up to the gear thing. I really do think cops respect ATGATT (as they should). If only moto cops themselves wore appropriate gear.

      • HoldenL

        For the most part, I agree with you on the ATGATT thing, that cops respect it and blah blah blah. On the other hand, an off-duty cop on the way to work has pulled up beside me twice (same guy, same stoplight, a year apart) to berate me for riding fast in a roundabout, and both times he described how he doesn’t want to end up “scraping you off the road.”

        What I’ve wanted to say (but didn’t) is, “Uh, look at me. I’m wearing an Aerostich Roadcrafter one-piece, a full-face helmet, and high-quality gloves and boots. If I crash — and I haven’t crashed yet on the street — you’re not going to be scraping up anything. All the blood and guts will be contained within this protective cocoon.”

        I don’t understand why it’s not obvious to this dude that I’m ATG to a tremendous degree.

        • John Krause

          I think it’s the culture here. To law enforcement and mothers everywhere, motorcycles = irresponsibility and death. Wearing gear helps, but some people aren’t going to like us no matter what. You just can’t take it personally.

    • Craig Wixon

      Absolutely. No one ever bothers me in my neon yellow suit with saddlebags. Plus my DRZ can’t go that fast, anyway.

    • runnermatt

      I think the big bag on the back of my CBR250R helps too. I’ve never been pulled over on my bike. When I took the MSF course the instructor told us that cops “like to pick on bikes”. She road a Harley. Not sure if those two subjects are connected, but I can see cops picking on “Harleys” as much as sport bikes.

    • Thatmanstu

      I haven’t found most to be cognizant of either the gear or the implication of it………

  • the antagonist

    Any thoughts on radar detectors? They’re legal in my state and most surrounding states. Would it be a worth-wile investment? Any recommended moto-specific models or mods and accessories to make a car-based model work better on a bike?

    • shamowfski

      I never used one on my bike (only been pulled over once on a bike), but was saved many times in my cars with my valentine one.

    • gr33nspan

      I had a cheap one before (~100 bucks) and it went off all the time. I never knew how common radar signals are around the city. The more expensive ones claim to filter them out but I’ve never tried them myself. I used to be a cop and my department used LIDAR(laser) guns when we’re clocking people’s speed like the picture under the title, and a radar detector would be absolutely useless against that. That was years back, I’d guess that more and more departments have made that transition from RADAR to LIDAR.

    • jonoabq

      I never use them in town, but always, always, always use one when out for a day trip or longer. On bigger multi day trips you an get tired as the miles between the good bits tick by. Been saved a few times by police using pop-radar on other vehicles up ahead. If you save yourself from getting just one ticket the unit has paid for itself. Just don’t let a radar/laser detector lull you into a false sense of security. Be smart, collect and process all the information around you…the radar/laser detector is just an added layer of information.

    • runnermatt

      As gr33nspan stated more departments are switching to Lidar from Radar. Radar uses a wide “beam” which reflects off a lot of things which makes it fairly easy for a Radar detector to pick up. Lidar uses lasers which have a very narrow beam which makes it harder for the detector to pick up. There are also radar and laser jammers. Radar jammers are illegal nationwide because the way I understand it is that you would need to have a FCC license to transmit on the correct radio wave frequency (RADAR = RAdio Direction And Range). However, as I understand it laser jammers are legal everywhere because they do not transmit radio frequencies and they are so rare governments haven’t seen the need to write the legislation.

      I’ll admit that this is all old info though and could have changed since I learned it.

      I’m in Virginia and I believe Virginia, DC, Military bases and probably Federal parks are the places that they are illegal.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    #1 – Don’t speed. Everyone speeds to a certain extent and that is fine, but don’t do 80+ on public highways. In Chicago, there are speeding cameras on pretty much every major city street, so there is nothing you can do to avoid those. Also this article’s #1 doesn’t work. I once got a ticket doing the same thing. The cop came from behind and stopped me first.

  • Piglet2010

    One time I spotted a cop with a radar gun kneeling on an overpass like a sniper. Just out of sight down the road was a line of five cop cars on the shoulder – being in a pack would not help much.

    Best plan is to get a lawyer who can plead a ticket down to a non-moving violation – cheaper to spend $400-$500 dollars this way then get your insurance rates jacked up (not to mention if you have to drive for (for, not to) work).

    • Rameses the 2nd

      Or you can just go take a driver safety course for ~ $50 at a local community college after you get a moving violation and that takes care of the insurance rates increase.

  • mickedard

    I believe these rules may apply to automobiles, but not motorcycles. I have zero speeding tickets in my automobile, and just one recent speeding ticket on my motorcycle. I was following the middle of the pack rule driving through Nevada on highway 50, traveling at a high rate of speed along with everyone else. The state Trooper told me a speed he thought he had trapped me with on Radar, which wasn’t even close (he was way lower). He admitted to me they were targeting motorcycles that weekend because of a motorcycle show going on in Reno.

    • runnermatt

      If you went to court with a lawyer and dressed in a suit yourself the judge may have thrown it out. Judges don’t always like it when cops target certain groups especially since the cop told you that.

  • http://www.spiritstrike.com/ Adam Owens

    You know when you get stuck behind Gandma in the twisties and you keep an eye out or a safe passing zone? Sure, it’s double yellow, but on a bike it’s safe enough. I was just about to overtake Grandma when I saw a couple cops up the road. I backed off and watched for them for about a mile. Then I took my next chance to pass and enjoyed the curves all the way to the flats. Just as the last curve ended I saw the lights. He had waited and stayed just out of sight. I got my one and only performance award that day.

    • Chris McAlevy

      I *cough* know a guy who once passed said grandma on a double yellow, except that grandma turned out to be an off duty cop on his way to the same car show in the next town. Didn’t have his ticket book on him, told the rider that he’d get the ticket in the mail in a couple of weeks…never did. Dodged a bullet that time, my “friend” did.

  • runnermatt

    I’ve been practicing another technic for the past 6-7 years. When I see a cop; even when I am speeding, etc.; I make eye contact and I wave. Cops are used to dealing with stupid people and assholes all day. When you wave you are saying, “Hey, I’m a friendly good guy and I don’t hate you because either 1). I’m a cop too, or 2). I’m grateful you are there to protect and serve”.

    In that time frame I’ve been pulled over once and he let me go. Worst thing I can remember doing at that time… On a 55 mph two lane road in the passing zone I passed 4 cars at once (only 1 at a time is legal) at 100+ in the rain.

    I can confirm that all 8 points listed in the article are tested and valid.

    • bainelaker

      I do the exact same thing. Works like a charm.

  • runnermatt

    If you have to go to courts dress nice. A button down shirt AND tie with dress pants, belt, shoes, etc. at a minimum. A suit is best. Courtrooms are VERY conservative places. Ladies, I hate to say it but you should wear a skirt, or business suit with a skirt. These aren’t my rules it is just the way it has been explained to me. Look at lawyers, there is a reason they dress the way the do for court. If your lawyer isn’t wearing a suit to court and isn’t the judges fishing buddy you might want find a new lawyer.

    • Rameses the 2nd

      So true. At least wear something business casual. Anything less and chances are that judge will disregard everything that comes out of your mouth.

    • Mr.Paynter

      This, my first court date I wore a dress shirt, jeans and formal shoes, kinda smart-casual and when my date was remanded the bailiff followed me out and told me the judge was a stickler and the smarter I could dress the better I would fare.

      Best advice ever, suit and a haircut for my next date and a far less irritable judge.

    • Thatmanstu

      I have had good experience showing up on my bike ,road weary(lots of out of town appearances)and ATGATT and conspicuously carrying my lid…. making it easier to make the case that I am serious, experienced,safety conscious and riding for transport/commuting/work…..almost always afforded the judges full attention and consideration(as well as the courtroom in general)… ,had some outright dismissals as well as some diminished charges,fines etc…also some GTFO moments,but you can’t win ‘em all….

  • Scott Jones

    I follow most of points you made whenever I’m driving or riding – they work.

    But what if you get pulled? When the cop turns on the lights signal him with a wave or an OK to let him know you see him and are complying. Pull over quickly but do it smoothly and safely, use your blinker. Turn the bike off and pull off your lid. The most important thing though – man up. Honesty will get you much much farther than any bullshit you can come up with it. Cops can smell bullshit a mile away, so you’re better off to just save the story. No matter how much you might disagree with it breaking a traffic law comes with consequences, so don’t be a bitch about it.

    • Rob

      This seems solid. Any thoughts on riding in a group, say 3 or 4, and getting lit up? Who pulls over, leader? The last guy in line? Everybody?

      • Chris McAlevy

        The guy with the fewest warrants.

    • Thatmanstu

      I generally enjoy pulling over at speed and doing a full abs stop(roadsides can be sketchy..just engage and don’t sweat it) and watch his/her lid fly into the w/s…..particularly if I am well over the limit or in a spot where they are known to write….I have never had one mention it,and have gotten off with mild warnings on several occasions…although more often than not,they stopped me to write me………I have a lot of tickets,but also approaching half a million miles in 30+years of seat time,so not all that bad….I have some pretty great stories as well as some fairly effective court room strategies….have yet to get one here in France(kiss of death,I know….)

    • Timothy Gray

      If the officer does not have radar or did not clock you he CANT ticket you for speeding if you do not admit to it. NEVER EVER admit to doing something wrong. be polite be courteous, do not admit to anything.

      your answer to “you know how fast you were going” needs to be, “I am not sure, Last I looked it was the speed limit, I dont think I exceeded that.” If you admit to the speeding it will be noted and you will get a ticket for what you admitted to. you will NOT be able to wiggle out of it.

      Man up is for the fools or the rich.

  • ThruTheDunes

    I am surprised no one has mentioned the good ole double flash: keep an eye out for people coming at you signalling a waiting constabulary or radar setup ahead.

    When I lived in North Carolina, I was amazed at the lengths the police would go to to be sneaky. Pop the trunk under an overpass to look like they were broken down or had a flat. Mounted radar on the front bumper at a 90° angle and back into a side street or access road in the trees- had you clocked before you had any idea they were there. Saw a lot of double flashing in North Carolina…

    • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

      Word, bro. I too vehemently abhor lurking constabularies whilst I perigrinate about the local apothecaries and haberdasheries amount my enginecycle.

  • Steven Mansour

    #1 – Obey the law and don’t speed? Works every time.

  • Alan F

    make sure your speedometer is calibrated, and pay attention to those roadside signs with numbers on them.

  • Daniel

    #2 Stay Within A Pack…goes against finding your own space away from any pack so you can avoid having to deal with cars who don’t know you’re there during sudden unexpected maneuvers…especially in this case… hitting their brakes when they see a cop!

  • Rob

    Not ever speeding is a good way to not get a speeding ticket, but face it, on a bike it’s not much fun. All these tips are great; not being the fastest guy on the road and not fitting the profile will definitely give you some leeway to exceed the limit without much risk. I look at it this way- the speed limits and passing zones were not created with my bike in mind. If I occasionally need to break the rules to enjoy my ride that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I just try to be smart about it and not piss off the other road users.

  • Guest

    Sorry, but points 1 thru 4, I call them highway weasels. You might think you’re being slick hiding behind me, and letting me pace you.
    The truth is I know what you’re doing, and where I come from we share the risk, every few minutes someone in the pack slides forward (even if it’s only 2 riders/cars), exposing themselves, then someone else takes the risk.

    Don’t be a coward. whenever I see you doing pettily crap like that, my pace will be erratic, trying to throw yours off, once you pass me after getting annoyed, then you can pace me.

  • Alex DeSantiago

    Sorry, but points 1 & 2 I call them highway weasels. You might think you’re being slick hiding
    behind me, and letting me pace you.
    The truth is I know what you’re doing, and where I come from we share the risk, every few minutes someone in the pack slides forward (even if it’s only 2 riders/cars),
    exposing themselves, then someone else takes the risk.

    Don’t be a coward. whenever I see you doing pettily crap like that,
    my pace will become erratic, trying to throw yours off, once you pass me
    after getting annoyed, then you can pace me.

  • SeAsia Moto

    train yourself to look 10s or more ahead …

  • Kevin Boggs

    I agree with everything except avoiding the far left lane. I prefer to ride there not because it has a bearing on getting a ticket but I feel safer in that lane. If I should have a sudden problem I usually have some room to pull off the road to the left in a hurry plus I know that no cars are going to drift over from the left. Middle lanes are the worst and the far right lane means you are dealing with traffic from the onramps or those trying to get ready for the next off ramp.

  • Justin McClintock

    My last trip up to SC, I found the perfect rabbit. Bentley Continental Spur. He wanted to cruise at right around 100 mph. I was more than happy to observe this from a consistent 1/4 mile back.

  • Adam N.

    This, apparent, is mostly about highway cruising. In 15 years of recreational speeding -zero tickets- Go fast in the corners, and slow down in the straights. Cops are looking for speeding cars, terminal velocity for most cars will be at the end of a long straight. On those curvy back roads, the backer the better, lay off except in the twisties. Also, never ever speed in a 25 MPH zone or anywhere near a town center.

  • Tom

    I live in Seattle, and every car on the freeway drives at exactly 60 mph, no matter how many lanes there are, or how many miles you are from another car — or even if they’re in the passing lane. That basically ruins #1 for me.

    • Bugsmasher

      Thank you for helping me cross Seattle off of my list of cities I might one day consider moving to.