How To Safely Pass Other Traffic

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How To Safely Pass Other Traffic

Passing. Totally legal, but also terribly controversial, likely to upset the passee and, if you don’t do it right, terribly dangerous. But, it’s also one of the unique abilities of the motorcycle and a skill any rider needs to master. Here’s how to safely pass other traffic on your motorcycle.

How To Safely Pass Other Traffic

The Theory

Traffic travels at a variety of speeds. On a road where a decent bike can travel at 75 mph in total, relaxed safety, your average passenger car may start squealing its Cheap-O TM-brand tires at just 50 mph. A big truck may struggle to average 35 mph and a school bus full of screaming children may bumble along at 25 mph. There’s no reason — not safety or respect or The LawTM — that you shouldn’t be able to determine your own safe pace.

But, for some reason, American drivers seem to consider passing to be an affront to their constitutional right to inconvenience others to their heart’s content. It makes people angry in a way only lane splitting seems to beat.

That’s not true in other countries, where passing is simply considered a reasonable exercise in personal progress. In fact, the United Kingdom’s police operated their own high performance riding school in which cops teach citizens how to safely control high performance motorcycles on the road. The thinking is that, if they’re going to ride them, they may as well do so as safely as possible. Less police work that way. I’ve taken that school and this advice is drawn from that experience. Believe it or not, but the laws of physics hold true no matter which side of the Atlantic you’re on.

How To Safely Pass Other Traffic

They’re Just Yellow Lines

The person who determined where they go is just a government employee or contractor earning a wage and, if equipped with some sort of manual, it’s likely as outdated as those textbooks you had in high school that listed 48 states. He/she had no way of knowing you or your bike’s capabilities, the individual traffic or weather conditions you face and likely had no way of controlling where the subcontractor/work program prisoner who actually sprayed the lines on the road.

You shouldn’t rely on double or dashed yellow lines to tell you where it’s safe to pass. Particularly on a bike, with our vastly superior performance and vision, we may be able to pass in safety on double yellows. Conversely, places with dashed lines — indicating legal passing zones — shouldn’t be trusted either. Would you trust the sub-contractor/prisoner working for a low-level government employee with your safety? I know I wouldn’t. I trust myself with my own safety and I make my own decisions on when and where it’s safe to pass.

How To Safely Pass Other Traffic

Where it’s Safe to Pass and When

As an accomplished motorcyclist, you have a complete and total appreciation of the performance capabilities of your bike in any and all conditions, right? If not, stop reading now and go figure that out first.

Think about the total length of what you’re trying to pass. One car? Three? A bus, a truck and a minivan? How much time and distance will it take to safely pass them? You need to be able to see a clear road ahead for at least that distance.

Now, assume the worst case scenario. If you ride anything like me, that’s if there’s an equivalent speed demon on an equivalently fast machine travelling in the opposite direction. Factor in their closing speed and add it to your safe passing distance.

If you can easily accelerate past the obstacle in question, in the distance you can see ahead, factoring in your doppelganger and the distance he’ll close, then it’s safe to pass.

When Not To Pass

Intersections, driveways, turning lanes, blind crests, blind corners and absolutely anything that may restrict vision or cause another vehicle to pull into your path or turn across it should stop you from attempting a pass. Wait until none of those things are present before passing. Consider this rule absolute and without exception.

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  • Doubleoevan

    “And, while the law states that it’s kosher to pass so long as the yellow line is dashed and you don’t exceed the speed limit…” I’m not sure about other states, but in Washington, it’s legal to exceed the speed limit while passing per RCW 46.61.425, assuming the vehicle you’re passing is going slower than the speed limit.

    • HoldenL

      “Well, that isn’t the law in Florida,” said the deputy who let me off with a warning.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        Florida Fun Traffic School

        “When Is Passing Prohibited?

        Believe it or not, it is illegal to exceed the speed limit to pass
        another vehicle. How do you pass someone then? Ideally, you should be
        traveling at least 10 mph faster than the car you want to overtake, as
        long as you do not exceed the speed limit—ideally.”

        What I wonder is why did you have to be told this?

        Here’s the real kicker. Ok so in WA state it’s legal to violate the speed-limit while passing.

        Is this because there is a state law saying this, or because there is no state law that says it’s illegal?

        Keep in mind that you don’t have to pass on a two-lane road. You can pass a car on a multilane highwa, on a one-lane street…and if it’s legal to speed while passing on a two-lane road then obviously it’s legal to speed while passing on a highway, right? Makes sense, right?

        Unless, again, there’s a law saying it’s illegal.

        So, we find RCW 46.61.425:

        “Quoting RCW 46.61.425

        (1) No person
        shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is
        necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law: PROVIDED, That a person following a vehicle driving at less than the legal maximum speed and desiring to pass such vehicle may exceed the speed limit, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.120 on
        highways having only one lane of traffic in each direction, at only such a speed and for only such a distance as is necessary to complete
        the pass with a reasonable margin of safety”

        RCW 46.61.120

        http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.120

        Limitations on overtaking on the left.

        No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing other traffic proceeding in the same
        direction unless authorized by the provisions of RCW 46.61.100 through 46.61.160 and 46.61.212
        and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and
        passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any traffic approaching from the opposite direction or any traffic
        overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the
        passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two
        hundred feet of any approaching traffic.”

        So this puts a number of restrictions on the pass. You can make the pass above the speed-limit fast enough to do it “with reasonable safety” but only on a two-lane road and only when the vehicle being passed is driving less than the speed limit. And you need to return to your lane before coming within 200 ft of approaching traffic.If the approach-speed is 120mph that gives you just over a second of clearance. So naturally you want to start such a pass as soon as possible and while traveling as fast as possible but you have an obvious problem. First, how do you judge “reasonableness” in this case? You can’t, really. You can only hope that a cop doesn’t take exception to it, and of course, that you don’t have an accident or upset the driver of the car that you’re passing. Second once you pass the car you are obligated to return to legal speeds as soon as possible. Again, “how soon”? Again that’s entirely up to the observing officer. The moral here is never quote the law as a defense unless you are also adjudicating the law. Because you may be legally correct but still lose on adjudication. By quoting the law, by establishing that you are fully aware of the law and in their eyes breaking it anyway, you are just giving the police and courts another weapon to use to convict you. Don’t argue the law with the police. Take away their incentive to enforce the law as they see it. Because the enforcement of the law is entirely up to the police. “Police discretion” allows them to sit there and watch you break the law all day long and do nothing about it whatsoever, if they think that it is wise to do so. Even if you are right and they are wrong and they know it they can still write you a ticket or worse.

        Even if, again, you think that it would be illegal for them to write you a ticket, they can always write you a ticket and then just not show up in court if you have the case brought before a judge. At that point there’s absolutely nothing that the traffic-judge can do about it other than dismiss your case for the cops’ failure to appear.

        Anyway all this yakking is the long stupid way of recognizing that arguing against the law and the government is a losers’ game unless you’re a lawyer. The government has no obligation to listen to you at all, or even to “recognize and respect your rights” beyond whatever method it has already decided to recognize and show respect for your rights. All that high-school civics-class crap will do is get you locked-up.

    • Adam Spano

      I remember way way back to driving school in ohio, and if my memory serves me, passing is to done at any speed as quickly as possible. I don’t think the law would take too kindly blasting past someone in a 45 at 100, and then taking a mile to return to regular speed though.

  • Paul Stevens

    Please tell me that you’re joking when you say that people will call the cops if you do something on your bike that they don’t like, like dare to pass? My daily commute consists of people who almost seem willing to drive their cars off of the hard shoulder to let bikes past, and all they want in return is a nod or wave of acknowledgement. When it comes to passing, I just exercise my own judgement and rely on what I can and cannot do as a rider. If it doesn’t feel right, stay put, otherwise, it’s nothing other than a mobile chicane. From what I can gather, safety data is based on what a 1960′s Ford Anglia was capable of, not what a late 2000′s car is capable of, and certainly not what a modern motorbike is capable of. As for passing cops? As long as you’re not taking the piss and riding far too fast for the conditions, the chances of them pulling you over are slim to none.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Where do you live?

      • Paul Stevens

        Johannesburg, South Africa

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Well, there you go.

    • LS650

      Where is this magical land?

    • Nick Odantzis

      It’s virtually the same situation in the UK – aside from those who are oblivious, or who have a chip on their shoulder, I find the majority of people will move over to the left of the lane to let you pass (remember, we are one of those few countries that drive on the left).

      • Rattashi

        They do it in my country as well (on the proper side that is;). Trouble is I never take the bait as I don’t want to leave my fate in someone else’s hands. So I just stay behind until *I* think it’s the best to overtake. I’ve even witnessed people clipping their rear right wheel on the pavement in the curve at relatively high speed as they panic after they see me in their rear view window (and I don’t even come close to them).

        • Nick Odantzis

          I should have clarified, I was referring to lower speeds – ie, cars driving below 20mph. But yes, I think some people can be a little OTT and cause danger to themselves or others. I’m just glad filtering is allowed in the UK as I can’t imagine living in the US where this is, in the majority, prohibited. Mind you, our roads are tiny and – I believe – hugely congested, in comparison…

    • Piglet2010

      In the US, the AASHTO standards for radius of curvature and design speeds are based on lateral acceleration tests done on asphaltic pavement in the rain in the late 1940′s – yeah, tires and suspensions have improved a little bit from then, eh?

    • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

      because there are assholes on bikes too.

      You can make a pass without riding like an asshole, but if you do it like an asshole that’s a different story.

  • Michael Howard

    I guess I must be lucky in that I’ve never ridden anywhere (in the U.S. and Europe) where making a normal pass, at normal speeds, in a normal manner resulted in the passee being so offended and infuriated they called the police. What would they be reporting if you did nothing illegal? And how would you even know they called the police unless you were then stopped by an LEO about it?

    • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

      because they’re assholes

      the police, at least in my part of the country, aren’t going to respond to someone “making unsafe lane-changes”
      they *will* respond if they get a report of you “racing” or “driving recklessly at high speed”.

      But still they have to actually catch you doing that to ticket you for it. All they can do is be on the lookout, which they usually are anyway.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean that the asshole calling in on you is telling the truth.
      9 times out of 10, if they are assholes, they’re going to lie about what you’re doing.
      And that’s assuming they didn’t instigate it.

      Did you know that it is literally against the law in some states to drive in the left lane at the same speed as traffic to the right?
      Yet you will hear people say that they have “the right” to do xxxMPH in the left lane.
      So what if it jams the highway and creates a dangerous traffic situation. Who gives a fuck.

      • BillW

        No kidding. Years ago, I worked with a young woman who once told me she preferred to drive in the left-hand lane, at the speed limit, and that once on the freeway, she never looked in her rearview mirrors! It took all my self control to keep from slapping her.

        • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

          every day I drive in rush-hour traffic I am reminded of the fact that it only takes one asshole blocking the left lane to piss-off a whole lot of people.

  • Mohd Shahruzy

    my general rule of thumb on the road with my measly 125 moped is “HOLY CRAP theres a BIGASS Truck catching up from behind i gotta get away from it!”

    • Piglet2010

      When I ride my 108cc scooter on the expressway*, I watch overtaking traffic very carefully so I can bail to the shoulder if needed.

      *In a few places, it is very hard to “get from here to there” without going a few miles on it.

  • http://www.eastwestbrothersgarage.com/ East-West Brothers Garage

    Encouraging people to disobey the law (e.g. ignoring the lane markings to make a pass) seems like a bad idea and a bit irresponsible. While the presence of a dashed line should be taken as a guide, it is up to the rider to judge when it is safest to pass. Oftentimes, the presence of the double-yellow line is designed to discourage unsafe passing by cars and trucks, but should still apply to motorcyclists not because of the performance of our vehicles, but because of the expectations of the car or truck coming the other way. As responsible motorcyclists, we should encourage others to ride as responsibly as possible and to avoid doing things that could potentially antagonize other road users and create unsafe situations for others.

    • Piglet2010

      I was in the situation where a car was going about 5 mph under the limit, I was about 3 seconds behind, and Bubba pulling a load of hogs gets right up behind me. So no way am I going to risk braking with 30+ tons of Class 8 truck less than 20 feet away, so I downshifted to 3rd and blew past the car on the double yellow (and lacking a RPG settled for flipping Bubba the bird).

    • Jack Meoph

      “As responsible motorcyclists”
      that just makes me want to puke.

      • Davidabl2

        Maybe he was doing a “nod and a wink” as he typed:-)

  • Justin McClintock

    One other consideration to keep in mind. Not so much an issue on a motorcycle usually, unless it’s a small one, but….people speeding up when you go to pass them. Take that into consideration when you’re thinking about passing distances. Here on the east coast, it’s really rather common that people will do that. Sometimes it’s because they’re just off in their own little world and realize they should be going faster by the fact that they’re getting passed. They don’t mean any harm, but they’re causing it because they’re oblivious. The others are actively annoyed at the very thought that somebody might dare try to go faster than they want to. By God, they don’t want to drive faster than X, but at the same time desire to be the fastest thing out there and you’re a horrible person for daring to disagree with that. At least that’s my experience. Not sure if the left coast has these same problems, but the east coast sure as heck does.

    • Smittyman

      I’m on the east coast and I see this all the time too. You have to take into consideration that the (either oblivious or prideful) passee will accelerate as you pass them.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        LOL yep until they realize they’re doing 80 trying to keep up :)

    • Randy S

      +1

      Unfortunately tends to happen down here in Texas too.

    • bluemoco

      +1

      It happens here in flyover country, too. I live in MN and see this behavior ALL the time.

      Many of our 2-lane roads have passing lanes, and that is where this behavior is the most evident. Traffic stacks up behind a slower car (going say, 55 in a 55 zone), but once that slow car reaches the passing lane, they accelerate to 65mph. Until they reach the end of the passing lane. Then it’s back down to 55mph. To pass them in the passing lanes, you have to hit 70mph or better and hope that The Law isn’t waiting for you at the end of the passing lane…

      • Piglet2010

        That is why I drop way back, then speed up so when the passing zone starts they are going 50-ish while I am near 80 mph – speed differential is low enough I can brake and pull back in if there is oncoming traffic, but they will not be able to speed up to prevent me from passing unless they have 600+ HP (even on my modestly powered Bonnie and Deauville).

    • UrbanMoto

      George Carlin nailed it: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

  • dtrides

    One thing I observe up in the wilds of Nor Cal (not central Cal, aka: the ‘Bay Area’) is the phenomenon of RV’s, folks rubber necking at the gorgeous scenery, and those not use to driving curvy roads, is to go go slow in those scary ‘curvy’ parts and then accelerate hard back to the speed limit when things straighten out in the few passing zones still left. In fact some LEOS camp out in those few passing areas to nab those no-good speeders. Just something to keep in mind.
    Also notice that some RV’ers (as well as HD riders) feel safer in tight packs making passing a tough proposition. Sometimes the best way to deal with them is not pass, but pull over and take in vistas or chat with your friends for a couple of minutes letting the rolling road block to move far up the road. Rinse and repeat as needed:).
    DT

    • Stuki

      I have noticed that as well. I blame all the baked out hippies rolling around in dilapidated RVs powered by used up cooking oil up there. If you don’t mind the somewhat intense visceralness of it all, ducking past them on the (double) yellow, just as they meet anther one of their comrades, is actually not as unsafe as it looks. In general, people tend to move to their lane’s outside, when they meet opposing traffic, creating a fairly wide canyon to duck through. I don’t recommend it, but riding behind 60s era, barely maintained diesels burning someones leftover fish and chips for hours probably ain’t entirely safe either.

      But anyway; on a DT, just go where the landwhales (and donut grazers) can’t…. Norcal has so much to offer off pavement.

      Another, in my experience, much more universal nuisance that requires action not really sanctioned or recommended, is the dreaded “cruise clots” on 2 lane divided highways. I.e. Bubba sets his cruise control to X. So does Bo. But all cars have marginally different speedos; hence bubba goes 1/100th mph faster than Bo. And when he catches up, instead of doing the scrub 1mph and see if your still gaining, if so scrub another, if still gaining, up 5mph while making the pass, then 3 down to get to your preset speed; that even cops will be OK with; Bubba simply moves into the left lane and proceeds to make a pass taking 25 minutes……. And then, about 40 cars pile up behind them, double file…….

      In a car, getting stuck behind these guys is reasonable grounds for anything from tailgating to then and there suicide and deciding America is so f’ed You might as well join the terrorists, but on a bike, simply splitting between the clotted cars, even if at way higher speeds than recommended for splitting; is still a viable option.

      • BillW

        Talking about the cruise clots, we get that here in Cali with semis. For some reason, Cali has decided that semis and other vehicles pulling trailers cannot exceed 55 mph, regardless of the speed limit for other traffic. So, on a divided highway or freeway, we get one semi going 54.9 mph being passed by another going 55, all in a 70 mph zone. I was once in a stop-and-go traffic jam that turned out to be caused by this operation taking up two of the three lanes!

    • Justin McClintock

      Sadly, we get those on the east coast too. Last trip to Deals Gap, I had one particular pass where I finally just gave up because the lady I was following in the Suburban was running about 15 mph in the corners and would accelerate as hard as that thing could in anything resembling a straight section. And she was NOT about to use a turn off. I finally just used one myself and chilled for a bit. Sad part is, I think I waited 10 minutes and still caught her in 5.

    • Ryland Brown

      Where in the real Northern CA do you live? I am from good ole Del Norte County, and really miss those river canyon roads.

      • dtrides

        Hwy 36 is my back door…

        • BillW

          You are horribly spoiled! :)

          • dtrides

            The latest? Park Rangers with hand held radar detectors in the middle of nowhere on 36 :(

            • gleite311

              Seriously? I’m glad my friends and I didn’t see any of them when we passed through there last May. That’s my all-time favorite road.

              • dtrides

                We saw them out with their new toy east of Forest Glen on several occasions . Apparently the forest service is getting the hand me downs from the CHP is what I heard from one source.
                I know for a fact LEOS do speed monitoring near Red Bluff on 36 from time to time but the middle portion was more ‘ride at your own discretion’. Times are a changing..

        • Ryland Brown

          On the 101 side, or the 5?

  • Reid

    I tried to pass a terminally slow minivan the other day (we’re talking 40 mph in a 55 mph zone) and the driver proceeded to speed up and honk her horn at me while pulling alongside for a moment, an activity that, given my rural place of residence, usually precedes a shotgun being propped out the window. Needless to say I was pretty scared.

    • Leandro Marinelli

      I cannot even think of living in a place where being shot for something like that is a possibility.

      • Reid

        I was only joking, good sir.

        • Leandro Marinelli

          Allright then!
          I live in Europe now where that never happens but I was born in South America and that’s a possibility there, so your comment wasn’t surprising at all. ;)

          • Reid

            I’m sorry if my poor attempt at humor came across badly. While there are definitely a lot of folks here at home who drive around with a hunting rifle or shotgun in their truck, I can honestly say that most everyone is very considerate and as harmless as harmless gets (harmless to people, that is). However, it cannot be understated just how little the average US driver respects a motorcyclist. The majority are so ambivalent it’s dangerous because you never know when they’ll be talking on a cell phone and side-swipe you. A large minority (like the lady in my story) actively think of motorcyclists as thugs and hooligans. A small minority are legitimately good drivers and watch out for all vehicles but see motorcycles as no more than a play-thing. The smallest portion think bikes are cool and probably own one or would at least consider it.

        • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

          sorry but that isn’t a humorous topic.

    • NextTurn

      All joking aside. All it takes is one maladjusted individual or one outburst of blind rage to make a moment on the road switch from a simple interaction in passing to a serious and threatening situation. I have routinely dealt with outwardly aggressive drivers both from my 4 wheel vehicles and my motorcycle. While most of these don’t involve guns (none in my experience), a vehicle of any size can be used as a weapon – a horribly intimidating and destructive weapon. Riding a motorcycle regularly has taught me to quickly find the safest way to put distance between myself and any threatening person while adjusting my reactions to the ever changing situation. Some times that is passing. Some times that is slowing down. Almost every time my motorcycle is better at keeping a safe distance due to its size, maneuverability, and in some cases – its acceleration.

  • Clint Keener

    While coming back from a ride in the mountains, my friend made a somewhat unsafe solid yellow pass around a few cars. Happened to pass a sheriff coming the other direction.

    Well the good ol’ sheriff happened to flip a U turn, PASS ME IN MY LANE, the other cars very dangerously, BRAKE CHECKED MY FRIEND AND PULLED OUT HIS GUN.

    After he wrote the ticket, said “Nice bike!”

    • Justin McClintock

      I think I might feel inclined to report him to his superiors had I been in your situation.

  • HoldenL

    I pass cops frequently. In my ‘hood they often drive 43 in a 45 where you can ride 50 with impunity. So I pass ‘em going 48 or 49. Maybe they see the ‘Stich and the white helmet and figure that I know what I’m doing.

  • Piglet2010

    When you get stuck behind someone taking every curve at 15 mph and going 20 mph under the limit on the straights of a winding road with no marked passing zones for miles, and they will not pull over (if they even look in their mirrors), it is ridiculous *not* to pass at some point.

    • BillW

      That’s what I said.

    • Khali

      I think the same, but here it is usually 15mph at curves and 20mph OVER the limit on the straights. Very annoying. We call them “Straightrunners” or “Straightspeeders”, dont know what would be the exact translation.

      • Piglet2010

        The worst offenders are motor-homes (aka caravans) – fortunately they do not accelerate quickly on the straights.

        The obvious solution is to drop back a bit and take the corner hard, so you are starting the pass going 30+ mph faster than they are before they can get on the throttle.

        • Khali

          I cant see why they would offend..the word “caravan” also means “long line of vehicles created by a very slow one” in Spanish. Guess why.

          • Piglet2010

            Worst offenders at backing up traffic, not worst offenders at speeding up on the straights.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    ” I know I wouldn’t. I trust myself with my own safety and I make my own decisions on when and where it’s safe to pass.”

    …and the state will make its own decisions about where and when you go to jail.

  • Jack Meoph

    If they really didn’t want you to pass over the double yellow, they would have put glass or nails in there, but they didn’t, so I pass where ever and when ever I think it’s safe and feasible. CA has recently started DYing every stretch of road that they can, and it’s ridiculous to dumb everything down to the lowest common denominator. Just because the lame txting on their phone can’t make a pass without endangering everyone else on the road doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t. And BTW, you may not like me passing you, but until you start paying for my tickets, shut your pie hole and mind your own business.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    they’re there because your local jurisdiction put them there
    don’t waste time and brain-power trying to think of why they are there
    you clearly don’t have the brain-power to spare

  • William Connor

    Want to have a real challenge? Ride your favorite road at a decent speed and stay in your lane. Don’t cheat the corner, don’t cross the lines. Then see how much more difficult and challenging that road becomes. There is an S bend on one of my favorite roads if you straight line it you can run through it at 50 mph easily, but if you follow the road and don’t cross the center line you maybe can do 30, it is more fun and more technical as well. Everytime you cross that center line you risk another persons life who might be coming the other way. Use every inch of your lane but make staying in your lane the challenge of the ride.

  • Bill J

    In California, the yellow lines on the roadway were designed by traffic or civil engineers taking into account the turning radii, sight distance, vertical and horizontal curves, and potential obstacles in the roadway. The yellow lines are not thrown down on a whim, contrary to what you think/feel/wrote. Pass at your own discretion, but do it understanding that an engineer has done some pre-thinking for you and offered you some suggestions through their yellow line placement…

    • http://paulthepcphysician.com Paul M Edwards

      It is true, not just in California, but all over the USA and in fact most of the civilized world, that civil engineering studies are performed as the basis of the “suggestions” aka passing zones.

      However, those suggestions and engineering are based on the lowest-common-denominator, i.e. large trucks that handle and perform poorly as well as having poor visibility. Motorcycles, being several orders of magnitude better in handling, performance (even your 700+ lb Harley), and visibility can generally use something akin to that string-theory new-math and bend the lines a bit without exerting much effort or measurably decreasing factors of safety for anyone involved.

      At least here in California the drivers are generally more aware of us motorcyclists due to the fact that lane sharing is more commonplace and expected. I even had a cop move aside in the HOV lane on the freeway and encourage me to filter past last weekend when we hit some traffic which was really cool.

  • Adam Spano

    I’ve gotten more bold with my passing this year. I realized that it’s pointless for me to be held up by some yokel in a pickup doing 5-10 under the limit simply because there are double yellows there. Those double yellows were painted for the average driver, not someone on a high performance bike. The idea that a camry wouldn’t safely be able to pass in that spot does not mean that a S1000RR can’t safely make a pass there either. Obviously common sense dictates everything, oncoming traffic, intersections and what not, but for the most part you can get around vehicles in 1/2-1/4 the time and distance it would take a passenger car to do the same. That turns a lot of double yellow areas into stripes if you’re on two wheels.

  • MotoEnthusiast

    What kind of bike is that white one?

  • Ryan Carman

    PLEASE
    http://youtu.be/zuCN6CD8j_s
    It really is a silly expression

  • Peter Houck

    When traffic get’s hairy…I sometimes pull over at the next mini-mart…cool my heels and let the clog sort itself out. Easier on the nerves and safer as well…