This past weekend I finally got back in the saddle after a long lay-off. Living in Miami means that in the summer with one hundred degree temperatures, my bike gets put away. I was excited about getting back on my motorcycle but, I felt rusty. I had to remind myself of all the different issues that face us when we ride. Here are two simple, yet important reminders-
One, I took this picture riding up US-27. I am in the left side of the lane because I was riding handlebar-to-handlebar with my friend, however, even if I wasn’t, I would still be on the left side of the lane. If this was a busy road, chances are if there was a car behind me that is going to switch lanes, they would do so while tailgating me since they have a large portion of the lane. By being on the left side of the lane in the right hand lane, I take over the lane completely, thus, forcing any car to switch over sooner to the left.
A couple of years back on that same road, I had to slow down because a few friends got stuck at a light. I was in the left lane and slowed down considerably while riding the left side of the lane. By the way, this road is fairly secluded and isolated so I am able to get away with that. When I look through my left side mirror, I see the other motorcycles are catching up to me. Instinctively, even though I was going to slide over to the right side of my own lane, I looked to my right-side mirror and was caught off-guard that my entire mirror was filled with the front grill of a vehicle. I lost my bearings for a second thinking I cut-off another vehicle, but then I realized I was still in my own lane and this car was sharing the lane with me! I hit the throttle and switched over to the right lane. I then look and confirm there are no cars visible at all in either lane as far as my eyes cold see. This cager could have simply gotten in the right lane to pass me up, but for reasons that will always defy all logic and reason, decided to share my lane and pass me up in my own lane! Had I slid over less than one foot, he would have taken out me and my girlfriend. And truth be told on an empty road like US-27, I doubt it he would have stopped! His front bumper was even with my saddlebag. Because of that day, I have never made that mistake again and no, the interaction between me and the driver was not very cordial. Now, every time I take over one side of the lane, I think of that day.
In addition, look at the dark strip in the center of the lane. That is all the oil leaked by cars and trucks. Always avoid the center of the lane! That morning, there were heavy downpours and that is one thing I can tell you for sure, and that is that oil and water do not mix! Next time you are at a gas station and the floor is wet, look down and if you say that “rainbow color” on the ground, that is oil, gas, and water, another slippery area to avoid.