You are in your car riding along anstate, state road or county road when suddenly you find yourself among a group of motorcyclist traveling along the same route. Although you are a motorist yourself but only traveling in a different mode of transportation, it suddenly occurs to you that the rules seem similar but very different. The motorcyclists you are viewing are in what appears to be a formation. They are NOT riding side by side, they are NOT riding up close and tailgating or should I say fender gating, but they are, what appears to be, to some degree. Synchronized in their maneuvers from their stop and go, to their braking and into their cornering. Shadow spots at dips in the roads and at stop signs and traffic lights are avoided.
You have never thought twice about it until this particular day. There is an object in the road just right of the centerline and as the bikes approach it, a foot or hand extends out from the lead bike then in unison arms begin to extend or feet begin to point in an outward motion. Now, you have witnessed this somewhat odd ritual for some time and your curiosity is getting the best of you. So upon your arrival at home you begin to inquire about this road behavior you witnessed today. This is what you learn:
Staggering in a formation compared to riding side by side allows each bike an escape route if circumstances require quick turns or maneuvering. The inside lane rider now has room to move left or right as does the outside rider. If together, side by side, they would each have an undesired choice … the ditch, the approaching car or each other. Steer Clear!
Dark shadows in the road, commonly found in dips in the road, at traffic lights and stop sign intersections are a potential hazard for a motorcyclist. This is oil residue from vehicles. When a vehicle stops in the road, often drips of oil and other vehicle fluids may drop onto the pavement. Multiply this by tens of thousands of vehicles passing those areas daily and an ice skating rink has been built for a motorcycle. This is why a motorcyclist, assuming they are aware of the treacherous condition, will steer to the side or take any evasive step possible to avoid hitting the spots, especially in wet conditions.
Any object in the road poses a potential problem for a vehicle but especially for one with two wheels. Whether it is a rock, tire tread or road kill, that unexpected obstacle is an invitation to an accident. The apprehensive odd looking behavior you witnessed that day when arms and hands were waving and boots were pointing left or right toward the ground was sign language from the lead rider or who sees an object first, indicating a road hazard is pending or present. Be Alert!
Ride Safe and Never Stop Exploring – Terry