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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reposting something I wrote on another forum in 2012.
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Following is much safer than leading out. Yes really. I know there is strong bike culture to hate following anything. Rules. Laws. Convention. To pass everything on the road to prove that you can't be caged in. And to try to out ride your commonly worthless mirrors (except on the CBR250R) since you have no clue what is going on behind you. But here again I am objective and don't automatically fall in with the way everyone else does it. It is much safer to follow a vehicle, any vehicle, in the city or on the highway, than it is to lead out on an open road. Anything bad that can happen, such as a car or an animal running into the road, will happen to THEM. I have 500,000 miles of safe driving to prove my concept. Once you become accustomed to a following riding style with a blocker/ guardian angel, you will realize how utterly naked you are to hazards running into, or turning across your lane when leading out alone. Wherever there are deer crossing, I feel much safer with a blocker in front of me. Big trucks are probably the best choice on the highway at night and in bad weather. They are pros and drive millions of miles. They sit up much higher and can see even better in bad weather. My feeble motorcycle lights work better bouncing off the back of their rig and light up like it is day. Their actions and reactions show you advanced warnings of hazards way up the road before you would have seen them. Their big tires temporarily plow a clear path on the pavement from standing water so I have a better surface to ride on. Hypermilers don't go much over the speed limit so now it is nice that speeders coming up behind you are already planning to move around the truck from much father back and don't blame you for being "some slow guy in the way". Large cars and trucks get seen. Motorcycles are invisible. Daydreaming drivers will wake up when they see the vehicle you are following and then will also see you. Following is much safer than leading out.
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http://www.cbr250.net/forum/honda-c...75-following-much-safer-than-leading-out.html
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Go ahead and believe that if you want, but your single viewpoint is anything but objective. No single riding tactic can possibly be proven effective all of the time. I've been driving behind a vehicle on the freeway when it kicked up a board that hit my windshield at head level. If that scenario played out on a bike then, well, a 2mm thick faceshield isn't going to help much. No way to predict that one. Then there was the time when I was doing 20 mph behind a car on my bike and didn't see a board till it was too late to do anything but ride over it. Too bad that board was curved in such a way that it rotated as my front wheel passed over it and jammed against the frame and acted like a ski. I was down in less than a second. ....There must be something about me and boards ;)

The fact is that you may have a car running "interference" in front of you but that also prevents you from seeing as much of the situations that are unfolding in front of you, which by definition limits your choices of what you can do. There may be advanteges to your approach but there can also be disadvantages.
Another way that you give up some degree of control is because you have no knowledge of ability of the person driving the car in front of you and you cannot predict what they will do in all situations. It could very well be that they do something that will cost you dearly just because you are behind them.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that it's safer to always be behind a car or truck. Yet I am under no illusions that I am able to completely control every situation that I am presented with while I am riding a motorcycle if I'm "in front". That is why I approach my riding by continually practicing and developing my riding and situational awareness skills to be the best rider I can be. As for having a way to control all possible situations, I cannot possibly do that. So the answer for me is to leave myself in the hands of God at that point. I do my part and He does His.
 

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Following is boring. You are confined to the speed of the person leading which goes against one of the fundamental laws of riding: the speed limit is for everyone else.

Then you have to factor in the conservatism of the person leading. If a pedestrian is approaching a crosswalk and is not yet ready to cross, the person leading makes the decision as to whether to stop or not. You have no say. And if you want to go around them, it becomes much more dangerous. If you are the person leading, you can just add more throttle and go past. Same goes for traffic lights. You bet your ass I am running every yellow as long as there aren't opposing left turners. But if a car is in front of me, that isn't my call to make (unless there are multiple lanes).

The speed I choose to travel at is well above the speed limit, but low enough that I can respond to hazards. I choose to exercise my professional judgment when it comes to riding and I've been rewarded by being accident free.

The rules of the road are based on a very low denominator which a motorcycle is well above. Some roads have double yellow lines that go on for miles, despite perfect sight lines. Would you choose to sit behind someone because of some arbitrary rule some bureaucrat thought was best? Or do you exercise good judgment and make the safe pass?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Following is boring. You are confined to the speed of the person leading which goes against one of the fundamental laws of riding: the speed limit is for everyone else.

Then you have to factor in the conservatism of the person leading. If a pedestrian is approaching a crosswalk and is not yet ready to cross, the person leading makes the decision as to whether to stop or not. You have no say. And if you want to go around them, it becomes much more dangerous. If you are the person leading, you can just add more throttle and go past. Same goes for traffic lights. You bet your ass I am running every yellow as long as there aren't opposing left turners. But if a car is in front of me, that isn't my call to make (unless there are multiple lanes).

The speed I choose to travel at is well above the speed limit, but low enough that I can respond to hazards. I choose to exercise my professional judgment when it comes to riding and I've been rewarded by being accident free.

The rules of the road are based on a very low denominator which a motorcycle is well above. Some roads have double yellow lines that go on for miles, despite perfect sight lines. Would you choose to sit behind someone because of some arbitrary rule some bureaucrat thought was best? Or do you exercise good judgment and make the safe pass?
How much experience do you have riding motorcycles?


Congratulations. You just summarized the attitude I see as the cause of most youtube videos where the motorcyclist gets into trouble and then ends up giving the car the finger. Or shedding skin.
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http://www.r3-forums.com/forum/289-yamaha-r3-general-discussion/91850-take-responsibility.html
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I have to agree with you there, sendler.
 

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****, I'm on the fence either way. This makes it really hard for me when I go on the highway.. should I enter the "motorcycle in front" lane or the "motorcycle behind" lane?! I'M CONFSUED!
 
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****, I'm on the fence either way. This makes it really hard for me when I go on the highway.. should I enter the "motorcycle in front" lane or the "motorcycle behind" lane?! I'M CONFSUED!

I guess it all depends on whether you are heading North or South vs East or West!
 

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There's too many variables while riding to say whether following or leading is the best.

In the day, I like to pass other cars and lead just to see what's in front of me, as well as get away from cars around me. Around here, lot of tourists and just bad drivers all around, it's good to just pass them all to create space for yourself.

At night, I'll take it a bit easy and distance myself from cars in front of me, or use their lights to help me scan the road as well.
 

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Following is generally safer, leading is always more enjoyable. Know your skill level and ride accordingly, do the occasional track day to to push the envelope. As for all the "I'm right, you're wrong, so go **** yourself" I blame the Internet.
 

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I usually lead; it ticks me off to have a fast bike and be stuck behind a slow car. That being said, I always watch my speed and manouvres considering anything can happen out there. When riding with the bike club, I never take the lead; I'm too slow lol!
 
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