Motorcycling: the fine art of thinking

Britt Santowski offers Throttle Therapy for motorcycle riders, and subscribes a dose of knowledge, taken with a full cup of thinking.

Contrary to what the term “lane position” suggests, it’s not a geographical placement but a way of being.

You can identify those not in the know. They are the ones that have heard through the grapevine that dominant means riding in the left third of the lane (position “1”). So no matter what, no matter where, they assert their (false) knowledge of dominance by mindlessly riding on the left portion of the lane.

Not correct. Dominant means holding ownership over the lane. It means strategically positioning yourself so that if another vehicle needs to pass you, you force them to do a full and complete lane change. You do NOT invite them to share a portion of your lane.

In the case of a two-lane highway, for example, riding in the left third of the lane (position “1”) when passing another vehicle opens up your entire lane for any other Tom or Dick who wants to pass as well. This massive space, now wide enough for another vehicle, invites other motorists to share your lane.

Even dividing the lane into equal thirds, as is suggested by the diagram, is misleading. When positioning yourself in the “dominant” lane position — whether left, right or centre — you’re really moving incrementally. Your position should be in relation to where people sit in a car: in the driver’s seat, in the passenger seat, or in the middle seat.

If you ride based on the location of the tires on a car, keep in mind that your body sits on top of the wheel (with knees, feet and elbows sticking out), whereas a person in a vehicle sits on the inside of the wheel.

That is (approximately) where you should be positioning yourself.

Those bikers who ride based on the tire groves of cars often have sundry body parts hanging over the centre line. Bear in mind that the centre line is also known as the suicide line, for good reason. You don’t have to be fully over the line to be fully impacted by oncoming traffic. Nosirree, only a part of you needs to make contact.

As with anything else I have written in this column, the rules are not exact. The description of the dominant lane position is intended as a guideline for the thinking person. If conditions suggest something else is required to retain dominance, or if suddenly safety precedes dominance, please adjust accordingly. Wider lanes, narrower lanes, less traffic, more traffic, gravel or oil on the road will all contribute to your ongoing analysis of where you need to be.

If you remember the point of riding dominant (discouraging lane sharing) and mix that with an ounce of flexibility and another ounce of rationality, you will almost never find yourself in that horrible situation where some moron is putting you in danger by choosing to share your lane on their own volition.

Dominant lane placement. It’s not a dogma; it’s a philosophy.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
A little girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

John Ludlow is making leis for sale for $20 each, with all proceeds to be donated to the Comox Valley Transition Society. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Celebrating kindness, joy and helping others on Lei Day

Ludlow is making leis for sale with proceeds to be donated to the Comox Valley Transition Society

Cumberland is finalizing its tax rate bylaw for the year, which will see a 4.93 per cent increase. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland moving ahead on 4.93 tax hike

Residential rates’ hike was less than projected during planning stages

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

The Connect Warming Centre is located at 685 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay. File photo
Potential new space for Courtenay warming centre falls through

The Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness had hoped to move the… Continue reading

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read