May 26, 2007

Two lane changes...

I've been witness to a remarkable array of riding skills and attitudes over the years. And I am sure, so have you. Yesterday, I didn't realise for quite a while that I was in a race. As in, I didn't even know that the chap dodging and burning sometimes ahead of me and the sometimes behind me was actually racing me.

However, watching him change lanes at four lanes every two seconds and in both directions, set me thinking about how I would change lanes, if I had to do so at the that sort of pace. Here's my thoughts.

I simply couldn't. There's no way I can change four lanes every two seconds even if I were going in one direction. He was obviously my superior

What I would do if I did for some reason is the following
I would be in the meat of the powerband and covering the brakes. You don't want to run short of braking or accleration in the middle of a lane change.

If there was a vehicle which I needed to get out of the way, I would overtake him first, and then move into his lane. Or, if that weren't possible, I'd fall back, see if there was space behind him, and if there was, then I would pull the change. But here's the gem. Suppose he was exactly where I didn't want to him, I pull just the slightest bit closer and give every visual indication possible that I was about to violently swerve into the his lane without warning. This usually means a fairly emphatic head turned lane space check or two. Indicators flashing away help. And the best is when you can time a downshift into the power also.

In most cases, this will cause the driver to at least lift off the accelerator pedal, which will, more than 90 per cent of the time, create the space you've been looking for. (International readers: Indian driving is a lot more aggressive than all of the developed world, so this much aggression, which would be considered anti-social is probably borderline normal).

If he doesn't back off, you make a mental note that this car/bus/bike/taxi/auto is a hardball driver, so you need to put some distance between him/her and yourself. Pronto. May or may not work with women drivers (please reserve your feminist comments, I'm all for women being better drivers than men. But in traffic bad drivers give me the chills, and most often I find a lady at the wheel when this happens. I also stereotype older drivers, chauffeurs, teenage drivers in dad's car etc. I am like that only. Kindly excuse).

But this is the easy bit. The really hard part is managing a two lane change (in the pic, the white car should be mentally replaced by a motorcycles...), passing through a (moving) gap marked by two vehicles, one for'ard of you and the other behind you. You then need to manage three velocities, two of which are more or less out of your control. So, you want to go through with the largest space possible. One trick is to do the above manouver to get the aft driver to slow down, this will increase the gap you have to play with. Another is to focus on one of the two, and then pass closer to him and keep a larger gap to other driver. So if you choose to focus on the chap ahead (I usually do), leave a smaller gap to him and a larger one behind. This way, you can react if he decided to brake and there is some space behind you to absorb the change. You do not want to cross the space at such an angle as to block both of tail lights of the car ahead. Also remember, that this move is more hazardous at low speeds when the car ahead, on the brakes, may come to a complete halt...

Focussing on the driver behind takes up too much attention, and I don't recommend it. Riding closer to his front bumper is not a great idea, neither is having to constantly check the rear view mirror... at the expense of forward vision. Again, this is a really, really hazardous move, not to be made unless under serious duress.

Oh and don't forget to ensure that the third lane is ready to receive you. A perfectly executed pass through and lands you on the side of a bus isn't so perfect after all, eh?

Other things to consider

  • You know there isn't anyone else in your blind spot, right?
  • You checked that some idiot biker isn't going for the very same space, right?
  • I re-wrote this post here...


Anonymous said...

A humble suggestion for you Rearset. Calm. down. How old are you? 22? I can understand the aggression. Get laid. Wank. Do something, what helps you blow that aggression off. Just don't give vent to that aggro on the road. You'll die. And we'll lose a brilliant blogger.

Calm the fuck down.

rearset said...

Er sorry. that post didn't quit come out the way I wanted it to. So I re-wrote it. How's this? Better?

And thanks for worrying about me

Anonymous said...

wer'nt u in taiwan recently??

rearset said...

Taiwan? No. Why?