I am all over the place!
Written by Andy Phillips
All drivers or riders who have studied advanced driving or riding know that road position can make a difference. It can affect the smoothness of your drive or ride and have an impact on your safety.
We position for several reasons:
Our position can keep us away from danger or a developing danger.
It can help us gain or maintain grip on the road (as well as not disappearing in to a pothole or sliding on a manhole cover!).
It can help us be seen by other road users, allowing them time to react to our presence.
It allows a better view of the road and any previously hidden dangers, maybe an earlier view of the danger.
Can a ‘good’ position cause a problem for us?
I might argue yes:
Our position, including our bikes lean angle or cars direction provides information to other road users.
We may rely on our position to give us the benefits listed above but; our positional information has to be processed by people who may or may not have been exposed to advanced driving or riding techniques. We may make things even more confusing by over positioning when it may only have a marginal benefit to us.
Maybe this example might help to illustrate my point:
Travelling along a wide road in a built up area where we have oncoming traffic (as well as all the normal road hazards). We might position to allow a vehicle exiting a junction to see us through our movement sideways as well as moving more in to their visual field. But what does that movement tell other road users? Has that movement placed us in to greater danger from following vehicles who might think we are turning? Are we now something that could or needs to be overtaken / undertaken?
Another example is extending our view round a left hand bend by moving either towards the centre road markings or even more towards the offside of the road. This allows us, arguably (in the more extreme position), a better view. How could this be interpreted by oncoming vehicles?
This is only my humble view as the writer of this article, but sometimes we might be too clever for our own good. We might overstate our position. We should be acutely aware of how our position might be interpreted and weigh up the benefits to us.
The last thing we want is a great position to be a bad position!
Please comment and let us know what you think.