Let’s say that you are comfortably splitting lanes on the highway in slow, backed up traffic. Another motorcycle or scooter approaches from behind. What do you do?
A) Move aside so that the other bike can safely pass.
B) Keep going and ignore the bike behind you.
C) Flip off the rider behind you and continue on.
D) Speed up beyond your comfort level because you are feeling “chased” by the other rider.
These are the four things I typically encounter from other riders while splitting lanes in heavy traffic. One of them (A) is the best/kindest option, one of them (D) is the dumbest/unsafest option, (B) is usually a rider who doesn’t know what to do and isn’t very confident yet, and (C) is a lizard brain who can’t take the ego hit of someone going in front of them.
When (B) or (C) occur we can switch lanes, ride forward a ways and then slide back in where it’s safe. When lane splitting I make it a habit to check for riders coming from behind. And I recognize that it isn’t my job to police other riders if they are going quicker than I am regardless of whether I think they are being unsafe. So I pull aside and let them pass. Most of the time they thank me with a wave and I feel good about the encounter.
The other day I came up on Rider D. He wasn’t going particularly slow but my pace was just a bit quicker. Honestly, I was content to stay behind him except that he wasn’t very skilled at moving through tighter spaces. He was also on a brand new motorcycle (dealer temporary plate) so maybe he was just getting comfortable with it. Shortly after he realized I was behind him he sped way up and increased the distance between himself and me. I didn’t even want to ride that fast so I chose the pace I was happy with and let him go. Not long afterwards, a car began to switch lanes and the guy on his new bike barely avoided getting clipped. He was lucky!
I was glad when he ended up getting off at my exit and we both pulled up to the red light at the bottom of the off-ramp. I lifted my lid and told him that if that car had hit him it would have been his fault and remember to ride his own ride. He nodded affirmative, ‘nuf said. I’m really relieved that he only got spooked and not creamed. Especially on that gorgeous new machine.
Pretty please, ride your own ride. Nobody should ever feel “pushed” by another motorcyclist. You always have options. Getting hurt is not one of them.