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.
I will tell you from much experience that these are the four things I typically encounter from other motorcyclists while splitting lanes in heavy traffic. One of them (A) is the best/kindest option, one of them (D) is the dumbest/unsafest option, two of them (B & C) are just not very cool.
When B or C occur I can simply switch lanes, ride forward a ways and then slide back in where it is safe to do so. Personally, I think it’s a bit lame of the rider ahead to not pull in because it is easy for them to do and it’s just courteous. When I am lane splitting I make it a habit to be aware if another bike is approaching from behind and I recognize that it isn’t my job to police other riders’ speeds so if they are going quicker than I am I pull aside and allow them to pass. Most of the time they thank me with a wave and I feel good about the encounter.
I met Rider D the other day. He wasn’t going particularly slow but my pace was just a bit faster. Honestly, I was content to stay behind him except that he wasn’t particularly skilled at moving through tighter spaces. He was also on a brand new bike so maybe he was just getting comfortable with it. Eventually he sped way up and increased the distance between himself and me. I didn’t 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 the 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 to remember to ride his own ride. He acknowledged both with a nod. I’m happy that he just got spooked and not creamed. Especially on that brand new bike that didn’t even have a plate yet.
Pretty please, ride your own ride. Nobody should ever feel “pushed” by another rider. You always have options. Getting hurt is not one of them.