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Army Strong. Ride Long
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During the numerous MSF courses I've taken, I was always taught that there are three parts to a lane on the road - the two sides where a car's tires ride, and the middle or junk lane. I was always told to ride in one of the two tire lanes because all the oil, radiator leaks, and crap off of a car lands in the middle and also the road is usually crested there in the middle. While I find this true most of the time, I find that riding there (in the center of the lane) in the rain is often better for me as roads around here seem to cup in the tire lanes (either intentionally or due to years of carrying the weight of the cars there) and the water pools up quicker causing my bike to hydro plane or get pulled around by deeper water. That is on highways mostly. On secondary and city roads, I find the "center" lane is more free of bumps, potholes and man holes covers, which annoy the heck out of me for some reason.
Anyone observe this or am I nuts? :)
Happy Thanksgiving too to everyone!!
 

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2x the bike for 1/2 the $
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1,175 Posts
I also ride in whichever lane seems best at the time, but often that is the center. I've havent really had a time where it seemed like a bad lane, but since we get a good amount of rain here, there doesnt get to be that much of a build up of oils and stuff.
 

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We need a Sarcasm Font!
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I see the same around here. Just like a NASCAR driver, I pick the lane that works the best for the current conditions :)
Same here. I mainly try to avoid the center of the lane when I have to come to a stop - traffic light, stop sign, etc. We have such bad tire-stud ruts on the roads here, it's almost like an edge trap sometimes to ride in a tire lane.
 

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Old enough to know better
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I just happened to be re-reading the state motorcycle driving manual last week while waiting to meet up with a friend. According to the guide (a prerequisite for the written portion of the motorcycle license exam) all three portions of the lane are viable options. You just pick one depending on road conditions, surrounding traffic, whatever is out there helps you decide.

They suggest avoiding the center lane at the start of a rainfall when the oil drips are just newly wetted and not washed away yet.
 

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I stay out of the center lane too much junk on the road and stay in one of the other mostly the left lane, as I figure that if there is a nail or something sharp the guy ahead of me will pick it up first.
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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1,189 Posts
+1 to all lanes! I live in a city where we like to 'experiment' with new road construction materials. The latest repaving of our main roads had the asphalt shifting towards the intersections, due to vehicle braking. This makes a nice set of braking bumps in the tire 'lanes' from the vehicles (read-cars & trucks). I have to ride in the middle lanes when approaching intersections to avoid these braking bumps!
 

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I tend to avoid the center lane because from my observations most road debris is in the center lane.
Here's the senario. Something falls off or out of a vehical. If it's in the path of traffic it will sooner or later make it's way to either the edge or center of the lane as cars hit/clip it.
I wouldn't want to be running down the highway in the center lane with traffic in front of me and have a 2x4 appear in the road as the car ahead of you stradles it. Hopefully if it's in the path of a car in front you, they will swerve giving you an indication to take caution.
 

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I tend to avoid the center lane because from my observations most road debris is in the center lane.
Here's the senario.
The other thing that ends up in the center is road kill. I will ride the center if nobody is around or if they are far enough ahead I can see what pops out from under their car. Some road kill is pretty large and you can't count on cagers reacting to it if it is in the center as they will just straddle it.
 

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2007 Red 900 Custom
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525 Posts
I do both. Like mcwrath and others, I ride in the safest part of the lane. Obviously, if the road is worn down by tires and is filled up with water, you shouldn't ride there. Usually when it is raining, I will ride between the middle where the accumulated oil and whatnot is and the rain filled puddles, thereby avoiding both hazards. Sometimes there are cracks in the pavement, either from being worked on in the past, or just stress fractures. I avoid those as well.
 

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2007 Red 900 Custom
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525 Posts
I just happened to be re-reading the state motorcycle driving manual last week while waiting to meet up with a friend. According to the guide (a prerequisite for the written portion of the motorcycle license exam) all three portions of the lane are viable options. You just pick one depending on road conditions, surrounding traffic, whatever is out there helps you decide.

They suggest avoiding the center lane at the start of a rainfall when the oil drips are just newly wetted and not washed away yet.
I remember when I was 14 and studying to get my motorcycle license (1992), reading that the manual said to avoid the middle of the lane because of all the oil. About a year ago I picked up a new manual and was a little surprised that there was no mention of oil and other slippery substances in the middle of the land. They just talked about choosing the part of the lane that will give you the best visibility.
 

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especially in the rain ride in the tyre tracks of cars. It's the driest, safest place to be.

the centre of the lane will collect all the debris and oil.
Tyre tracks will be dried out quicker by the hot car tyres and there will always be the least water on them.

I ride on the safest part of the road, but usually only in the centre of the lane if cars either side of me are too close.
 
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