Stay Visible & Be Aware in Stop & Go Traffic

On a motorcycle or scooter, you’re smaller and less visible. However, you’re quicker and more maneuverable (and probably don’t have a cell phone in one hand and a latte in the other), so you have the ability to respond quickly in a dangerous situation. Take a look at the scene below:

Generated via
You’ve probably been in this situation before: a stop-and-go backlog at an exit ramp (like the Brooklyn Bridge exit off the FDR Drive) where you wait patiently in line. The driver in the green sedan is a line-cutter, or an out-of-towner, or an inconsiderate jerk, and he’s going to jump in line right before the exit ramp. Especially if a large vehicle is nuzzled right up to your rear, you might be completely invisible until the last second.
Think about your lane position when you’re in this situation. If you stay to the left of your lane, you’ll be more visible in the line of traffic. If you stay to the right, you’re less visible,
but further from impact, and possibly closer to an emergency exit if your right-of-way is violated. Always have an exit route planned to ditch out into another (clear) lane, shoulder, or ramp. Be aware of those behind you (even in other lanes) while you’re “just” waiting.
If you follow the vehicle ahead of you too closely, you might get pinned in. If the driver behind you is tailgating, try to get him to back off by using a hand signal:


Even if traffic is moving well, it’s always a good idea to do a head-check over your left shoulder for those who might try to jump in front of you at an exit ramp.

As a two-wheeler you’re entitled to the full use of your lane. It’s to your advantage to think about lane position as a strategy to staying safe.

Have other urban riding tips? Let us know.