Rush Hour on the Interstate !?! The Lane Changers! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Rush Hour on the Interstate !?! The Lane Changers!

I apologize ahead of time for my RANT.


My commute to work is about 30 miles of Interstate divided highway, 2 to 3 lanes traveling in each direction. I lately have been using my V about 2 days per week and use my car the other days.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong when I ride my V on the Interstate?

Several times a year, for the past several years, I have experienced cars that attempt to change lanes, at freeway speeds - right into me and my V!

In order to better my chances for survival, I pretty much ride most of the commute with my thumb at the ready, almost resting on my horn button; I carefully watch the vehicles around me for distracted drivers; I try to minimize my time spent in other drivers blind spots; I've installed two very loud "freeway-blaster horns" (a low and a high tone); I installed a loud-ish Yoshi exhaust (outlet pointed to the rear, of course ); If my lane is flowing faster than the one beside me, I carefully keep one eye on the vehicles in the slower moving lane - watching the top of their front tire - looking for the first sign of one turning toward the lane that I'm riding in, etc.

Guess what? I was almost punted into the guard rail (again) this morning!

I was semi-alert to this sedan in the right lane because 1) the right lane was moving about 10 mph slower than the left lane (my lane) which was moving about 70 mph and 2) the sedan was maybe set slightly closer to the left side of its own lane, nearer the dashed white line / lane markers.

Part of me was thinking - hey, the drivers window is open a good 10 inches, this driver should be able to hear my Yoshi exhaust that is about 10 feet from their ear, and it won't take me long to zip through this drivers "blind spot". But NO. Here they come - barging into my space... I blast the horns... and they slowly slink back into the right lane. I did not see the driver, if it was a man or woman, if they were on the cell phone, etc., because I was busy looking at their left front wheel steering into my lane and watching their left front fender lurch very close to my right leg. [ok, they missed me by about 10 or 12 inches, but still...! ]

Ok, rant is over... I feel a little better now.

I am open to any suggestions that you guys may have to increase my chances for survival.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 04:35 PM
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Ride for fun instead of commuting? I know, probably not the answer anyone wants.

YMMV, but there's now way I'm putting my kid's future into the hands of commuters in Houston. Rarely do you hear of a motorcycle fatality here that is not alcohol related or during commute traffic. My wife was afraid to get on the highway the first month we lived here, she said it was like a NASCAR race with no race marshall.

Wisconsin might be different, I leave that to your judgement.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 04:42 PM
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Yea that sucks. I am glad I no longer commute on the interstate. If I did I would never take the bike, or commute during odd hours (not rush hour). I don't know if there is much else you can do, are you wearing high-viz gear? That still won't help if they don't look up from their phone.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 06:45 PM
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You could take several approaches (which sounds like you have) but there is no one silver bullet solution that will work, it's a combination of tactics. I commuted for years back and forth thru Baton Rouge interstate traffic. Like Houston, it's crazy! Had your situation happen many times. The best advice I could give is don't try to do too many things to safeguard against this. Keep it simple, ride knowing that no matter how loud, bright or reflective....you are invisible to the smartphone zombies. Never ever ride along positioned directly next to vehicle, stay just to the front or behind someone next to you (leave an escape path). Always try to be moving forward (don't get lost in the herd). Install some aux driving lights. They have too many dependable kits with very bright light for reasonable prices not too have them. They work. Good Luck and Stay Safe!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 07:56 PM
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After years of commuter type riding. Never pace with traffic, i always rider just a bit faster than traffic, never rider next to a vehicle if you can. Alway keep your head a swivel, keep a look out at the other drivers looking for the distracted drivers.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 10:27 PM
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I am so lucky to live in California! (Legal lane-splitting)
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 11:55 AM
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Some pretty good suggestions here...!

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 12:16 PM
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If legal in your state, install flashing or pulsing lights. You can wire your existing headlamp to pulse or you could add aux driving lights which pulse. The pulsing really does grab attention and kind of force the eye to look at it to see what it is.

Same with the brake light, you can buy a cheap flasher circuit which plugs into the brake light wiring. When you first touch your brakes it will cause the brake light to flash several times before becoming steady. Some can be programmed for different sequences, flashing the brake light continuously when you apply brakes, alternating between steady and flashing brake lights, etc.

My biggest fear with highway riding is getting rear ended in a construction zone.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 03:26 PM
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If they look like they are going to get froggy, just hit the horn anyway. I'd rather get flipped off than run over. Besides I love the scared faces people show when hit by a big a$$ loud horn.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 04:40 PM
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Deal with it everyday. You just need to constantly put yourself in the best position and watch everyone like they are out to kill you.....
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 05:36 PM
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If legal in your state, install flashing or pulsing lights. You can wire your existing headlamp to pulse or you could add aux driving lights which pulse. The pulsing really does grab attention and kind of force the eye to look at it to see what it is.

Same with the brake light, you can buy a cheap flasher circuit which plugs into the brake light wiring. When you first touch your brakes it will cause the brake light to flash several times before becoming steady. Some can be programmed for different sequences, flashing the brake light continuously when you apply brakes, alternating between steady and flashing brake lights, etc.

My biggest fear with highway riding is getting rear ended in a construction zone.
While I only ride for fun, the V came to me with both the above front and rear flashers. I have friends that say they find both very visible. I also think I saw a Harley once that had rear flashers that were on all the time. Not sure if any of this would have avoided this mornings event, but all are worth a try. Good Luck.

Forty years away from 2 wheel fun. Sure is great to be back smelling the roses!!!
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 09:58 AM
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I commute a couple of days a week when the work schedule and weather allow, and am always running into what you describe. I climb into to the fast lane as quick as possible so I have the berm to bail on if need be, and always try to get just in front of the car to the right if we are going the same speed. I think I use my air horn at least on every ride, but usually in local traffic by people figuring I can stop for them. I am also amazed by the number of distracted cager's on the x-way who don't care about drifting all over the road. Some asshole the other night flicked his cigarette out of his sunroof and it bounced off my leg before it hit the ground.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 10:31 AM
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The only assumption I feel safe with is that EVERYBODY is stupid....then adjust form there to maintain good health.

Even though I try to maintain one plane of existence, I keep hearing that I came out of no where.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great suggestions.

One thought that I had - was to try to just stick to riding in the right lane (the slow lane) the whole way. But I'm thinking that would likely be a boring ride, punctuated by the excitement of vehicles entering/merging onto the freeway, - and vehicles diving into and across the right lane to exit the freeway at the their last possible moment.

Maybe I will just use the V for weekend rides and trips out of town in the future.

Thanks again. Good stuff!

Last edited by trialsguy; 08-26-2016 at 10:32 AM.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 11:03 AM
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The problem I have with hanging out in the right lane is the knucklehead hanging out in the left lane. He won't get in the right lane to exit until it's too late & he has to cut you off. It took years to teach my wife to get as far away from the lane with the exit until it's passed. It doesn't matter that the interchange has been there for decades & mr knucklehead has driven that route for years, he WILL be in the wrong lane to exit & WILL cut you off instead of moving in behind you or heaven forbid planning ahead to be where a courteous driver would be.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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The problem I have with hanging out in the right lane is the knucklehead hanging out in the left lane. He won't get in the right lane to exit until it's too late & he has to cut you off. It took years to teach my wife to get as far away from the lane with the exit until it's passed. It doesn't matter that the interchange has been there for decades & mr knucklehead has driven that route for years, he WILL be in the wrong lane to exit & WILL cut you off instead of moving in behind you or heaven forbid planning ahead to be where a courteous driver would be.
Yes! I agree with all of the above.

I am always amazed to see a car suddenly speed up for no apparent reason, (and I think "Oh, what's gotten into him?!") and then see him wildly dive across the right lane, dive for the exit ramp, and just miss the abutment that divides the exit from the freeway, and then slam on their brakes while zooming down the ramp at above freeway speeds!
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 01:56 PM
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After awhile it just becomes normal.......

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 02:59 PM
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I commute daily here in Northern California, and treat every day as a battle to arrive alive. Constantly scanning and looking for exit routes with every situation has saved my hide numerous occasions. Never get complacent with your ride if it's the same route every day, otherwise you risk the chance of missing something that could cause an accident. You should be mentally tired at the end of the ride!
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