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If there is one thing a motorcycle does well it is overtaking
With a power to weight ratio that makes most cars blush, motorcycles have acceleration times that make overtaking comparatively simple. An average family car like a Nissan Qashqai has a 0 – 60mph time of about 10.5 seconds, which compares to a learner friendly motorcycle like a Suzuki SV650 at 3.3 seconds. Being stuck behind slow moving traffic is a thing of the past.
However, this kind of acceleration comes at price. Other road users can be taken completely by surprise at the sudden appearance of a motorcycle. Given that motorcycles in the UK only represent 1% of all road users (2013 gov.uk) you can see why an overtaking motorcycle is not always foremost in some driver’s minds. Added to which not everyone uses their mirrors as conscientiously as they might.
The golden rules have got to be:
- Never overtake past or on the approach to a junction
- Avoid overtaking past laybys and other places people can pull out of/into
- Be very cautious overtaking more than one vehicle at once
- Avoid tailgating before initiating an overtake – we don’t need to
- Get the gearing right to make the process as smooth and effective as possible
- Give the other road user as much room as possible
- At 60 mph the closing speed with an oncoming vehicle doing the same is about 176 feet per second or half a football pitch
- Be very careful overtaking other road users that are clearly lost
- Watch the speed limit, it is very easy to seriously exceed it in the heat of the moment
- Where are you going to land? Can you see far enough ahead to make it through safely
- Do you actually need to overtake?
- Be courteous and considerate – we are queue jumping after all…