MotorCycle RoadCraft. Chapter 9.  Pages 145 - 162.

 Slip road approach timed to fit-in with existing traffic, using whichever lane affords better progress.

Though at busy times, if you use lane 2 in the slip road, you may end up as the "meat-in-the-sandwich" (see POSITIONING) - and have no "escape route". 

Though sometimes the 1st and 2nd lanes have segregated entry points.

Lane 1 on the slip road, leaves the hard shoulder available, in an emergency.

Lane changes should be made without causing problems/inconvenience for other road users. 

A lane change is, usually, a choice rather than a necessity.

Signals, only used IF required. 
Correctly timed and of correct length. 
Generally, 1 flash of the bulb for each 10 mph of speed BEFORE the lane change begins and only then if safe and convenient to other road users.
Avoid causing inconvenience to traffic in the lane that you wish to enter.

Generally, avoid moving back to a lane to the left unless you expect to be in the new lane for, at least, 8 to 10 seconds or more.  

Though if you are being “tail-gated”, ask yourself would you be safer with the tail-gater in front rather than behind?  

At least, then you can control your safety margin(s), your personal  “safety bubble” (see POSITIONING). 

Speed compliance.  

It is much harder to ride @ 70 mph rather than merely ride with the traffic flow. 

A much greater degree of concentration, observation, anticipation and planning are required.

Good progress to be made, where conditions allow.  

Avoid being in lane 1 for too long before the exit, unless traffic is very heavy.,

 Exits correctly planned and executed.


Motorcycle Roadcraft, chapter 8, pages 125 - 144.

Particularly page 138, paragraph 3 (bulleted).

KEY POINT: - before attempting an overtake, ask yourself, what would happen if a high speed motorcyclist or perhaps a low sports car, hidden by a wall or hedgerow, was attempting the same manoeuvre from the opposite direction?

Work on your overtaking skills.

Try to anticipate when an overtake may be arriving, for example, over the brows of hills, coming out of bends, exiting road junctions or roundabouts, entering new roads, etc.

Then, providing you can see around/over the vehicle, close up to the overtake position – about a half second gap (approximately most people's thinking time, when concentrating).

At 30 mph, a ½ second gap is 22 feet (7 metres) - about a car and a half length.

At 45 mph, a ½ second gap is 33 feet (11 metres) - a little less than a coach length.

At 55 mph, a ½ second gap is 40 feet (13 metres) - the length of the trailer of a    
                                                                                standard articulated lorry.

Make sure you are in the correct gear: -

LOW ENOUGH to give good acceleration.

HIGH ENOUGH so that a change up is not required during the overtake.

A gear change during an overtake could be hazardous - the new gear may not engage, for example, leaving you with no drive, probably facing oncoming vehicles. 

Even if the gear engaged correctly, during the gear change you have no acceleration (even if short-shifting or with a quick-shifter fitted) - thereby leaving you in the "exposed" position longer than necessary.

Have your rear observations done, then if the opportunity is there, GO.

  • This technique is, usually referred to as, catch, match and dispatch.

Sometimes, one can go immediately from the following position into the actual overtake - as with most things - it is down to what you can SEE.

If the overtake does not develop drop back to the following position - the 2-second gap.

However, if the target vehicle is large - say, a medium/large van, bus, coach or box wagon, then closing up to the ½ second gap would almost certainly restrict your view too much.  

With any vehicle(s) that restrict your view you have to stay well back, at least, a coach length away and probably much more. 

Use opportunities to take views down both the offside and nearside when advantageous.

  • The alternative to the above is the "slingshot" technique, where the overtaking is planned from way back, well before you reach the “target” vehicle.

Using this technique, one is often slowing down, where necessary, before the “target” vehicle has actually been passed.

Note: - if overtaking on bends, pay particular attention to the effect of road camber. 

It is, usually, beneficial on right hand bends (when using the offside of the road). 

Also, you are taking a shorter route than the “target” vehicle. 

However, on left hand bends the opposite is, usually, true the camber is working against your tyre grip (you are effectively riding on the edge of your tyre, if using the offside of the road). 

The distance needed to complete the manoeuvre is much greater; you are on the outside of the circle and have to travel much further than the “target” vehicle. 

Overtaking on left hand bends would, in many (most?) cases, be fraught with the potential danger of losing adhesion between tyres and road surface and would need a much longer time and distance to complete.

Try to find a circular route that you know of say 6 to 10 miles or more to practice overtaking. 

If need be stop to allow one or more vehicle to be in front of you, then follow, and practice. 



KEY POINT: - one of the "mantras" of Advanced Riding is to follow the 5 - S's




Speed (though I prefer to talk about 
             progress, 5 mph may be good
             progress whilst 55 mph may not be)

Sparkle (that almost indefineable 
              "something" that separates the 
               Advanced from the Good).

NOTE: - how low down in the order

               of importance, that SPEED is!

If SPEED is what "floats your boat" - get out on "track days".  The public (Queen's) highway ain't the place to do it.

A few final thoughts: -

Unless all actions are carried out "politely", can you really have earned the right to be called ADVANCED?

Advanced Riders are noticeable by their unobtrusiveness.

It has been said: -

"The true hallmark of being Advanced, is knowing when to reduce speed.

KEY POINT: - any fool can

           ride fast enough to be dangerous.

Additional reading: -

A Twist of the Wrist - Keith Code (ISBN 0-9650450-1-3) around £10.00.

Not The Blue Book (ISBN 0-9529747-0-3)


The Assessment of Advanced Motorcycling (ISBN 0-9529747-1-1)H

both by Dave Jones, about £5.00 each.

P.O. Box 2055



WARNING: - reading either or both of these last two books could seriously undermine your estimation of your Advanced capabilities !!!


                                                        back to top

HOME PAGE.               STRUCTURED TRAINING.            1a - OBSERVATION.

1b - POSITIONING.      2 - BENDS & JUNCTIONS.            3 - SIGNALS.

4 - FILTERING.            5 - MOTORWAYS & 6 - OVERTAKING.