Passing on the Right | Street Savvy

By Mitch Boehm, Photography by Courtesy of KTM

From my earliest driving and riding days, I'd always heard it was a bad idea to pass on the right. And as I put more miles under my belt, I learned why: It's big-time dangerous. Cage drivers have an all-too-common tendency to suddenly swerve right onto an on-ramp or into a driveway. The end result of that isn't good if you're in between.

So you learn not to do it, especially if you do any riding in Europe, where it's frowned upon both socially and legally.

Of course, these days, in every populated area you can name, the practice has become commonplace for motorcyclists, even those who should know better, like me. Why? Because of folks I call Leftists: those who are either too ignorant or too selfish to get the heck out of the left lane, and who have never heard of-or understood-what the road signs mean by "Slower Traffic Keep Right."

Because these Clueless Wonders clog the left lanes of freeways and multi-lane highways, the only open lanes are often those on the right. And unless you're willing to forego the speed and effi ciency benefits of motorcycle travel (I'm certainly not), most of us choose the more dangerous route.

Passing on the right can be done, and safely, but you must adhere to a few strategies if you want to keep yourself from being punted into the Armco by a 4000-pound, four-wheeled projectile.

One, obviously, is to pay attention to the turn signals of the car you're passing-assuming the driver uses them. Two is to watch the head of the driver like a hawk. Watch for any turn to the right, fast or slow, even a twitch-it can signal a sudden turn. Also watch the driver's arms and hands-if he decides to turn suddenly, you'll see him row the steering wheel. Three is to limit the amount of time you're beside (read: in the blind spot of) the car you're passing. The less time you're there, the less chance of puntage.

It's a shame we're forced to do this. But until these Lefties pull their thumbs out, we've gotta be on guard. Rightward ho!

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