Hey Dude, Back Off!

Motorcycles on the road

Be a nice person; don’t crowd the guy in front of you.

Riding with your buddies is one of the great joys of motorcycling but there are times when you just wish someone wasn’t with you. That happened to me recently.

I’ve ridden with this one guy a number of times and he was along this one day in a group. Initially I was in the two spot and he was third, behind me. For convenience I’ll call him Joe. While I don’t spend all my time looking in the mirror, I do check it periodically and I was a bit perturbed on several occasions to take a glance and find Joe really close–too close for my taste.

Now, I’ll give Joe credit that he was in staggered formation, so even though he was close he was not right on my tail. I’ve ridden with guys who get close AND get right up behind you. I totally hate that!

It was not a big deal, although there was one time when the leader moved into the lane to the left and as I threw out my left arm to signal I also looked back (like any smart person ought to do). There was Joe, staggered to my left but almost right up with me. I hesitated a moment and he dropped back and I safely changed lanes. That should not have happened. He shouldn’t have been there.

Later we were in a different order. Joe was in the two spot and I was third. Now I had the opportunity to really observe.

I had to feel for the leader. Joe stuck tight behind him, but now the road was more curvy that it had been earlier. And in the curves you don’t necessarily stay in staggered formation; you follow the curve where the line leads you.

What I saw was not pretty. Any number of times I saw Joe touching his brake because the leader was moving over in the lane on a curve and Joe was too close. Other times, Joe actually ran off onto the shoulder a little to avoid the leader as the curve carried him to the center of the road.

Come on dude, if you’re hitting you brake and running off on the shoulder in order to avoid the guy in front of you, you’re too dang close!! Back the heck off!! What’s going on in your head?

Biker Quote for Today

How are the brakes? Don’t know, I never touched them.


2 Responses to “Hey Dude, Back Off!”

  1. Jeff McDonald Says:

    Your rider in question probably needs to have his vision checked.

    Anecdote – decades ago I was on a group ride with an individual behind me on a Goldwing that seemed to exhibit the same behavior as you experienced.

    At the next group stop, he complained that my tail light wasn’t bright enough (1966 R69S BMW with 6-volt electrics and taillight about the size of a silver dollar).

    Turns out that he WAS close to being legally blind, and relied on taillights of the bike in front of him to give him the visual clue to slow down.

    I immediately became the vary last rider in the group, so as to not be in his path.

    A few months later he went straight off a curve on Highway 1 (Northern California coast). The Goldwing dropped out from under him and he walked away (actually, crawled back up the embankment) none the worse for wear.

  2. Ken Says:

    Wow, that’s an interesting thought. Next time I see him I’ll pay attention and try to figure out if that might be the issue. Thanks.

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