There is no need to follow closely to overtake quickly.
You can sit a safe distance behind a vehicle and, thanks to the rapid acceleration of a motorcycle, overtake them in a short space of time.
Sitting back from a vehicle allows them to see your headlight in their mirrors.
It’s a good idea to switch wheel tracks a couple of times or gently weave around in your lane so the driver is alerted to your presence.
Another reason not to follow too closely is that it obscures your forward vision.
Sit further back and you will be able to see a longer and safer distance down the road to check for oncoming traffic and other obstacles such as road surface problems, stray livestock or wildlife.
Before overtaking, move to the driver’s side wheel track, a little outside the edge of the vehicle in front.
This will put you in the driver’s wing mirror, give you a good vision of the road ahead and allow approaching traffic to see you.
You not only need to scan the road ahead for approaching traffic and obstacles, but also for turnoffs.
These can be side streets or property entrances that the driver may suddenly decide to take without indicating.
Before overtaking, check over your shoulder and in your mirrors to see if you are being overtaken!
Start your indicators for a couple of seconds before moving, but don’t wait too long or other traffic may believe you have accidentally hit your indicators.
When you start to overtake, move immediately into the farthest wheel track from the vehicle.
Don’t sit in the closest wheel track as you will be in the driver’s blind spot.
Riding in the farthest wheel track from the vehicle you are overtaking gives you the biggest buffer in case the driver decides to overtake a vehicle in front of them or suddenly turns across in front of you.
Also, if the vehicle you are passing has a blowout, you will be farther away from any shrapnel.
Even the farthest wheel track may still be in the driver’s blind spot, so you need to accelerate swiftly up to the point where you are right alongside the driver.
Now that the driver has seen you, start moving into the closer wheel track while you accelerate past.
While you should avoid speeding, I would rather break the law and speed for a short time and clear the vehicle than sit alongside for a long period as you crawl past.
The shortest time you can spend heading toward oncoming traffic, the better and safer!
When you start to move in, it is a legal requirement to indicate again.
Cutting back in
I’ve seen many riders cut in sharply after overtaking a vehicle.
Sometimes it is done in anger or frustration after being held up by an inconsiderate driver.
However, there is no point in road rage. Besides, it is illegal to cut in close on a vehicle you have passed.
Once in front of the vehicle, stay in the driver’s wheel track and claim the lane.
However, if you are being followed in your overtaking manoeuvre by another motorcycle, move ahead and leave a gap.
That will allow them to slip in behind you in the passenger wheel track.