Heatwave conditions are bad enough for riders, but moving slowly in heavy city traffic makes it so much more important that you keep moving by lane filtering where legal.
Melbourne rider Ray Lindner describes his recent ordeal riding his Triumph Tiger XC in heatwave conditions in slow-moving traffic.
Share this article with your driver friends and maybe they will show more compassion in future and leave a gap for filtering riders, especially on hot days.
Not like this guy in the US!
Ray’s heatwave lane-filtering experience
I got caught up in heavy traffic reduced to a crawl due to all but one lane being closed after a collision in the Domain tunnel.
I was on my way home from a trip and had ridden mostly hinterland roads among trees and farms and had a pleasant ride where it was much cooler than Melbourne.
The 38 degree heat that we had in Melbourne was difficult enough but having to keep the bike upright and crawl along a freeway was exhausting to say the least.
Not wishing to be melodramatic this became a fight for survival.
I have ridden the Himalayas, the Andes, Alaska, North-West Territories (Canada) and many other challenging areas but this day I felt to be at the greatest risk.
Had I just stayed behind any vehicle for the full time it took to reach and exit the tunnel I would no doubt have collapsed from exhaustion. That may have created yet another accident and/or the need for an ambulance.
I simply had to lane filter.
I admit here to even using the emergency lane for a couple of short periods as I really needed a break from wrestling with the bike.
Lane filtering was introduced to make motoring safer and not just to allow motorcyclists to get to their destination faster.
To the motorists who allowed me to lane filter, you have my deepest appreciation.
To those who do not understand why I needed to lane filter please consider the following:
- I do not have air conditioning
- I cannot reach for a bottle of water
- My vehicle will not stand by itself like a car. I have to balance it.
- I cannot idle along at 2 to 3 kph without dragging my feet to keep the bike upright. I need momentum.
- Do not think that motorcyclists are being rude by lane filtering. We are not simply trying to beat you.
I am breathing in unfiltered exhaust fumes while most modern cars have cabin filters.
With trucks in every lane I was somewhat trapped at times and had to go across lanes to reduce my personal risk.
My only option would have been to park my bike in the emergency lane and try to hitch a ride to safety and this I certainly considered. Who would have understood?
I had drunk lots of water during the day but needed more but could not even get to the water that I was carrying and was surely becoming both dehydrated and fatigued.
To the motorists who think they understand lane filtering yet are annoyed by it and do their very best to block bikes by closing of any reasonable gap which might allow a bike to get through: On behalf of all motorcyclist and in the interests of safety please do not do that.
Towards the end of what seemed like an hour-long battle on the freeway I gave myself and a truck driver a hell of a fright during a misjudged manoeuvre and I would apologise and shake that driver’s hand if I could find him. As I write this, I shudder at the possible outcome and believe heat and fatigue were contributors.
I have been riding for over 40 years and have ridden many tough roads throughout the world but that ride will long be remembered as my greatest risk.
If ever I get in that position again I would have to use the emergency lane even more than I did and would accept any punishment sooner than put myself at risk of going under a truck due to exhaustion.
- Tell us about your lane-filtering experience. How are you getting on in the heatwave? Leave your comments below.