Slow-moving cars should pull over

Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic corner

Slow-moving vehicles should be made to pull over when they have a conga line of vehicles following and police should patrol for the offence.

One of the most frustrating things for riders and other motorists is slow drivers who refuse to pull over to allow a string of traffic to pass them.

Most great motorcycle roads are single lane each way, twisty and marked with solid no-overtaking lines. So vehicles moving slowly on these roads tend to form long lines of frustrated traffic behind them.

That frustration leads to motorists, particularly motorcyclists, breaking the law and taking stupid overtaking risks.

Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic

It should be noted that not every overtaking manoeuvre across an unbroken line is dangerous. In many cases, the lines were painted for 1950s vehicles with the overtaking ability of a three-toed sloth.

Most motorcycles and modern cars could quickly and safely cross these lines.

However, the risk is that you could be fined. In fact, police in unmarked vehicles have used this tactic on Mt Glorious and the Old Pacific Highway to fine riders.

There are several answers to the pull over problem.

  1. Slow drivers should be educated to be aware of a build-up of traffic behind them and find somewhere safe to pull over as many do in New Zealand. This is particularly so over the Christmas holiday season when the roads are more crowded. It won’t delay them more than a few seconds and it’s safer than creating a conga line of frustrated risk takers. A public advertising campaign teaching these simple manners would be better than the usual “speed kills” campaign.

    Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic
    Courteous NZ driver pulls over
  2. More signs should be placed along single-lane and winding roads indicating safe places where slow traffic can pull over.Pull over sign turnout
  3. More pull-over or turnout bays should be installed on these roads.

    Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic
    Plenty of pull-over room
  4. Unbroken lanes need to be re-evaluated. Many of the twisting roads in New Zealand have broken lines and motorists are required to use their judgement!

    Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic
    Broken lines on NZ winding road
  5. Police should patrol for motorists that don’t exercise courtesy and pull over.
  6. There should be a law such as in several USA states where it is an offence to have several vehicles following (it varies from three to five).

    Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic
    American sign

I rode through Washington State earlier this year on the Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight launch and was amazed at how drivers were pulling over when we came up behind them.

I thought they were just being courteous until I spotted the numerous signs advising them to pull over.

It shows that a common-sense rule can have a dramatic effect on traffic.

Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic
Alaska road sign

Inglorious example

Over the weekend, I took a ride over Mt Glorious in the afternoon when the Sunday drivers were out in force.

Some were courteous enough to move over in the many pull-over or turnout bays even though there are no signs telling them to do so as there are on nearby Mt Mee.

However, one buffoon refused to pull over even though I politely indicated by pointing after I had passed him on one of the very few broken-line sections.

All I wanted was for the driver to move over for a few seconds while my fellow riders could also scoot by.

Instead, the driver decided to video me, thinking it was an example of road rage.

I hope it turns up on YouTube and people can see how discourteous the driver was.

13 Comments

  1. Mark, it’s a well-known trick for unmarked police cars around Mt Glorious to deliberately drive s.l.o.w.l.y to try to induce a bike behind it to overtake on double lines
    which is quite safe for an experienced rider – those double lines are designed for cars.

    So check the car out carefully before you overtake. : )

  2. Folks as annoying as slow moving traffic can be, everybody needs to travel at a speed that they are comfortable with. As Motorcyclists we have much more freedom to overtake where cars could or should never even dream of overtaking. So take a deep breath, relax, don’t tailgate or ride in an intimidating fashion, see your chance take it, no more problem. Life and motorcycling is way too much fun to allow Mar and Par Kettle out for a Sunday drive get under your skin.

  3. The great ocean road could certainly do with clearer signage or heavier police presence in regards to educating drivers about using the passing bays.

    We have a large number of tourists, tourist buses and grey nomads, the vast majority is which either ignor or have no idea what these areas are for.

    I personally found myself in a head on situation due to frustration with a grey nomad towing a caravan failing to let motorists past. Luckily the foot path was empty and free of potholes, else I would be a statistic today.

  4. Police? In cars? Enforcing road rules? Mostly I just see speed cameras which do nothing for bad driving, drug fkd idiots and unregistered bombs.

  5. All Australian car driver must of had a frontal lobotomy because they can’t be that stupid! I think when the RMS take the photo for your drivers licence they ZAP your brains or fry them.
    No where did i leave my bike keys?

  6. Ah, here you’re dealing with a driver’s pride and therein lies a big problem. What’s more, drivers have grown up with ‘overtaking lanes’ and by the reaction I sometimes get from people when I overtake them on a regular stretch of road, some people actually think it’s illegal. Drivers have lost the ability to judge an overtake on a normal stretch of road and, as mentioned by Where’s the Shotgun, when sitting in a string of traffic they no longer have the sense to leave room to be overtaken. Much of the blame for these situations has to go to successive governments and police departments that have hammered home nonsense slogans like “there’s no such thing as safe speeding” and have made drivers so fearful of being penalised that it’s now considered OK to take 5 minutes to overtake one vehicle. For goodness sakes there’s even speed cameras on some overtaking lanes in NSW. No one should be charged with speeding when overtaking – dangerous driving perhaps, but not speeding. Get the manoeuvre done quickly and be on your way.

  7. You can add… When four, five or six or more vehicles decide to travel slowly bumper to bumper.
    At least leave adequate room to pass one at a time as trying to bass a column even in an appropriate area can be a challenge.
    But all of this is what you get when drivers are utterly oblivious to what going on outside their vehicle.

  8. You get a mix of drivers but I think in my experience, drivers are moving over more than they used to. Best thing you can do is to give a friendly wave or toot toot when they do move over

    1. I agree Robert. I don’t know where everyone else rides but many people pull to the side for me when they can and I always give them a wave. Drivers need to see bikers are just other road users (not an alien race) and courtesy and consideration goes a long towards that.

  9. Bloody hell Mark.

    Your now expecting the average Joe Blow car driver (and the police) to use, Logic, common sense, and common decency.

    Ya dreaming, will never happen.
    Pity but.

  10. Agreed. And I’d also like NSW police to start enforcing the keep left rule, esp on motorways. Been waiting for that one for over two decades! Years ago slow trucks used to pull over, they don’t seem to do that any more either.

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