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.
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.
- 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.
- More signs should be placed along single-lane and winding roads indicating safe places where slow traffic can pull over.
- More pull-over or turnout bays should be installed on these roads.
- 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!
- Police should patrol for motorists that don’t exercise courtesy and pull over.
- 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).
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.
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.