5 Tips for Safely Passing Other Vehicles When on a Motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle gives you more freedom to weave around vehicles because you won’t take up as much room on the road as a full-size car or truck, but that means drivers won’t be able to see you as clearly as other vehicles. When you go to pass another car, you will likely fall into its blind spot, the space between the side mirror and rear-view mirror, which increases the risk of collision.

Passing is essential in certain situations. So, what can you do to make sure you get around the vehicle safely? From to monitoring your speed, remember these passing tips to avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

Passing Another Motorcycle

Lots of riders prefer to get around in groups of two or more. There’s safety in numbers. Having more motorcycles in your posse increases your visual profile on the road, but the formation of a group is constantly changing. The person out front is responsible for navigating the group, but riders may need to rotate in and out of this position. You might also need to pass a motorcycle that’s going to slow.

  1. Maintain a Safe Distance

When passing another rider, make sure you keep an eye on your position in relation to the other motorcycle. The bike won’t be as large as a car, making it harder to see. Maintain a safe distance of at least two seconds between you and the next closest rider. Extend the distance to three or four seconds if the bike is larger or not in the best condition.

  • Pass in the Left Lane

Motorcyclists are expected to take up the entire lane on the road. Be sure to pass another rider by entering the left lane.

Motorcycle Speedometer

Source: panuwat phimpha/

  • Control Your Speed

Avoid speeding when passing another vehicle, especially when moving into a cross-traffic lane, as the draft could affect the direction and balance of your motorcycle.

  • Downshift and Accelerate

When increasing your speed, you can either hit the throttle or downshift and hit the gas to get a boost. Experts recommend using the downshift-acceleration method because it is easier to control and delivers less momentum. You don’t want to take off racing when you have a limited time to pass. Going above the speed limit also increases your risk of injury.

Wait to accelerate until you’re ready to pass. If you build up speed beforehand, you risk getting too close to the car in front of you or going too fast in the next lane.

  • Signal First

Ideally, the other rider will adjust their speed to make it easier for you to pass, but they will only do so if they know that you’re trying to get around them. Signal your intentions to the other rider using your turn signal. If you are a part of the same group, to talk hands-free with your companions. Just speak into the device to let them know you’re going to pass.

Passing a Car, SUV, or Truck

Getting around cars, SUVs and trucks can be just as tricky. Some drivers may not show you the same courtesy you show them, making it harder for you to pass. Let’s face it — some people just don’t like motorcycles. Vehicles are easier to see, which should help you keep track of your proximity to the car you’re trying to pass.

Signal your intentions to the driver using your turn signal when you first move into the next lane and again when you move in front of the car. Look behind you to make sure the person behind you isn’t trying to pass at the same time. Use the left lane whenever possible.

Swing wide around the car when passing into the next lane to give yourself plenty of space. You will need to increase your speed to get around them. Once you are in the right position, decelerate to match the speed of the surrounding traffic.

Passing with a Passenger

Having another person on the motorcycle increases the weight of the bike, which means it will take longer to accelerate/decelerate. Get a feel for how long it takes you to increase your speed before trying to pass another motorcycle or car and give yourself more time to get around vehicles.

Riding Motorycles

Source: Naypong Studio/

Passing in a Group

If you’re traveling in a group, avoid breaking up the formation into smaller groups unless necessary. This makes it harder for drivers to keep track of everyone trying to pass them. You can to let the other riders know when it’s time to pass, so everyone can accelerate at the same time but it’s safer to use a wireless communication system, so you don’t have to take your hands off the handlebars. The other driver should slow down and wait for all the bikes to move in front.

Enjoy The Ride and Stay Safe

Stay vigilant and err on the side of caution when passing another car or motorcycle. Don’t try to get around them until you have a clear opening. Lots of riders play it fast and loose to show off their speed, but patience is key to getting around safely.

What do you think?

Written by Marcus

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