Advice on 'offsiding'
This is a topic that can generate much discussion, disagreement and potential for serious mishaps.
The advice in 'Roadcraft'? There isn't any. That says much.
Shaun Cronin, IAM Regional Manager has given some thought to this and I believe his stance mirrors that of the IAM.
- Moving out to make a planned safe overtake and then finding yourself with a fantastic view which allows you to maintain your progress before returning to your own side of the road.
- Adopting a straight line through a series of bends where you have a clear view of the road and the road surface (road markings permitting) i.e. ‘The road is mine until the loss of vision in 400yds, my mirrors are clear so I am adopting a straight and stable course.’
I encourage my associates to "Straight-Line" bends when the conditions allow (road clear, vision good, no solid white line my side and no other road users behind who can get confused) as this keeps the bike more upright and stable.
I discourage associates to perform "Off-Siding" (i.e. riding on the wrong side of the road in to a left hand bend) as they have enough to think about as they are learning the "System" and advanced riding. When I do talk about it, it is only for when they can see the road immediately round the corner (i.e. it is NOT a blind bend) and the road is clear. Make sure they know they have to be completely sure that the road is clear before considering it.
Always think of SSV:
- Is it Safe for me to be here?
- Will I be Stable here?
- Do a get a significantly better Vision of the road ahead?
If the answer is NO to any of these - don't do it.....
My feeling on this is that it is usually unnecessary (except for overtaking) to be on the "wrong" side of the road unless the view is completely clear.
All the points raised are perfectly clear, sensible and analytical from an advanced riders point of view. I'd argue about what it actually achieves (the A in SLAP from the article).
As we should be able to stop in the distance that we see in front of us, the purpose of offsiding as I see it, is to allow for more speed to be carried through the corner due to better vision. With modern tyres, brakes and handling it is usually only seeing that the road is clear ahead that is the limiting factor to cornering speed.
Any vehicle travelling at NSL speeds is less maneuverable and with a potential closing speed of 120mph (plus?) venturing onto the other side of the road in an attempt to better ones vision is a high risk activity, legal or not.
I think the chances of being hit by a vehicle coming the other way whilst "having a look" is a higher risk to take than 'holding on to a couple of mph around a corner' is worth.
Surely, advanced riding is about stacking the odds in our own favour?
I would agree absolutely that for the vast majority of situations, view, the distance we can see to be clear, our ability to stop on our side of the road and the posted speed restriction dictates the safe speed before mechanical tyre grip. If we ride to grip as some folk do I’d argue that most of the time we are riding dangerously. But a better view, gained in safety, can allow more speed to be carried safely and with confidence.
I’m possibly less adverse to using the offside carriageway as an improved view may give more time to react to a new hazard that is seen earlier. I see that or indeed an early indication of a clear road and no hazard as something achieved.
I tend not to hunt for opportunities but to take them as they come available as per the SLAP criteria. This may be because my sub conscious instincts are honed? Or maybe I’m a reserved rider?
The three stage overtake, practiced in accordance with all necessary criteria, is effectively an offside manoeuvre followed by an overtake (at least that’s my interpretation). We are often rewarded with an entirely different and sometimes enlightening view that gives us greater ‘what I can see and what I can’t see’ information. Straight lining a series of bends where view and our safely allows can also enlighten our view with the added bonus of a more stable path.
Why not do the offside manoeuvre when there is no vehicle to overtake but conditions are otherwise safe and experience tells us we may be rewarded with an enhanced view?
SLAP is key methinks.
Discussion is valuable 😊
As usual It depends ...somewhere between never and always. If I can see right through and beyond the bend so no risk of oncoming increasing the turn radius improves control and stability in the event of unseen but posssible mud oil grit etc. and can give view further ahead adding to safety. On the other hand even when closing distances are safe the Perception of other road users is frequently negative. Don't accept the view that offsiding never necessary at nsl speeds that I heard at Iam conference becuase a 50 mph bend can be on the limit or safely under control within your skill limits depending on its radius. Reducing the margin for error is a positive in the right circumstances. The most fatal risk on LH bends is running wide and offsiding can help with this. I d rather be alive than showing off how well I can lean by rigidly following thou shalt not offside from IAM towers.
Excellent information on a tricky subject. Though I don't have anything to add, I am a little confused as to whether offsiding is something we should be introducing to associates (I was under the impression that at the basic Advanced level, we were not encouraging associates to do this (other than straight-lining through a clearly visible road ahead where legal to do so and with no other road users following.
Have I misunderstood?
No, we do not introduce off-siding to Associates.
Thanks, that's what I thought.