Go! It's an Acceleration Lane...

Acceleration LaneI saw it again the other day, a driver who was stopped at the beginning of an acceleration lane patiently signalling and looking for a large gap to join in with the passing traffic. Before you make a comment about gray hair, this could just as easily have been a new driver. I couldn't tell as I drove past at 90 km/h.

Acceleration lanes are designed to give drivers the time and space to merge smoothly with traffic on the highway without causing other drivers to alter position or speed.

Generally, you may anticipate an acceleration lane when the right turn bay is not marked with a yield sign.

The Learn to Drive Smart guide tells us that we should scan traffic to our left as we use the entrance ramp. Match the speed of traffic on the highway as you use the portion of the acceleration lane marked with a single solid white line on the left. Once you reach the area marked with a single broken white line on the left, merge into the space that you have selected.

Be wary of cyclists! This can be a time when you have many tasks to process at once and a bicycle may be more difficult to see in the stream of vehicular traffic.

Of course, if your vehicle is equipped with signal lights, this is a good time to use them. While it may seem obvious, you will be changing lanes so it is mandatory to signal even if there is no other traffic present.

Due to the higher speeds usually involved here, using your observation skills is key. Look as far forward and back as you are able to in order to gauge the traffic you will have to merge into.

Scan to the rear and sides frequently and carefully, being especially aware of your own and other driver's blind spots.

Finally, check your speed as it can be easy to accelerate too much without realising.

The aim in the successful use of acceleration lanes is to give yourself the longest possible time to react if things do not go as planned. Scanning increases your awareness and that serves to increase your safety.

Let's go back to me driving past before we finish here. The driver I observed stopped in the acceleration lane was a strong indication that they might be confused. Moving into the left lane if possible would be the smart thing to do. Maintaining your space cushion will protect you from that driver if they make another mistake and pull into the lane in front of you.

Comments

Go! It's an Acceleration Lane...

In this article DriveSmartBC wrote:

Quote: "Be wary of cyclists! This can be a time when you have many tasks to process at once and a bicycle may be more difficult to see in the stream of vehicular traffic."

I would strongly suggest that a driver should equally be aware of Motorcyclists! Too many bikes have been taken out by car drivers that 'did not see them'.

The above paragraph would be better worded as"

'Be wary of Motorcycles and Cyclists! This can be a time when you have many tasks to process at once and a motorcycle or bicycle may be more difficult to see in the stream of vehicular traffic'

regards
James
Vancouver Island, BC.

Cyclists vs Motorcyclists

I think for highways that allow bicycles the merge pocket is where the bicycle is supposed to traverse from one shoulder over to next shoulder. It's basically their only way - they have to approach each merge pocket with utmost care and go between the merging cars to reach their safe shoulder.

But motorcycles don't need to do anything more than what is required of cars in the same merging pocket situations - they must maintain their proper position in their lane and facilitate zipper merging.

I do sometimes see motorcyclists in heavy traffic choose to do on the highway what bicyclists must do. For no obvious reason other than convenience they can sometimes be seen riding on the shoulder then cutting across the merge pocket to dart over to the next shoulder and usually they do it without slowing down from 80km/h+. And that is just selfish, stupid and dangerous. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Lots of motorcyclists would benefit from realizing that they are morally no better or worse than cars, and that they should take up a position just like any other car would and cease performing maneuvers in a way that regular cars wouldn't do - i.e. scraping by cars at 3 inches away when passing, merging or switching lanes, or darting across an intersection after squeezing between a left and a right turning vehicles into the path of a left turning vehicle that assumed that since both of the opposing lanes are taken up by cars which don't intend to go straight it would be safe to proceed with the left turn.

There are very few differences between cars and motorcycles in the law, but motorcyclists are using the advantage of their size and weight to constantly appear (for their convenince) in-places that no prudent reasonable driver could expect a full sized car to physically be able to make to. I think thats the reason for a large chunk of the "I didn't even see you" whoopsies.

Question for DriveSmartBC

Regarding motorcycles in bicycle lanes (and shoulders):

Are motorcycles allowed in bicycle lanes in BC? I observe anywhere between 5 to 20 motorcycles pass by me on Lower Level road / Marine drive in North Vancouver riding in a bicycle lane daily.

What about on shoulders of Hwy1? I see about 1-2 per week go on shoulders. Is there a fine for doing either?

Lane Use

Bicycle lanes are for bicycles (and other forms of human powered items like skateboards depending on municipal bylaws).

Driving a motor vehicle on the shoulder is forbidden at any time.

Lane Use

"Driving a motor vehicle on the shoulder is forbidden at any time."

The exception being emergency vehicles, but only when responding to an emergency call.

Cyclists vs Motorcyclists

Oh dear, I'm glad you got that anti biker rant out. Feeling better?

I'm not even going to get started with a long.....list of how dangerous many car drivers are with regards to other road users. I'd probably hit the character limit for posts here if I attempted to.
Top of my pet hates is distracted drivers texting and rear ending other vehicles, which is still in on the rise, despite increases in fines and government sponsored driver education initiatives. Distracted driving now causes more deaths per year in BC than impaired driving.

Cars, driven by distracted drivers, rear ending motorcycles in stationary, or slow moving, traffic is fast climbing up the charts to becoming the main cause of serious injury or death for motorcyclists.

You're probably going to struggle with the concept of motorcycles filtering in busy traffic when its legalised.
You'll be sat in a line up and bikes will be filtering between the lines of traffic to the front, and whats more it will be perfectly legal to do so and will save riders lives to boot!

Motorcycle filtering will be legalised. Why? Because distracted car drivers keep rear ending bikes and crushing the rider between two vehicles. More often than not seriously injuring or killing them.

Bearing in mind of course that I would suggest your anti biker style comments are likely based on your experience of only driving cars, whereby my comments are based on years of experience driving Trucks, Cars and Motorycles in various countries around the world, not just North America. I see it from all angles. I know for sure that the biggest threat to life on the highways in busy traffic is cars taking bikers out for one reason or another. And yes it happens when cars join freeways using the on ramp (acceleration lane). It a known fact that car drivers simply struggle to register seeing bikes on the road, whether they are peddle bikes or motorcycles. Most don't shoulder check either which the law requires them to do!

Nice dude

A well pointed correction to the fact that the above article has little reason to include motorcycles together with bicycles when it comes to a caution about the merge pockets - and a head gasket is blown. Or rather I think it's the entire cylinder wall. Seems to me that your comments are based on years of accumulation of anger, righteous indignation and me-me-me self-centrism.

If you are one of those dudes that intentionally knocks off car mirrors and darts through traffic because a car was trying to switch lanes in dense traffic when a "lane-filtering" motorcyclist rides up at 80 miles an hour between crawling-stopped cars - then no, I don't support that kind of lane filtering. Those sorts of riders forfeit their claim to shared roads - as they have no intention of sharing them.

And if you think cars are so dangerous to motorcyclists - which I agree with - why even ride? Obviously this my opinion, and you can accept it as it is, or blow your drive-shaft over it - but I see little difference between riding a motorcycle on city streets and plunging down Niagara falls in an oak barrel. I don't require to gamble with my life to enjoy it. In-fact I like my life so much, I take little risks so I can make it last ;)

That's outrageous

It’s clear to me, by your statement above, that you feel there is little reason to include motorcycles, together with bicycles, when it comes to caution concerning merge pockets.

When driving a car or a truck I definitely do include motorcycles, along with push bikes, in my cautionary sweep of the highway when merging. Then I look again for them. I do this because I am aware that car and truck drivers are less likely to see, and register the presence of, a two wheeled vehicle such as a push bike or a motorcycle when compared with a four wheeled vehicle. It is outrageous to suggest that there is little reason to include motorcycles with push bikes when it comes to caution about merge pockets and is also is a pretty poor approach to road safety.

I don't have years of accumulated anger as you suggest, instead I have a balanced view from both sides of the fence. It's based on years of road experience driving semi-rigs, cars and riding motorcycles on the roads in various countries around the world in Europe, Asia and North America. I have completed an advance motorcycle riders course also.
My view draws on more experience than someone pottering around BC roads in a car for most of their life and feeling they are a safe driver.

Knocking mirrors off cars is something I would not do.
I advocate for legal filtering for motorcycles as a safety initiative. Riding at 128km/hr (80mph in the USA maybe) between stopped cars is not safe nor legal. I agree that riders that do that should be dealt with as the law allows. I don't support that kind of lane filtering either.

I don't think cars are dangerous to motorcyclists. I think some car drivers are a threat to motorcyclists, especially when they feel there is little reason to include motorcycles, together with bicycles, when it comes to caution concerning merge pockets!

Where is the evidence?

Interesting post, covers a few areas. However ...

Motorcycle filtering will be legalised. Why? Because distracted car drivers keep rear ending bikes and crushing the rider between two vehicles. More often than not seriously injuring or killing them.

Obviously, a motorcyclist is far more likely to be killed or injured in a collision with another vehicle; and clearly, distracted driving is likely to increase the chances of rear-ending another vehicle or in some way becoming involved in a collision.

But where's your proof that in any significant way, motorcylists are getting wiped out by distracted drivers like this?

Most don't shoulder check either which the law requires them to do!

Which law is that please? Can't say that I'm familiar (though obviously, shoulder-checking is a good idea any time the driver isn't 100% certain that there's nothing beside them).

 

You require evidence? (Google is your friend).

Obviously, a motorcyclist is far more likely to be killed or injured in a collision with another vehicle; and clearly, distracted driving is likely to increase the chances of rear-ending another vehicle or in some way becoming involved in a collision. But where's your proof that in any significant way, motorcylists are getting wiped out by distracted drivers like this?

You wrote: Distracted driving is 'likely to increase' the chances. Distracted driving clearly does increase the chances of rear ending another vehicle. There is no likely about it. Distracted driving, due to mobile device use, is on the increase.

I think we can agree on that as the law has seen fit to legislate against it. (please don't ask me to produce evidence of which law)

Vehicles being rear ended through distracted driving in stationary or slow moving traffic is also on the increase. Hopefully we can agree on that also. Before you read the evidence you have requested, what do you feel the next logical statement might be in this case? More motorcycles are being rear ended maybe? I mean, if more cars are being rear ended, through distracted driving, its fair to assume that more bikes are being rear ended right? The problem being, when a car is rear ended the driver of the car impacted ends up with whiplash or similar and goes to work after a few days off. If a motorcycle is rear ended, as a result of distracted driving, the rider gets crushed between two cars and ends up with a serious injury or even dies as a result. I think one motorcyclist being crushed between two cars is pretty significant. Two motorcyclists being crushed in two different incidents is very significant indeed. Hopefully we can agree on that also.

You can read reports and studies that support my stance through the links below:

Merging into traffic

I wonder how many people saw the item on merging put out by Coquitlam?

Would like to see the Drivers Manual updated to show better diagrams regarding this format. It is by far the safest and does eliminate accidents. I have been doing this all my driving life and have to agree that some people, and it is getting worse, do resent anyone that merges at the end of the line especially when it is for construction. But, as the video shows merging at the end of the line does speed up traffic flow.

Best example I saw of this was traffic merging to go across the 1st. narrows. For years everyone followed the zipper method then around the early 80's saw a demographic change in drivers especially from West Van and in a few short years it was the norm to merge early then refuse to let anyone else in.

As for motorcycles and bicycles everything regarding driving is a two way situation in my mind. When I'm merging I look for the biggest gap in the lane I am merging into, wait for the last minute signal my intentions in advance and slip into that hole. The driver I am pulling in front of has had time to adjust their speed whether it is a motorcycle or car and they can clearly see the acceleration lane is ending. Bicycles are different as they seldom can keep up with the flow of traffic so one does have to adjust for them.

Where I currently live the biggest threat to motorcyclist is motorcycles themselves. The majority of accidents are single vehicle accidents with no other vehicle involved.

Google Ads