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Watching You

It is interesting to watch what people do while driving when they see a squad car on the side of the road. Invariably they will immediately slow down, sometimes so their speed is well under the posted limit. If the disco lights are flashing on the squad, some might not do anything, apparently thinking that the officer already has someone stopped so they're safe. On the other hand, if the squad is sitting just off the road, brake lights can normally be seen everywhere.

What do you do when you see a vehicle with a red and blue light bar on the road? If you catch up to a squad that is travelling ahead of you on a multilane highway, do you slow down or maintain your speed? Does your riding change if you suddenly see a law enforcement vehicle filling your mirrors? Are you always looking for these vehicles as you guide your bike along the ribbon of pavement?

What happens when you cruise to a stop sign and see a police cruiser on the other side facing you? You have a clear view as you approach the intersection and it's obvious there is no other traffic. Would you coast through the stop sign with the clutch squeezed or would you stop and make sure you got a boot on the pavement before proceeding? Or would you put both feet down before taking off again as many states require for a legal stop? Would you allow a little more room than normal between you and the vehicle ahead?

If you are planning to turn right, would you sneak alongside the cars in the right lane waiting for the traffic signal? There's plenty of unobstructed room in the parking lane and your state allows a right turn on red. If you see a patrol car waiting for the light to turn green, might you make sure you come to a full stop in the traffic lane when you would normally just slow to an almost stop before rounding the corner if the cruiser wasn't there?

If a deputy sheriff was following you when you wanted to change lanes, would you turn on your signal at the last minute as you're making the move or would you let everyone know what you're going to do before you do it? Would you make a check of your mirror? Would you do an obvious, but quick, check of your blind spot?

Are there other things you would or wouldn't do under the watchful eye of a state trooper that are different from your normal riding? What does that say about your riding style? If you know the right way to behave in traffic, why are you doing something else in your everyday riding? Why don't you use the proper techniques all the time?

Would you be an even better rider if you looked at every ride as though a law enforcement officer was following you? Riding like you're always being watched can keep bad habits from slipping into your riding style and allow you enjoy your riding even more. Not only will it keep you safer, but it can also help avoid being invited to the Policeman's Ball.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!