Hopefully, you’ll never experience the sinking feeling of having your motorcycle suddenly sputter and die while you’re in the left hand lane of a crowded highway traveling at 70 mph. Or maybe it’s that mushy wobble of a rear tire that is quickly going flat. Mechanical problems are never fun, but on the interstate, they can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper steps. So, what’s a rider to do?
If you’re traveling in traffic when your bike dies, you’ll want to get to the side of the road as quickly as possible. Immediately turn on your bike’s flashers (if it has them). Next, you’ll need to decide which side of the highway you’ll be able to reach. The right side, with its emergency lane, is ideal, but it isn’t always possible. With your flashers or turn signal on, wave your left hand to attract attention of the drivers around you as you begin to slow and change lanes. You want to make yourself as visible as possible. If you’re lucky, some driver will help to escort you across the lanes by driving behind you with their flashers on. (I’ve had this happen on the mean streets of Los Angeles, of all places.)
Once on the side of the road, you should move your bike as far away from traffic as possible. If you’re on the left side of the road with only a retaining wall between the two directions of traffic, you’re quite literally in a tight spot. Lean your bike against the wall to make it take up the least room as possible. Keep the flashers on if you can.
Getting a flat tire can mess up your day, but not being careful on the side of a busy interstate can make the situation much worse.
With the bike parked, …read more