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  • September 01, 2022 3 min read

    Straight-lining, apexlng, taking the racing line and off-siding are some of the names used to describe being on the 'wrong side of the road.' But exactly what is the wrong side of the road? We pay a lot of vehicle excise duty and all of that glorious tarmac Is available to us isn't it? I mean as an advanced driver or rider we all know we can use it In certain circumstances and it just depends doesn't it?

    Ask your average road user what they think about seeing a vehicle or motorcycle on the opposite carriageway to their norm and they will cry 'dangerous.'


    Ah! Here is the first lesson - perception. We must be careful of the perception our actions have on other road users. At best they may wave at us In a rather less than encouraging way, .at worst they may take avoiding action such that bent metal and twisted bodies are the result.

    With the help of my colleague IAM RoadSmart Head of Standards Richard Gladman, here Is your definitive guide to this subject.

    What is Off-siding? 

    off-sidingIt is the practice of moving to the off-side of the road across either centre line markings or hazard tine markings on the approach to a left-hand bend where you do not have a view around the bend.

    Generally, when executed it ls In an attempt to encourage the limit point of vision to match/open quicker and allow a greater speed of approach.

    Issues often arise when a vehicle comesInto view and your movement required to adopt a position of safety Is sudden and often coarse.The oncoming vehicle could react to your presence and this may cause a chain reaction behind It.

    At speeds within the posted limit, the benefit of this extreme offside positioning is all but negated; even in Roadcraftwhere the focus ls on progress for emergency service drivers, the practice of off-siding is not mentioned or encouraged. It advocates positioning towards the centre line and they encourage you to consider approaching traffic, your effect on others and whether there is any advantage - all very much In sync with the1AM RoadSmart advanced course material.They finish by saying 'Don't position yourself In a way that causes concern to other road users.'


    What is not Off-siding? 

    not off-siding

    Adopting a straight line through a series of bends, where we have a clear view of the road and the road surface (road marking permitting) i.e. "the road is mine until the loss of vision in 400m my mirrors are clear and I'm adopting a straight and stable course".

    Opening up the radius of a bend where vision is available of any potential oncoming traffic or other hazards on a generally open road. 

    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 side of the road. 



    There's a phrase that will help you decide when you can apply the off-side rule safely. However, I reiterate we never simply off-side on the approach to a left-hand bend. 

    • Safe - is it safe to do so?
    • Legal - is it legal to do so? Observe the road markings
    • Achieve - do you actually achieve something or are you just show boating? 
    • Perception - what is the perception of another road user of your actions? 

    Sean Cronin


    About the author

    Sean Cronin is the IAM RoadSmart Regional Service Delivery Manager for the South of the UK. He also has responsibility for Region 1 groups and examiners. 

    Shaun retired from his first career as an Inspector with Dorset Police in late 2014 after spending nearly 20 years of his service policing the roads in cars and on bikes. Shaun has worked with IAM RoadSmart groups in Dorset over many years, and was a keen participant in BikeSafe. 

    A committed modern Triumph rider, he now examines National Observer candidates and tests the Masters for both car and on bikes. 


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