SEE: Bike's time/space window.


We differ radically from the MSF's recommendations for following and sight distances.

See our report on braking time and following distance.

Following Distance: At least 3 seconds over 30 MPH, at least 4 seconds over 55 MPH, at least 5 seconds over 75 MPH, at least an additional 25% in the wet or on loose surfaces, and an additional 10 percent on downhill grades. (calculations and details here).

In particular, we note that our revised stopping time for 60 mph, at four seconds, runs right up to the MSF immediate path recommendation of four seconds, so we offer the TEAM OREGON numbers for immediate path and anticipated path.

Immediate Path: 10 seconds (MSF recommends 4 seconds). The immediate path is the space you intended to travel, and anything in the immediate path requires a rider response.

Sight Distance/Anticipated Path: 20 seconds (MSF recommends 12 seconds). The anticipated path is the forward area that you are actively scanning.

We agree that it is hard to maintain these intervals in city driving, as a cage will often jump in to occupy spots bigger than two seconds. It would be the ideal, and if you are forced into a smaller following distance, scanning the anticipated path and looking for escape routes becomes more important. Scanning for brake lights several vehicles ahead has a premium in those situations.

Group Considerations: How this plays out in a group ride is not clear. If the group is experienced and cohesive, and the lead or road captain is allowing additional following distance and appropriate immediate path and sight distances, then the group as a whole might be able to operate with the traditional 2-second rule between riders, but we recommend extra space at highway speeds. We think that the braking performance of a group is that of it's worst member, and every group probably has a less-trained or less-experienced rider, or someone whose tires are marginal or with a brake issue, or not paying attention.


Estimate distances to all vehicles traveling in the same direction, and any which might cross or turn across your path, at least as far ahead as the anticipated path, 20 seconds, but also those behind.

Estimate the speed and direction of each vehicle.


Your stopping distance, sight distance and anticipated path.

Probable stopping distance of the other vehicles scanned.


See excerpt from the Florida Motorcycle Handbook

The objective is to maneuver to achieve a safe following distance or to create escape routes to compensate.