April 12, 2016

Ride Safely: Riding Tips in Heavy Traffic

Imagine the best ride you have ever had on your motorcycle. There’s a good chance that the first image that popped into your head did not involve a multitude of other cars in the middle of rush hour on your commute back home from work. When anyone talks about owning a motorcycle, they often focus on the great adventures on the road and the freedom they feel. The grand idea of just you and your bike on the open road is often impeded by the grueling time spent in heavy traffic. Driving your car through traffic is a nightmare as it is; but for those riding a motorcycle, it could be worse. Riding through traffic on a bike requires motorcyclists to focus on a multitude of details and numerous quick decisions must be made. Doing all of them correctly can mean getting home in time for dinner, whereas committing a mistake could lead to an unfortunate accident. Here are some strategies motorcyclists should keep in mind when weaving through traffic

 Do not give cars any reason to say they couldn’t see you.

You could be wearing the brightest neon jacket with a multitude of lights flashing around your vehicle and cars could still hit you. Positioning and visibility is key for motorcyclists riding through traffic. It is always best to avoid riding right beside a car. This is because by riding beside the car, you will only be in the driver’s peripheral vision. It is always best to be as visible as possible. So position yourself in front of the car closest to you. This will prevent any accident because the driver need not check their side mirrors nor use their turn signals.

motorcycle safe tripPhoto Source: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com

Give yourself options.

Always assume that drivers do not see you. Given the small frame of a motorcycle, the chances of you not being visible to a driver is fairly high. There is a good chance that the car in front of you might unexpectedly make a full stop or the car on your side might swerve into your lane. It is always best for you to keep a safe distance between yourself and the car in front. This will give you enough leeway for you to react in case something happens. Driving at a safe distance also gives you the much needed vision of the road ahead as well as giving drivers headed in your direction visibility of you.

Look at everything.

You cannot be a lazy motorcyclist. You cannot just keep your eyes glued to the road. Look at everything that will determine what other drivers will do next. A good trick to learn is to keep an eye out for the heads of the drivers (seen through the side mirrors) and the wheels of the cars. These are a better gauge for determining whether a car will make a turn rather than keeping an eye out for their signal lights. Use your own side mirrors to check whether you have fallen into the blind spot of a car behind you and adjust your position accordingly. Always steer clear from driver who are too distracted by their phones to pay attention to the road.

motorcycle safe tripPhoto Source: https://www.youtube.com

Always fear the left turn.

Never assume that the left-turning car in oncoming traffic is going to see you. Keep your light bright and try swerving a bit within your lane to catch the eye of that car. Another trick is to stick beside a car on your side of the traffic as drivers will generally pay more attention to the car and not you. These left turners have been known to not perceive motorcyclists as threats and would passively not perceive them. If you see their wheels already turned and started to roll, just slow down and wait for him to pass. There is no need to accelerate and risk an accident.

Keeping these tips in mind might be the thing that saves you from a major accident. You must remember that no matter what thrill and adventure you seek in riding, it is never much fun to have severe injuries due to carelessness.

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