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First time on the Westgate for morning peak - nightmare!

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by Sickly, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Hey guys,

    I hadn't even finished my ride and all I wanted to do was get to work and start this post. I thought I'd get up and leave early to avoid too much of the traffic, but the highway was typically gridlocked at 6:45am. It was my third time on the freeway, and my first time in peak traffic, so I thought I'd take it slow, pick a lane, and use the oppurtunity to practice stopping and starting in first, and riding at slow speeds.

    You would think that me not lane splitting would have guarranteed me a relatively safe ride (lesson learned). FOUR times this morning I was almost struck as cars just swerved into my lane, nearly sidewinding me. My horn got a hell of workout and one car almost hit my legs. Only one person offered any sort of apology, which was more of a sheepish look than any genuine concern.

    What I did end up learning was that even at 10kph, surrounded by cars, some people just will not look properly and will dive on the closest gap. Safe riding everyone.

  2. Glad you made it ok. Treat it like no one has seen you and always be in defensive mode.

    Maybe get a louder exhaust for cars to hear you as they don't see you. This has helped me heaps.
  3. I just don't ride on freeways any more, unless there is no alternative.
    Bad place for a motorcycle these days.
  4. A few words of advise;
    1. Ride like you are invisible (you are!)
    2. Ride like you own your lane (feel intimidated and you will look intimidated)
    3. Ride slightly faster than the surrounding traffic (allows you the freedom to make most of the decisions and less reatcionary actions)
    4. A horn will not save you
    5. Don’t grip the bars to tight
    6. Be confident riding before battling 1600kg of cage
  5. My Brother-in-law rode to St Kilda via Westgate freeway (live in West). HE made sure he stayed in the left most lane so that he could swerve into emergency lane if need be to avoid cars. He managed to get to work and back without any major incident. Most likely he was just lucky. I on the other hand am no where near ready for that experience :). Good points made by others.
  6. That’s the least safest lane to be in!
  7. Could you explain why?
  8. It could be because of all the people merging that makes the left lane unsafe?

    Thanks for all the tips guys, I'm going to have to own my lane a bit more and ensure I'm visible to others but fully aware that they may not be able to see me at all.

    Nerves have calmed down a fair bit now.
  9. Have a look for threads with the key word "roadcraft" - and learn, it will save your life.
  10. Several reasons but not limited to.
    1. You have vehicles merging off (last second decisions)
    2. You have vehicles merging on (watching for larger road users not bikes)
    3. You are travelling on the left hand side of other vehicles (the less visible side)
    4. Lane 3 in this case including the bridge should be your choice until you exit

    Using lane 1 because it has an escape route is a very small return for situational awareness in the first place.
    Would the rider check to see if anything is coming up from behind before diving into the emergency lane? I bet not so that makes it even less of a good option.

    Happy to debate.
  11. ^^^+1000000000000000000000000000000 2WA is spot on. Point 1 is a clincher for me. When ever you approach an exit (especially if you're in the left lane, but less so if in the other non-outside lanes), look right, beside and behind... there might be a car diving from an outside lane trying to make the exit.
  12. Spot on. I ride rather aggressively (even on freeways!) and I find this has served me well. When I was a young bloke I was always getting cut off and merged into, I might add I was being very law abiding.
    Now I sit between 10 to 20 (+) kms/hr above the speed limit and I can say in absolute honesty that I never get cut off now where it has left me frazzled.
    I am always concentrating and you can usually see dangers ahead of you and take appropriate actions to avoid them.
  13. Until one day you are cut off and because you are travelling much quicker than the vehicle you might end up running into the back of means there's a fair chance you'll end up in hospital....
  14. Maaate. IF if if. I've been doing this long enough now to know it works for me, and quite a few others. I'm not saying ride around with your mind half asleep but stay on the ball.
  15. On the inbound Westgate during rush hour, I usually keep to the rightmost lanes up to the Miller's Road onramp, then switch to the left lane (sometimes carefully to the merging lane, if there's a sudden stop). The merging lane is long and narrow, meaning bikes can go a much longer way up than cars if need be, and serves as a good escape route.

    I stay on the left lane between there and Williamstown Road, because traffic usually flows on that lane only (because of the exit). Between the exit and the start of the bridge incline, I gradually change back into the rightmost lanes (carefully observing if traffic is stopping during the lane changing). I've noticed that trucks tend to leave huge gaps in stop-start traffic, so they wouldn't have to come to a standstill. This makes an ideal lane-change spot for multi-lane changes, once done with the proper checks and following spaces, plus a touch of finesse! (y) HTH!
  16. Live and breath this and you will survive.
    I apply this every morning and afternoon on the commute.
    Doesn't hurt to be a bit aggressive aswell. Better off looking like a jerk than a dead one.
    True story.
  17. Another testimonial to good tips for commuting.

    Amen to the above.
  18. I like to position the bike in a way that if this happens and I don't have time to brake, then I can at the very least do an emergency lane split and sacrifice the mirrors for more braking distance.

    I could imagine it would be less painful than smashing into the metal carcass of a cager.