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how to act around traffic

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by cleanhands, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. My late night practice sessions have led me to commuting to uni, work and elsewhere.

    I've accumulated a few experiences regarding traffic and had some questions about incidents that occurred to me:

    On a 50 road in a populated area, indicating right into a sidestreet. There are two lanes I am on the one closest to the right turn. I'm parked pretty much in between the two lanes and a car goes by me *almost* knocking my leg. Maybe he felt in control but that was way too close for comfort. I'm wondering whether from now I should turn my bike to face the right turn and block as much of the lane as possible so people don't decide to fly by me sharing the lane? maybe this was a one-off and I was just lucky.

    You can see a car starting to pull out in front of you, what are you looking at and considering when you decide to speed up or slow down?

    When coming up into a cars blindspot I try to stay as close to his mirrors as possible (so I'm within their field of view) once I come up too close for him to see me I try and accelerate rapidly up to his front window or ahead of him - so he sees me and doesn't decide to merge into me. Is there anything to this, do you guys do it?

    Another thing is how do you use your lane? I try move around mine as much as possible. When there are no cars right next to me I'll stay as close to the line as possible (I want to take up as much room as possible so people can stay away), and if there are cars next to me I'll move to the center or edge of the lane so I can have more response time if they decide to merge into me.

    When in heavy traffic do you guys try accelerate out of blind spots as much as possible and then slow?
  2. My recommendation would be remain parallel to the lines, as you were, you can't avoid cars doing what they did, there are idiots everywhere. The main reason for NOT point your bike at an angle is to avoid being pushed into oncoming traffic if you were to be hit from behind. Same goes for driving a car, should always keep the wheels straight before turning and not turned towards the corner, for the same reason.

    Buffering and brakes to start with, need to not only consider the car but also other vehicles so you buffer everything as much as possible.

    Buffering again, read up on this. Important to ensure you can see the driver in their mirrors but never assume they will actually use them!

    Again buffering covers this.

    Accelerate a little or slow down a little depending on conditions and what I think the other vehicle is likely to do in the next few seconds.
  3. I'll watch their front wheels and their eyes. I won't set-up the brakes, but I'll cover the front in case they continue to pull out.
  4. If im going through a blind spot, ill use the wheel track thats furthest from the car in question.

    I also tend to burst through a blind spot, ill stay behind the rear of the car untill i can can get right through to the front, or at least level with the FRONT of their car.
  5. Were you in-between the 2 lanes like right on the white line? I would recommend being more in a wheel track so a car can't get around you. (unless they mount the kerb)

    Are you talking about the line between lanes? Wouldn't the right wheel track be better? What if someone overtakes you that you didn't see?
  6. I usualy stay in the middle of the lane ( not on the white line) so the car have to stay behind not come right next to me, and I also try Togo pass the car not to stay on the blind spot and did what you said slow down.
  7. yeah , probly skip the middle of the lane, espessially at the lights, as that is where all the oil and grease drops.

    I wont sit on a cars hip if i can help it, get up to atleast level with the front doors, give em a quick check to see what they are doing. any eating or yapping on mobile i tend to keep moving.

    I move around the lane when i just get behind a car, May seem a bit itimidating but , preffer they notice me .

    Same even if i have right of way at an intercetion , i move around causing them to notice me. Cover brakes, check the intersection for runners and keep moving.

    As others have said, watch their eyes and their wheels, usually a god indicator of where they want to go .
  8. Huh!..having trouble understanding what happened exactly in this scenario...?

    You are looking for a clear path around the car...usually on the brakes and around the back of the car is what I am looking to do...speed is the main concern, reduce it and be prepared to dodge left or right depending on what they do...Of course...try to be off the brakes when you take evasive action...better to brake harder than might be necessary, inititially...don't worry....you'll get a feel for it...Speeding up is not usually a very good idea at all...adds to the risk and pain if worst comes to worst, but it can be an option "sometimes"...

    As a general rule, I will not sit anywhere near the side of a car, whether I am in their mirrors or not. (of course...sometimes it cannot be helped).
    I sit in one of two clear places...in front, or behind, with no half-way measures.
    When I pass, I pass purposefully to reduce the amount of time I am beside the car.
    In heavy peak hr, it is harder to do that, so you just have to keep your wits about you..you will eventually develope a sense of current safetly margin and will know what to do about it...But whatever you do, do not sit beside a car in their blind spot...the few that DO bother to look will not be able to see you.

    Eh...close to the line?..who ever said you should be doing that?...you'll get hit. If there is a car nearby to your left, ease into the RH wheel mark...if a car is to the right, ease into the LH wheel mark...if there is a car nearby on both sides of you, then ride in the middle of your lane.
    I personally do not move around all over the place unless it is required...it only serves as an annoyance the car behind you, and it may be seen as a lack of confidence...making you shark bait.

    Ride the position you are in like that's exactly where you intended to be.

    NEVER be in a blond spot...but there's no need to be blasting all over the place...just ease out of there asap, either by easing on or off the gas.
    Be smooth and consistent.

    Just my 2 cents. :wink:

  9. To add to Raven's comment; lane positioning and other "body language" subconsciously transmits caveman instinct information to other humans.

    Wobbling unsteadily in the far left of the lane with almost enough room for a car to squeeze past you is a submissive, timid, unconfident position and an invitation for anyone to overtake you.

    Riding proudly in the right wheeltrack, providing no room for a car to overtake, blocking the driver's forward vision (because you're in-line with the drivers' heads), smoothly changing lane positions and generally looking steadfast, self-assured and in complete control of the traffic tends to tell drivers "Don't f*** with me; I'm bigger than you and higher in the food chain".

    (Of course, the difficulty is that new riders will tend to feel unconfident and will automatically take a more submissive lane position, where cars will take advantage of them and further destroy the rider's confidence...)

    Changing wheeltracks as necessary to stay visible/safe takes priority of course, but I think it's important to avoid looking timid when you're not wearing a 1.5 tonne muscle suit. Be assertive! Be smooth! Make your bike look as though it's as wide and impassible as a HMMWV! :cool:
  10. Don't mean to hijack, but is there any advice for body-language with regards to tail-gaters?

    I had one sitting right up my bum a few days ago - nothing malicious, just oblivious and in a rush.

    All clear in front, I spun around and looked at him for a moment - though with sunnies on - hopefully transmitting "back off, dickhead".

    It didn't really seem to make a difference.

    I ride confidently and assertively, I'm a biggish guy, and I understand that I need to create a bigger buffer in front when I get a tail-gater.

    Anyone have any (sensible) ideas?
  11. drew this up quickly to help explain:


    that blue line is me on my bike indicating that I'm going to turn right into the street (indicated by two white dots). Red is the car that wanted to clip my leg.

    White lines on the left because there were parked cars there..

    If I'm being tailgated I move lanes and let the tailgater overtake.

    Otherwise I'll slow down alot (hopefully encourage them to overtake into oncoming traffic) and move over when I can... (this is what my learners instructor told me he does)

    Another question:
    Has anyone here been chased or intentionally intimidated by another car?

    just a few days ago on my way to work I was well ahead of traffic, when I noticed in my mirrors a car rapidly accelerating towards me taking up two lanes (he was driving on the center line). I panicked a little and shot off through orange lights that I would usually not go through (they turned red when I was half-way through the intersection).

    When I'm in my car, no worries, never panic, just slow down alot. but on my bike I'm obviously feeling alot more vulnerable to hoons next to me. And given that I work nightshifts there seem to be alot more of these people around when I'm riding...
  12. I had a large truck/semi right on my ass as I was exiting the Western Ring Rd via the Dalton Rd exit recently.
    For the last 200m or so, he was right up my clacker, with me slowing down a tad..car ahead of me exiting also.
    I tapped my rear brake 2-3 times to give him a heads up... no change, he stuck there as if trying to prove some point (I guess how much of a tool he was)...
    What 'ticked' me off though, was the fact he didn't exit..kept going straight, from the furthermost left/exiting lane. I flipped my visor up and whilst exiting, inline with him, gave him the most 'evil' look I could muster....
    Oh, I memorise number plates during most rides, for 'future' reference, where required :cool:
  13. Looks like you were hugging the far right of the lane?

    Many drivers are notoriously stupid and think that they are just as skilled at splitting as many motorcyclists and thus have a go. My advice is don't give him the room to do it. Move to the left whilst indicating right so if he wants to overtake he has to change lanes to do so....

    and be sure to give him the evil eye as he passes you to let him know that bikers ain't soft c0cks. :twisted:
  14. About a year ago after having some experience with tailgaters I put a "Back Off" sign (see bike pics) on the back of my bag so they could see it very clear. And it really helps...no tailgaiting at all since then. The only couple of times it has happend I had a rain cover on the bag and they could not see the sign. Apparently even most stupid ones are still getting the message and consider it as a direction on what they should do....at least it is looking like that :)
  15. What Tiger said, the 'riding proud' thing, is very true. Make everyone think your some sort of hard-case with nothing to lose; brain damaged and violent with no fuse to speak of... :shock: :LOL:

    Seriously though, it's good advice. People notice you.

    Happens a bit, as well as naive cagers who creep up on your because they don't see a wall of metal in front of them. I like to turn around and give them a look if the path ahead is clear. Still there? Same again with a shooing hand gesture.

    If they just wont quit, or really are endangering you, just pull over and let them by. They can go harrass somone else as far as I'm concerned.

    Cheers - boingk

  16. Aha!..oK...i get ya now..:)
    Actually, you did everything correctly...but as an added bit of safety I always watch the left mirror while I am sitting there, just incase some goose does'nt look like he is going to miss me. It will also prevent you from getting unsettled when they DO wiz by too close, coz you'll be prepared for it.

    As a side note, which can't always happen, I know...but I try to avoid getting stuck in that situation in the first place...Approaching the corner I will try to adjust my speed up or down so I can just complete the turn without stopping at all. That will at least minimize the chances of elbow brush.

  17. mmmm....tailgaiters...no one rule fits the fix, except the ultimate one...remove yourself from the threat. No point in trying to be hard-nosed and holding onto your little part on the road when a ton or more of nitwit is clearly giving it no concern or is playing the intimidation game.

    If it's the latter, the worst thing you can do is speed up...that just puts them 2ft behind you, but at higher speed instead - MUCH more dangerous.
    If it's really bad, then turn off into a street or a garage or parking spot - fu*k 'em!...you can continue down the road a minute later, and follow therm if they happen to be going your way. (NOTE...I always like to put anything that has threatened me, in front, where I can be proactive by keeping an eye on them.

    Another alternative is to just say good-bye, and give it handful - something I can do on the thou quite easily. I'll then fitler through at the next traffic light so they can't get anywhere near me.

    If it happens to just be a half asleep nitwit just driving too close....simply get out of the way...move lanes, whatever you need to do...use the cover of other less stupid cars for your protection.

    Of course...you could always give them a punch in the head at the next traffic light - but all the other drivers see is you attacking and innocent bloke in the street and once you've made that move, you have put yourself in MAJOR PERIL...The average car is a wonderful weapon!

    BTW...for you young blokes - backing away from intimidation is not an easy thing to do - I know - coz I'm pretty fiesty, myself.
    Don't think of it as backing down....think of it as out-smarting said a-hole and nonchalantly continueing on your way - stopping your beloved bike from being mangled. You'll get home and have a smug look on your dial.

    Sorry not lecturing - Just passing it along..
  18. Well said John, you should be the poster boy against CBD violence :applause:

    When this happens to me in the car it's easy enough to get p***ed over it, so the bike's even easier with the lack of protection we have as riders. But it's not worth the hassle, I've done some bloody stupid things overtaking smartass cagers who have nearly run me off the road on the 250 to think to myself later on what a fool I was and I could have very easily been killed. And it's very easy for somebody in a car to make a statement that it was your fault when your in a coma or worse and can't give your side of the story.