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Melbourne drivers vs the rest of the world

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by StereoHead, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Being a Dutch Kiwi, living in Melbourne gives me some insights into traffic that a lot of people dont have.... I moved to melbourne just under 3 years ago, and my first impressions of melbourne drivers still stick...

    Believe it or not, on the world stage, Melbourne drivers arent so bad... Sure, things could be better, but all in all, not bad at all...

    Amsterdam (Holland)
    In and around Amsterdam you will find that drivers are not bad... They tend to drive very quickly through very thin roads without slowing down, but that seems to be their most major failing. They indicate at all times, are very aware of motorcycles and bicycles (mostly because bicycles outnumber cars in Amsterdam) and are generally courtious to other drivers.. People do suffer from the occasional road rage, but I think the general feeling around amsterdam is that of resigned futility... In fact, in amsterdam you really are better off bying a bicycle or "brommer" (what they call a 50cc bike)...

    Paris (France)
    Driving in paris nearly gave me a heart attack.... Even though I am not faint of heart by any stretch of the imagination we ditched the car driving idea pretty quickly... The french in paris are absolute maniacs. People dont bother indicating, they will park just about anywhere (in the centre of round abouts... etc) and if you do park your car along the side of a road, it may have been moved (i.e. they push your car with theirs) when you come back... Scooters are very common over there, and so are bikes.... The bikes/scooters also dont bother indicating, and cut through traffic like a hot knife through butter...

    London (England)
    I didnt actually drive in london, in fact, during some parts of the day, no one drives in london... People get in their cars and pull out onto the road and sit there for several hours.... eventually they get home... From what I saw in the short time I was there it was gridlock everywhere... Scooters and motorcycles filter through and make some progress... People hurl abuse at each other on a regular basis... but no one seems to take it personally. I guess you have to do something in your spare time...

    Malaga (Spain)
    I realise Malaga is not a large city... In fact, it is quite small, but this gorgeous little seaside town on Costa Del Sol is the largest city I went to in Spain... Most summer days in Malaga are comparable to Melbourne on a hot day, dry, 37 degrees... People in Malaga drive curtiously... but scooter riders are everywhere... They dont wear helmets, they dont indicate, they generally swerve all over the road... Car drivers make up for this by giving them a wide berth... Perhaps this is something we should teach melbourne drivers.

    Dusseldorf (germany)
    I was surprised at the quality of driving in Dusseldorf, people were very patient, giving way, and were generally very polite drivers. In fact, I bet they have a very low accident rate, people just seemed so polite...

    Auckland (New Zealand)
    During rush hour, auckland gets clogged up... They have no ring roads, so every major arterial runs through the same intersection (known as spaghetti junction) in the centre of the city.... Generally Auckland drivers are pretty good, but during rush hour, the moment they break free from the traffic congestion they are unpredictable and erratic...

    Melbourne (Australia)
    Although people are generally curtious and consientious, there are a few failings that melbourne drivers have...

    Indicating... People just do not do it often enough, or well enough.... In other countries most people indicate 3 seconds before turning, or changing lanes... In melbourne, most people either dont do it, or they only do it during the turning procedure... Believe it or not... this includes the police..

    the melbourne half-merge.. On any road where there are trams you can expect to see the melbourne-half-merge.... This interesting driving technique means that people move half into another lane to avoid driving directly on top of the tram lines... This procedure is almost never preceeded by indication of doing this.... and the best part it.... because they are already half in both lanes, they can move as much into either lane whenever they want without indicating... So... the cars take up 2 lanes easily...

    Speeding.. Despite the billion dollars in revenue that the victorian government makes from drivers around melbourne, they continue to speed on inner city roads...

    4 wheel drives.. There are so may of them in melbourne... and almost none ever get taken off the roads. The funny thing is that people around melbourne complain about polution, but do you think you can drag them out of their 5 litre cars? No... i dont think so... 4 wheel drive cars seem to indicate less, do the melbourne-half-merge more....

    Police cars in other cities around the world tend to be held to a higher quality of driving... In melbourne I have seen some crazy stuff.... A police car taking a turn without indicating, a police woman on her cellphone while driving, police speeding without turning on their lights... cray...

    What does melbourne need to fix? Indicating.... How many accidents are caused by not indicating every year? I dont know... but I bet its a lot... But these are the small accidents for cagers... the fender benders and the panel damage... For bike riders and for motorcycle riders it is more serious... complete write-offs for bikes, broken arms and legs for people... Millions are spent every year trying to convince you to have a nap in your car... but I have yet to see a single person do that... Why not allocate some money on educating drivers on how, why and when to indicate...

    Man..... looking up ... how much did I ramble?! Sorry...
  2. Complicated by a factor of TEN when it's raining or the road is damp! Whatever chance a poor motorcyclist has of getting away from the tram tracks or the parked cars is cruelled by this selfish practice......
  3. Nice run down in regards to drivers from your experiences. :)
  4. The last-second indicating thing is easy enough to explain. It's because if another car gets the slightest hint that you might be about to merge into their lane in front of them, they'll hit the gas, close the gap and make sure you can't while maintaining a steely gaze straight ahead so as to avoid eye and birdie contact.

    So, the key skill in successful Melbourne lane-changing is stealth. Quietly, without giving any clues away, just happen to be in the perfect spot. Then, simultaneously merge and indicate in one swift, unstoppable move. Waving 'thanks' to the guy who's now behind you and fuming that he didn't see it coming and cut you off earlier is not a gesture of gratitude but a thinly disguised victory gloat that also happens to pacify your victim because he now feels as though he has been generous.

    It's all part of the Lozzobear Offensive Driving Course I used to teach my confidence-lacking learner buddies. You can lay some of the blame on me!
  5. What about bike riding ? I see those european vids where you can do practically anything there ?
  6. Nice round up Stereo, I could only dream of going to some of those places :roll:
  7. You can do practically anything here.... and just like here it is illegal over there :)

    That said... On the Autobahn in germany you can go as fast as you want....

    Now... a lot of people think that there is one autobahn, but there are several.... The one i went one you wouldnt want to go much more than 150 on because it is such a rough surface on that road.... definitely tankslapper country on a bike....

    I have seen some crazy stuff done on bikes in france.... but like I said... in paris it is downright crazy... so no surprises there...
  8. Just a comment on driving in France, the drivers may seem crazy and rarely indicate, but at least a large majority of people do head checks and actually look where they are going.
    And if you pay attention there is actually some logic/rules in the driving mess.

    Maybe that's a survival thing because if you start dreaming while driving you'll end up in an accident.

    I learnt to drive there ..

  9. That would be true Nic... In France it seems to be a matter of committing.... If you commit to taking a left, people will allow you to... if you dont fully commit, people will cut you off....
  10. I can add a comment about drivers in California. Generally, they are quite courteous, but, like in Melbourne, they quite often don't indicate before changing lanes or turning.

    I'm currently in Beijing, and the drivers sound like those in Paris. You see my avatar? That's what I look like when just trying to cross the road on foot.

  11. I'll agree on cali, when you do indicate its like a sign saying "cut me off so i cant get off the freeway" hehe. Strangely, cross a road on foot and they'll stop 4 lanes of 65mph traffic to let you across lol.
  12. California drivers being courteous eh? Wonder which part of Cali you were in? I regularly drive around the San Francisco Bay Area. They almost never indicate. In Melbourne at least they indicate ~80% of the time, in Cali you're lucky if it's 20% of the time. To indicate is to invite someone to rush to close the gap on you.

    They do stop though if there's a hazard or a pedestrian, unlike in Melbourne where it seems that if you're a pedestrian and you're not limping horribly, then you're fair game, and as for road hazards in Melbourne? What hazards?

    They speed heavily in the Bay Area too. Hitting 130-140kph on a Hwy is not that uncommon, before coming to a total standstill 2kms down the road because the hwy just got slow all of a sudden typically for no good reason either.

    Road rage is a bit of an issue there. Got chased down once because some guy didn't look, indicated, and nearly took out the front of my car so I honked the horn. Guy then sat behind me with his headlights on high beam until I performed some dangerous maneuvers using the surrounding traffic to give him no gaps to get behind me, then running a late turn arrow to get away from him. Turned out that he still followed me after nearly causing an accident, but I ducked away into a dark side street around a blind corner that I knew well, and turned the lights off, and saw him zipping past on the main road behind me.

    Been to Asia on a number of times. Always fun there. Totally crazy but the road speeds are typically so low that accidents or bumps are not serious and every just seems to flow like liquid chaos, just slowly.
  13. Interesting read guys :)