Just a thought that might help new as well as older riders.. Over the last few weeks I've had more than my normal amount of lane mergers, SMIDSY's and surprises. Not an alarming amount and nothing that got me into trouble but just a few more than usual. Pretty easy to ingore it without thinking too much about it but a thought did occur to me. Had my riding or road awareness changed and was I contributing to it. I'm sure the wet weather hasn't helped as well. I have been flat out busy at work so maybe my head wasn't in it completely so....I made a conscious decision to ride (and drive) like a Nana for a week to see what difference it made. Riding like a Nana involves... - not accelerating as hard (just a bitl quicker than cars) - maintaining larger safety spaces in front (about 50% more than usual) - not lane splitting moving traffic (stationary OK) - cornering less aggressively - longer indication instead of flick and go - more talking to yourself about what is happening to the traffic around you as apposed to mindlessly humming tunes in your helmet or thnking about work/home etc! - focussing on making eye contact with drives - ensuring that you are visible in their mirrors and focussing on avoiding blind spots - pretty much doing everything the licence course recommends! What I found... - fuel economy was a vast improvement - not a single incident - took no longer to get to work. The same bottlenecks in traffic still exist regardless. - you are far more switched onto the traffic around you and conditions up ahead. Did it diminish the fun in riding the bike, not really, commuting in heavy traffic is only so much fun anyway. Do you need to ride like this everywhere? No, time and a place for a good blat still exists, just not on the freeways going to and from work. Anyways, if you are getting surprised more than you like, try it for a few days and note the difference.