Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Riding Roundabouts

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by MrChicken, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Turning right through most small suburban roundabouts is causing me grief.

    When making the turn, 50% of my focus is on the oncoming traffic (because I really don’t want to get run over), 25% is on the road surface (which is almost always crap), and 25% is on looking where I want to go. My cruiser doesn’t let me lean over very far, particularly on roundabouts which sit up in the middle (as most of them do). I think my setup is generally okay – off the pace before the turn, even throttle through, etc.

    Is there a trick to getting it right, or do I just face facts, and accept these are always going to be a bit of a compromise?
  2. Roundabouts are evil, they just suck.
  3. I'm the same.
    I often get the line wrong because I’m concentrating too hard on what else is around.
    All I can suggest is find a quiet / vacant roundabout, and Practice.
    Get confidence in the way the bike handles and reacts.
    Then, when you have traffic around you have one less thing to think about.

    What I do now is:
    As I approach the, my attention is on all other Traffic.
    Once in the roundabout, I let my peripheral vision take over and keep my eyes on my exit.

    Roundabouts are one of those traffic anomalies,
    No matter how often you use one, or how familiar you are with it.
    There is always someone who will do there own thing regardless.

    Oh, and don’t forget to breathe!
  4. Have a plan. My way might not be your way but it works for me.
    I start in the RH wheel track.
    If turning right, when checking on your right for traffic, look further down the road. Then look at the LH wheel track, and then at any cars entering on your left. After entering move into the LH wheel track.
    Then look at the next point LH wheel track then at the RH wheel track on the road outside the roadabout. Again check for cars entering on your left.
    Then turn the bike to your chosen exit.
    It's probably not good to look at the vehicles on you left as you pass them, as you need to be looking ahead, but just use your periphal vision to check that they havn't moved.
    Hope this makes sense.
    And practice..when there is little or no traffic.
  5. If you have a little bit of trouble balancing brake/accelerator/clutch etc, you can make things a little easier on yourself by coming in a bit faster and coasting around the corner.

    I don't recommend this, because you should have power at your disposal at ALL TIMES - but if it helps you choose the right lines on some roundabouts near home, and gives you a feel for a bit of lean in a tight turn, it could be ok.

    It's very basic low speed riding.

    I suggest practicing tight stuff in a car-park: u-turn's (not necessarily in the same space as the P's test), weaving and dodging.

    Just get used to throwing the bike around at low speed. Keep power there, let the clutch do some work - use your weight a bit to move the bike where you need it to go :)

    ... and don't use the front brake while the bars are turned or you're leant over!
  6. Do you mean mini roundabouts or the big ones?

    Make sure you enter in the right gear...you want to maintain some drive to the rear wheel and then use the power to help right the bike as you exit the roundabout.

    Practice the slow speed stuff in a car park (as someone has suggested) but see if you can practice using a little bit of rear brake AND maintaining some drive. It might help you balance the bike a bit better.

    Remember, don't look at the cars, look at where you want to go, for that is surely where you will go. If you stare at cars approaching the rounabout you will naturally start to go to them. It's just the way it is, so maintain your peripheral vision, have an awareness of what is there, but maintain focus on where you want to go.

    Be concerned about the road surface, but short of loose gravel and potholes, you're more than likely going to be fine. Again, all the concentration on the road surface is detracting from the problem at hand, which is getting around this obstacle.

    Lastly, relax and practice. You don't say how long you've been riding for, but practicing the right techniques makes it second nature.
  7. I crashed/dropped my bike on a slippery and tiny roundabout at Narrabeen. I did it last Saturday in the heavy rain. I did it turning left. I'm grateful that my StainTune muffler pipe is not scratched. MY clutch lever is stuffed.
  8. The best thing for practice in roundabouts - come to Canberra!

    They become almost second nature down here.

    As the guys have mentioned the biggest thing with roundabouts is maintaining drive to the rear wheel. In smaller roundabouts, for RH turns i usually find entering in 2nd is the way to go and with bigger ones typically 3rd is most comfortable. Gives you enough drive and acceleration to get through with comfort while also allowing you to know whats going on in the roundabout with other cages etc.

    The best thing when approaching is to scan the entire roundabout in a split second and make yourself roughly aware of who is in/approaching. Worry predominantly about who is coming from the right - as they are the ones that will hit you if you get in front of them, in the majority of cases. Everyone else - it would typically be you hitting them and if your smart about it - you can generally avoid this as your the one controlling your bike. And you should be comfortable with that.

    Hold your position through the roundabout and just be wary of people entering from the left. Generally I try to take every roundabout in the right lane as I feel that in that position you have more control and influence on the way you ride as well as influencing other drivers behaviour. Have presence in the roundabout and they're generally more wary of you.

    Through the entire roundabout up until exit, i control my speed pretty much soley with the back brake. When I started doing this - everything else seemed to just fall into place.

    Hope this helps.

  9. +1!

    We have more of them than you can poke a pollie at! :LOL:

    I'd just like to add: Look twice. I was almost fooled into thinking that a car was in the inside lane at a roundabout I always turn left at, but he was actually in the right. I was bl**dy glad I looked twice that time!
  10. I'm mainly talking about the little single-lane roundabouts in the burbs where you're turning right in front of oncoming traffic. Tight little buggers with nowhere to go if you get into trouble.

    Oncoming traffic presents a real threat - I'm turning in front of them and you never really know if they're going to stop until they do. I'm too busy watching them to get my line right. I'd love to be able to look through the intersection to where I'm going, but I'm trading that for a longer look at the driver who might be about to mow me down. Because I'm setting up for a quick stop, it's hard to get everything nice and smooth. When it's quiet it's much easier, but that's almost never!
  11. #11 cejay, Sep 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
  12. Time for bed said zebedy

    doogle yawned :roll:
  13. Im feelng a little dizzy... :grin:
  14. this may cause some controversy, but.....
    if i am approaching a small roundabout (not one that you can make a nice smooth turn at) i stay a little on the gas, and drag the back brake just a little. you will find that this pulls you down in to the turn whilst the acceleration to the motor pulls you through nicely. if this come accross as a mega-contradiction, it is due to my inability to describe it right. anyway, try it, a little accelerator and lightly drag the back brake. i actually use this method for a lot of cornering (right or wrong) it works.
    front stands you up, back lays you down.....at least thats what i have found.
  15. I think that's what we said a little earlier.

    It is good advice anyhow and it works just as you explained it.
  16. :oops: you did :?
    guilty of not reading all replies :oops:

    well, at least we agree :grin:
  17. I agree as a newish rider roundabouts are a bit tricky.

    I did most of my road riding around the Southern Highlands a few years ago where the round abouts are massive and open.

    I borrowed my mate's brother's CBR250RR one night not long ago to go get a feed and on the way back turning right at a small roundabout I found the same problem I was having on my L's course came back to haunt me. When doing the L's test the instructor kept telling me to keep my eyes up especially when stopping as for some reason they always dropped. I could consciously force myself to keep them up but the minute my mind was off it there I was looking at the ground again.
    Anyway just as I went to iniate the turn having entered the round about after over a year of not having ridden on the road much I was staring at the ground to the front right of me and nearly ballsed the whole thing up. Luckily I remembered after I was shocked into it and I slowed myself with the back brake and gave it a bit more throttle and it came good.

    What sort of courses are there for people like me?
    I'm refreshing the first 600 ninja and I don't want to spend all this time and effort on it to take it out on a nice organised ride or meetup and then get let down by my lack of ability. I intend on doing several car park sessions as soon as it's ready but I'd like to do some sort of proper course at a track or something as well. After I've improved a bit I was looking into superbike school as well.

    I used to ride the pocket bike out at the butterfly farm track every other Thursday night and whilst I can crank that into corners and everything happens on autopilot (even been buzzed by the full leather heros on their watercooled weapons doesn't bother me anymore i just adjust my line and try and keep up) but on the road with a full sized bike is a different ball game.
  18. I know I'm old and grey , and it was all different in my day,stone tablets etc
    but I do have to ask

    If you have so much of a problem negotiating a roundabout, how did you ever get your license ?

    Seems to me all this training is not doing it's job , something is a missing

    Not having a go at indviduals here, just seems theres a lack of basic skills ,

    Find yaself a carpark , put two coke cans on the ground about 15 feet apart and preactice figure 8's
  19. Theres ample information here for you on the practical side of taking a round about and how to position yourself defensively once on it.
    It sounds like you're too busy thinking about instead of just doing it.

    I know sometimes ona ride I can get myself into a tizzy thinking about my technique too much. SO i find myself telling myself "just ride dickhead you kow you can" then I just do what comes natural and keep on enjoying the run.

    First and foremost though you should be well and truely sure there is nothing coming before you even enter the roundabout.
    Don't feel to bad about making someone wait a few extra seconds behind you before heading in.

    Good luck with it
  20. For someone that's not having a go at individuals from my understanding you're doing a pretty good job of it. By ballsed it up I meant I was in 2nd gear doing a grand total of probably 10kms an hr and was about to put a foot down before I remembered back brake + throttle. Excuse me if after over a year of not riding, never riding in Sydney traffic, and on an unfamiliar bike I got a bit nervous and made a mistake. FYI I passed my P's test without losing a point.

    Remind me then oh wise one back in your day what did you have to do to get a license? Turn up at the RTA on your bike, ride down the street and back was what I've heard from people of your generation.

    If you read my post when I got my license I was riding regularly and practising constantly. The trip I described was a one off as I didn't have my car and it was too far to walk and he offered up the bike as I hadn't eaten all day and a big night of drinking was planned. This was at 9:30PM in a quiet neighbourhood with my dawdling along. No traffic.

    As far as basic skills go I've been riding dirt bikes since I was 10. When I was at school my mountain bike was near-permanently attached to my crotch and I never once came near having an accident or being unsafe on the road. Handling a 100kg plus bike on the road is something that requires practice.

    My first stop once my bike is ready is a carpark where I'll be spending at least 2-3 hours going back over everything I did in both the L's and P's StayUpright courses.

    I vote old vs young - pocket bike showdown. I'll supply the bikes, you turn up at the track and put your money where your fingers are :grin: :cool:

    /stops taking it personally :?