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Traffic Tips: Stopping at lights, et cetera

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by slygrog, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Just wanted to get everyone's top tips and considerations for smooth integration with stop-go traffic. I went for my first ride today and found myself concerned only when it looked like I had to stop at traffic lights or intersections, because I was suddenly unsure of what to do.

    I can't understand why my panic response would assume there is any difference between stopping and starting in a car park, and stopping and starting on a road, but I wanted to see if anyone out there has any tips or thoughts for me to chill out.

    My experience at this point is about 1 hour in a carpark and about 30 minutes driving around, so if it seems incredibly obvious to you then I have no doubt it is. I just wanted to follow up on what worried me today before I head out again tomorrow. :D

  2. What particularly are you anxious about?

    - - - -
    Tapatalking loud, saying somethin'
  3. Don't you have to imagine everyone else around you is naked, or is that for something else....
  4. I know what you are saying.... when I first started riding last yr, i panicked at the thought of having to stop on a hill!! How do I take off uphill? Not like a car with a hand brake!! But i have realised that by just doing it and having a go helps. I found that using the roads I was familiar with as a car driver was a great way to get over my nerves as a rider. Also, if you can, find a quiet road that you can practice those things that panic you!!! Don't get in a flap about the people around you that you might be holding up!!

    Relax and you will find it comes naturally.
  5. agree with the last post, always practice on the roads you know well.
    I got my license about 5 months ago and most of the 1st week was start stop.
    I have a new area comign near my place, so they had nice roads with no/lil houses and some street lighting :)
  6. go to the mentor thread and see if their is anyone avail local to you, that can chaperone you on their bike. or two bikes would be better. quiet roads, sunday traffic.
  7. That the bike will stall and everyone will beep at me! I think.

    Just wanted to know what process people go through as they approach lights. Do you just drop gears to first and have it ready to shoot off with the back brake on? That's what I'm doing currently.
  8. I haven't driven a car in Sydney (I'm from QLD), so all these roads are pretty new to me as a rider. I am keeping to the backstreets of Marrickville though, where I can. They're mostly quite wide and pretty quiet.

    I have my dad down for the weekend to help me start riding, but after that I will track down a mentor/make my way to Homebush on the weekend.
  9. ..... It's probably a comfort thing. Once you feel more in control of the bike and how you are riding, the feelings will alter.

    I remember having the same thoughts on my 1st bike... but they slowly disappeared as I gained more experience and confidence. All of a sudden it seemed that everything clicked...I wasn't thinking about how to ride, it fell into place and I could then enjoy the ride and concentrate more on the environment rather than the bike basics.

    All that changed when I got my upgrade bike...Well out of my comfort zone... hated seeing hills with lights at the top... petrified of stalling etc. But I am glad to report that after a few months of constant riding.... it got easier.

    Keep up the practice and ride as much as you can.

    .... grange... The nude thing is for speaking in public!!.....:LOL:
  10. I used to happily enjoy my long country rides when I only really needed to stop for petrol, coffee and home :) Now its been a shock to the system to commute once a week through Brisbane - I've lived here all my life and had no idea just how many hills there are with traffic lights at the top (or bottom). My bike is fairly heavy considering I'm a lightweight gal and even a couple of months on, I'm still not doing the stop start thing expertly. I also find that traffic lights change too quickly when you are on a bike! I tend to come to a stop in 2nd or 3rd gear and then change down to 1st while at the light, sometimes my bike is reluctant to change gears when stopped but I am working through that one. I have to say though that it IS getting easier over time, so practice does really make perfect. (working on that one too).
  11. Yep; I drop gears one by one, so that the bike's always in the right gear to accelerate away if the lights change on approach or acceleration might be needed for some other reason. Just before stopping I'll change down into first gear so the bike's ready to accelerate from a stop. 2nd gear will normally work for any low speed where the bike isn't at a complete stop, unless there's a hill involved, so I don't normally use 1st gear when approaching lights. I prepare it just before stopping.

    Dropping gears one by one also helps to reduce the risk of a compression lockup occuring if the clutch is released prematurely, so I'd strongly recommend an inexperienced rider drop gears one by one as a habit.

    Edit: It can take some time to get used to remembering which gear the bike is in, but it helps.[/i]

    Keeping the tyres in the wheeltracks rather than in the centre of the lane, as cars tend to drop oil in the middle which can be kinda-slippery in the dry and super-slippery in the wet.

    Once stopped I'll monitor the traffic behind me in the mirrors; if I'm the last vehicle in a queue and feeling paranoid I might flash the brakelight a few times by tapping the brakes, to help approaching vehicles see me.

    For pulling away from the lights; Bike in gear, left foot on the ground, right foot on the rear brake. Particularly on hillstarts. Feed in throttle, feed out clutch and as the clutch begins to 'take up the slack', release rear brake. Basically the same as a hillstart in a car (except for a car hillstart the handbrake is used, of course).
  12. If you stall, take a deep breath, restart it and try again!! The people around you will just have to wait!! I always think that they are most likely jealous anyway, that we are out there having a go while they sit in their cars and dream about it!!!

    I always use my gears to slow down with just a little bit of both brakes, by the time I have stopped at the lights I am in 1st and yes, I sit with either the front brake on and both feet on the ground or both brakes on and 1 foot on the ground!! I always remind myself that while I can slow down with just the gears, the people behind me will have no indication that I am slowing down so a touch of brakes to light up the brake light!
  13. generally i slow the bike down and then put one of my feet on the ground to prevent the bike from falling over once its stopped.
  14. Hello! Thanks for your responses. I spent the day riding around Sydney, from Marrickville to Clovelly, and back up the coastline. Clovelly/Coogee gave me a lot of practice at stopping on hills and changing gears for roundabouts etc. It helped a lot when I figured out I should be shifting down a gear when the revs get to about 2k. Prior to figuring that out I was never sure when to shift down and that's why I was freaking out about stalling and whatnot.

    And spots - thanks for your post. I was dropping gears one by one, but holding the clutch in the whole time, which I've been told is wrong. So thanks to your comment I've learned to squeeze and release the clutch for every gear change!

    Thanks again, guys.

    I'm definitely not an expert yet (I came back home through Newtown at around 4PM and it was MAYHEM. I was stopping and starting every few seconds and I got a few stalls in there - it was also raining!), but I feel a little better about the whole thing.
  15. if you stall in front of traffic, maybe at a red light, don't panic. just a deep breadth and you'll be fine.
    Don't worry about the cars beeping at you. they can see the yellow L plate.
    i just used to stick my hand up as a 'sorry' when i was moving again. i don't think i was beeped ever by anyone for stalling.

    @spots, i've always dropped gears with the clutch in, going down one by one and when i needed to move again, i'll let the clutch out and get on the throttle.

    i've always thought, brakes are cheaper than an engine. that being said, i have used engine braking at times as well.
  16. I'd suggest practicing in quiet streets without traffic until you master stop/starting. Then you are ready for traffic and more confident you can do it. If you can get someone to ride with you and protect your rear, that also helps.
  17. In the interim till you get confidence taking off, get someone to turn up your idle - that helps noobs avoid stalling.

    Just on stalling, don't be scared to dial in the revs. You're bike won't go anyway while the clutch is in. Your engine isn't going to mind revving. If you let your clutch out slowly, the power will be fed out slowly.
  18. If you stall after being in stop start traffic, double check your in first.
    I've had a couple of stalls right when I started but quickly got used to feeling the clutch and feeding throttle as needed.
    The only stall where I inconvenienced traffic was following slow traffic up a slight hill and having to stop. I was following in 2nd gear and neglected to flick back down to first to take off. Stalled twice attempted to take off in the wrong gear before I figured it out.
    No-one beeped at me and I gave a wave as I took off but as said, don't let traffic dictate your riding.

    And +1 to flashing your brake lights on approaching vehicles. Always watch your mirrors when your stopped and don't shift into neutral to wait for the green unless there's 2 cars behind you.

    If it's wet at the lights, stay off the painted lines and symbols as they have bugger all traction. Check the ground for oil and muck as you pull up and make sure you won't go through any when you take off. And don't try to race off from the lights. I spun up the back wheel before in the wet because I fed too much throttle. Clutch in, swear at myself, and reclaim the the take off.
  19. Ugh, Newtown... That road is a traffic and pedestrian nightmare at the best of times! I actually have a virtual 'No Go' zone set up in my GPS so that it'll navigate around that part of King St unless I'm specifically visiting Newtown.

    Keep at it, though (practicing, not riding through Newtown). :) Do Goz + friends still do the Learner practice/meet+greet sessions in Sydney? It might be fun to drop by one of those some time.
  20. Good. Not too many riders can stop without putting a foot down! :)