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Undertaking ethics

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Fronk, May 16, 2012.

  1. OK, so I seem to be doing OK with my riding. The only road accident I had was when two bikes came at me in my lane going too fast, and I had to drop. I take a nerdy approach to riding, and want to know as much as I can. Selfishly and perhaps filled with ignorance, I know that I'm doing better than many riders I see around my area with no P plates doing things that make me cringe. I don't think I'm that bad.

    But there's one thing I don't quite get - undertaking. It's illegal, from what I gather. But damn essential. I'm bothered when there's a loaded up ute that can't seem to get to the full speed limit between lights in the right hand lane but doesn't seem to mind, then honks at me when I undertake him at a fairly slow speed and take the right lane after a good distance.

    It's probably the only thing about other cars that makes me a bit mad.

    From my experience, the right hand lane is for people who want to reasonably speed or go the limit, or turn right not too far ahead.

    I don't see why I should be doing something wrong by undertaking some idiot who would rather stay in the right hand lane because it is "faster" when their car can barely keep up.

    Am I being a bit of an arse though for undertaking and getting beeped/yelled at by these people? Or should I aim to get to the speed limit in a minute or two? Any thoughts?
  2. If you are accelerating slowly enough that it is a slow undertake, then you need to accelerate harder. They shouldn't even be near you to honk in the first place.
  3. Hi Fronk, I think you might have got a bit mixed up there. On Australian roads, it is 100% legal to pass another vehicle on the left if you are in a separate lane. It's just overtaking as per usual. In some European countries they call that "undertaking" and it's illegal.

    Here in Australia, if someone mentions "undertaking" they most frequently mean passing on the left in the same lane, which is illegal unless the vehicle being undertaken is stationary or indicating to turn right.

    No idea why that ute honked you. Maybe he felt that you were too close when you passed him, or maybe he just wanted to say hello?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. You sound like you hail from the UK where "undertaking" (as you describe) is unlawful. By the same token, wouldn't hogging the RH lane be unlawful as well unless overtaking or preparing for a RH turn? I'd find it extremely frustrating that if a motorist decided to drive slowly down the M1 in the RH lane that I and every other road user would need to remain behind them!

    Luckily here in Oz passing a vehicle using a separate lane on the left (assuming a multi-lane road) isn't illegal... if it were so, a road near where I live would simply become unbearable! People on Mona Vale Rd "prepare" for a RH turn by getting in the RH lane anything up to 5km before it becomes necessary to do so. Mind you, this road carries a 90kph speed limit so these motorists are actually breaking one of our road rules anyway by not keeping left unless overtaking (and the said road is signed to remind you of this rule). Do you have such a rule in your country?
  5. Ah, right. I spent a good while living in the UK, and it's something well avoided there.

    I do get very fed up when they crawl along in the right hand lane. I'm glad to know undertaking isn't illegal here, as I do it all the time because of these f-wits.
  6. I know as an ex-cabdriver, it used to irk me a bit when people (car / bike / pogo-stick - doesn't matter) would pull to the left at the lights, drag you off to 60k, change lanes just in front of you as two lanes go to one, and then slow down to less than the limit. If you want to get in front of me, then don't hold me up.

    There's a far more infuriating variation on this. It's a game played by two cops, on a quiet night. One off duty (or at least, out of uniform, in a civilian car) and the other parked up the road with a radar. The plain clothes takes off, sits beside you for a few yards, then drops back and then gets in your blind spot. You can't change lanes safely, and as the lanes merge, you have to either panic stop or floor it. Then his mate steps out of the trees and waves you down. If somebody seems to be deliberately dicking with you on the road, be suspicious.
  7. VicRoads tells you that you have to stay to the left unless overtaking:
    'When driving on any multi-lane road with a speed limit over 80km/h, you must keep out of the right lane unless you are overtaking, turning right, or if all lanes are congested.'

    Without mentioning explicitly though that you are not allowed to overtake from the left. Too bad that the 'Keeping Left' rule is not really enforced. It would make it in my opinion safer.
  8. The down side of not having a no undertaking rule here is Australia as you have said people have lousy lane discipline and will tootle along in the high speed lane at lower than posted speeds. Extremely irritating, and the police do not enforce the keep left unless overtaking rule here. This doesn't seem to happen in jurisdictions where undertaking is forbidden such as Germany and the UK.
  9. That's one of the reasons why you need those low speed limits here :D
  10. I used to know an undertaker, from a quite internationally-famous family of undertakers, by all accounts. I have no doubt of his skill...
    But he had no ethics, whatsoever...
  11. I undertake.. you have people in the right hand lane doing 20 less than the speed limit, and not moving over to the left, because they're oblivious..

    it gets annoying after awhile.
  12. In my experience, cab drivers are the worst offenders of this. I was riding shotgun when a mate (driving an ss) dragged a taxi into a parked car. That was a good day.
  13. Look, I'm out of the industry now and have been for several years, and I couldn't be arsed defending it. If I'd wanted to get back in, I'd probably be in there again by now.

    Cab drivers are just like anybody on the road. Some of them are quite skilled, most of them are not, and a few are so incompetent it amazes me how they ever got in. A cab driver has to do things a dozen times a day that regular commuter drivers almost never have to do - like find a house number while driving, in a street you've never been in, with impatient arseholes behind you honking horns and shit, while answering the two-way about how long you'll be. Or passengers giving conflicting and nonsensicle instructions, threatening to not pay you or bash you, ring the company and report you, vandalising your vehicle... all for crap money and zero respect from anybody. Is it any wonder you get people of mediocre calibre doing it? Most of you lot wouldn't get out of bed for the kind of pay / hours / conditions / challenges the poor old cabbie faces. And nor would I, anymore.
  14. Back on topic - if it's between lights, why haven't you just split past him and buggered off?

    Stop listening to the TAC saying speed kills. Go past the muppet and get out of there. You're safer at 20 over for a couple of seconds than you are hanging around car drivers with small talent and an attitude problem.

  15. Ehhhh? What happened with the two bikes? Why do you say you had to drop your bike?

    Many drivers are not particularly talented, but if that many are honking you in similar circumstances, you may be doing something wrong eg your idea of a good distance does not match their idea.

    Despite undertaking being legal in Australia, imho, it is still not particularly safe. If you are going to do it, you can be better off applying firm acceleration to complete the manoeuver in a reasonable time, rather than accelerating slowly as you say you do.

    This will also mean that when you do change lanes to the right, you are likely to be far enough away you won't irritate them or disturb them from their gormless and won't get honked at.