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Using a map or street directory while riding a bike

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by ac17, May 23, 2008.

  1. Hi - this is a really dumb (but very relevant question) from a total newbie:
    How does one get from A to B if B is a place you need to use a street directory / map for?

    (E.g., when driving a car - it's simple: you just read it at the lights. But you can't do that on a bike).

    So how do you find your way around in a new place (are there Tom Toms for Bikes?)

    -I truly have no idea (my only guess is that "you cant ride a bike if you don't know where you're going" - but that just seems impractical)
  2. Well if you read a street directory in a car at the lights you can expect a fine. At least in VIC you can. Yes I have seen TomTom attached to a bike but again down here it is a touchy grey area as to weather they are legal to use whilst driving. So long as you only listen to the verbal directions it is fine, if you get caught looking at it you can be fined. This would make it hard on a bike not being able to hear it unless you get your helmet wired.
  3. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... No.

    Navigational device screens and driver-aids are permitted to be placed in the driver's field of vision. It says so explicitly in the road rules.

    DVD players, computers (unless it's a navigational aid) etc within the field of vision, against the law.

    Edit: Here's the rule-

    299 Television receivers and visual display units in motor
    (1) A driver must not drive a motor vehicle that has a television
    receiver or visual display unit in or on the vehicle operating
    while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, if
    any part of the image on the screen:
    (a) is visible to the driver from the normal driving position; or
    (b) is likely to distract another driver.
    Offence provision.
    Note Motor vehicle and park are defined in the dictionary, and vehicle is
    defined in rule 15.

    (2) This rule does not apply to the driver if:
    (a) the driver is driving a bus and the visual display unit is, or
    displays, a destination sign or other bus sign; or
    (b) the visual display unit is, or is part of, a driver’s aid; or
    (c) the driver or vehicle is exempt from this rule under
    another law of this jurisdiction.
    Examples of driver’s aids
    1 Closed-circuit television security cameras.
    2 Dispatch systems.
    3 Navigational or intelligent highway and vehicle system equipment.
    4 Rearview screens.
    5 Ticket-issuing machines.
    6 Vehicle monitoring devices.
    Note Bus is defined in the dictionary.


    To the OP: You can get tankbags which have a map window on the top, so you can print out pages of your street directory (or write down directions), or have a folded-up map and have them on display on your tankbag.

    Alternately, handlebar mounts are available for most GPSes. Cruiser_bloke does raise a good point though - GPSes can be a distraction if misused. If you have one in the car or on the bike, don't stare at it. Just glance at the "Distance to next turn" and memorise the distance so you know when to check up on the GPS again.
  4. Another disadvantage of a GPS is that if you're forgetful (like I am) you may leave it on your bike, when you dismount, and risk someone stealing it.

    I like the tankbag idea, though!

    Any others?
  5. I have my own shorthand system of marking out where I want to go, not unlike the pace notes used by rally drivers. Usually these will be extremely brief and I'll just memorise them as best I can and keep the bit of paper in a pocket that's easy to access without removing my gloves.
    For areas I really don't know I'll sometimes print off maps from Google and keep them in another pocket in case I get lost.
    Seems to have worked pretty well so far, beats forking out hundreds on a GPS.
  6. Yeah, those are really the only options:

    Computer assisted:
    * GPS on handlebars (or carried in pocket for emergencies, if it's a handheld unit such as an eTrex. Handheld ones can be mounted on the bars too)
    * Pull over to the side of the road and use GoogleMaps over the data service on your phone, if you don't mind spending money on data rates
    * Nokia does navigation now on some phones too?

    * Pull over and unfold the paper notes you had in your pocket.
    * Street directory in backpack or tankbag?
    * Tankbag or magnetic map pouch (to keep the paper notes/map on display)
    * Enduro-bike navigation scroll holder <--- Worth one billion street-cred points if you own a dualsport or enduro bike.

    Or, check Google Maps at home before you leave and have a really, really good memory.
  7. Correct. Hidden way down in misc rules.

    But don't get caught staring at it as you are tearing down the road. You are likely to get pinged for careless driving or the like.

    Similar to the one they get you for when you are eating or changing a CD.
  8. If i'm going somewhere I dont know I'll throw the map under the seat. If you can read a map and ride at the same time you should be given a medal.

    Or like someone else said just print off a couple of google.maps or whereis.com.au maps and put them in your pocket.
  9. If you get a tomTom Rider, it comes with the earpiece so you can hear the directions whilst riding. It also syncs with your phone so I can receive calls whilst riding.

    It will not let you make calls whilst the bike is moving though.

    I have one on my bike and love it. I can plot my way to certain places and then go via an alternative way and it doesnt skip a beat.
  10. I just write the directions on a bit of paper and sticky tape them to the petrol tank.
  11. I have done that a few times. Got a few chuckles, especially when i had to fill up. Just watch the sticky residue, it takes ages to clean off. Now i just study the map, write down instructions and leave them in my pocket. It's easier in the long run.
  12. So you never thought about pulling ya bike over to side of the road?

    Never thought of writing directions down & sticking it in ya pocket
    or on tank?

    There are options. You just have to use your brains.

    Yep. Just Google it nOOb :wink:


    Hidden or not,

    Its common knowledge that navigators & 2-way radios are 100%
    legal to use whilst operating a vehicle.

    You must be a foreigner fresh off the boat :LOL:
  13. Besides memorizing the address/route before you leave, my techniques if you get lost are:

    1. Stop at a servo and ask to borrow a street directory
    2. If you have internet on your mobile, use google maps (only in places with coverage)
    3. Get somewhere close to your destination, the ring them and ask them to direct you
  14. What utter rubbish. Looking at a GPS is no different to looking at the speedo. It only requires a glance to see what to do next, even if you don't use voice prompts.

    I would love to get a ticket for looking at my speedo, and have a judge get the officer to explain how any driver could stick to the speed limit without looking at the speedo. :roll:

    I use a Garmin Zumo 550 on my bike, with a wired connection to my helmet. It works fine at suburban speeds, where it is most necessary, even with earplugs in. The Zumo has left hand, glove friendly buttons which can be used while riding. It isn't perfect, but it is great around town, and means I don't need to carry a Melways. Of course, if you need to type in a new destination address, you pull over to do it. But to plot your way home, the Zumo requires the pressing of just two large on screen icons, and calculates the best way home.

    I think the Zumo is better than the Tom Tom from the point of view of its physical design, but either are good navigators.

    Yes, you do need to think about protecting a GPS from theft. Most of the time I take mine with me when I park, although it is screwed on and would require some effort to remove without the special "key."

    Of course, the cheap solution is a map bag on your tank, with a window. Then print maps or directions from navigation software, or Google Maps. However, I found it quite difficult to read any instructions while on the move, so you still needed to have a good idea where you were going, and just use the map to find the actual address, or suburban streets, or those last few turns, or whatever.

    Absolutely correct as usual MG. I have two radios in my 4WD which I can quite legally use while driving. Afterall, Police in one man patrol cars do it all the time. However, there is potential for Police to book you, as the actual offence for using a mobile phone is something like "Using hand held communication equipment while driving." It's a bit of a strange application (or lack of application) of the written law.
  15. The reason why mobile phones are banned is because you have to hold them to your head to operate them and it hinders your ability to turn the steering wheel in an emergancy with only the use of one hand. Also if you decide to sandwich the phone between your head and shoulder it hinders the movement of your opposite arm. Where as CB radios and such you press a button and hold it infront of your mouth and that is a more natural position.

    At least thats the way it was explained to me in a defensive driving course.
    Texting is illegal for obvious reasons
  16. True enough but you are still driving one handed most of the time, although it is much easier to drop a radio mic and know where it will land, since it is on a wire. I've had occasion to do that while driving in the bush, and had a tree jump out in front of me. :grin:

    I suspect it has a lot to do with the precedent set by Police radio use. Besides, the actual charge doesn't differentiate between a mobile phone and a radio mic, except I guess you could argue that a microphone is not "hand held communication equipment", but is just a part of it.

    But then again, I have complete hand held radio units which I can use while driving. :-k It is a grey area, where radios are accepted as legal, but can easily violate the written law. What a surprise. :roll:

    Anyway, a GPS is definitely legal. Otherwise a great many new vehicle owners are going to be very disappointed, since they are so common these days.
  17. Buy a cheap tankbag with clear panel in top. Print maps off your favourite map/directions website. Easy to glance down at tankbag when riding.

    Regards, Andrew.
  18. I suspect that the radios legal vs mobiles illegal issue also has an element of the numbers involved. The number of CBs, two ways, etc etc out there are really quite small (from a big picture point of view), whereas, these days, practically everyone has a mobile. Radio mike use therefore represents a lower overall risk than handheld mobile usage and so would not have been regarded as a high priority whn drafting the relevant regulations.

    We won't go into the studies that have been done that show the increased crash risk of mobile use to have bugger all to do with the fact that you're holding the thing and everything to do with the distraction of holding a conversation with someone you can't see, rendering the no hand-held rules useless to pretty much everyone apart from cash hungry State governments and suppliers of hands free kits :evil:.
  19. Without taking the thread too far OT PatB, I agree with what you are saying: It is the distraction factor that causes crashes.

    The trouble is, even having someone sitting next to you, chatting away while driving, causes the same distraction for many people.

    Back on topic, I bought a GPS partly because I found reading a map, or glancing down at it, while riding, so that I didn't miss the turns I wanted in Mlebourne suburbia, distracted me from my riding in traffic just as badly. It isn't practical to stop and check the next section of the map, memorise it, then stop again after completing that section, etc.

    A GPS isn't cheap, but it is a great way to get around town. Even better, if you can't make a turn it suggests, it will just replan for you, and get you to your destination anyway. Sometimes it even takes you via interesting routes that you would never have considered. Fun. :grin:
  20. masking tape on your forearms with the directions written on it