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Waiting at traffic lights / intersection

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by garudabird, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Just wondering what others think: Being a newbie I find it quite uncomfortable sitting at traffic lights knowing that the car coming up behind me may or not stop (but probably will). In a car I think well it won't be my fault and he can pay for it, on my bike I think this could be it - all over if this guy doesn't stop! SO how far behind the car in front is good to pull up? Where in relation to the car as in road position - is anywhere safer? At the moment, I sit in about the middle, in 1st, scanning my mirrors - hopefully will be able to zip out the way if I feel I need to. Any thoughts, advice, opinions?

  2. I sometimes tap on my brake to get the light flashing if I see someone coming up behind me and braking a bit late. I also look for somewhere to escape to and keep it in first and ready to go until the car has pulled up behind me.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  3. #3 Jeffco, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
    watch mirror sometimes tap brakes
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Leave a good distance behind you and move to the side so you align with the gap along the edge of the car. That way if you are hit from behind you are less likely to be sandwiched.

    As has already been said, watch your mirrors and when you see a car coming along behind you flash the brake lights to attract their attention and assist them in seeing you.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Zip out of the way? - not into a busy intersection I would hope.

    I understand your trepidation. What can you do?

    Stay in first gear. Yeah, keep an eye on them that approach. Don't be in the exact middle of the lane. In one of the wheel tracks is a better place - easier to move out of the way without going forward much if you need to. Don't be so far to the side so as to encourage a following 4 wheeler to pull in beside you. You do need to "own the space", and consider an "escape route".

    Keep your nerve. If you do need to move, you probably won't need to move much - into the "filter space" if you can, and only if you really think you have to.

    It is intimidating to have people pull up close, but they do. Yeah a tap or two on the brake as they approach so as to flash your brake lights may make them think or they might take it as a challenge to see how close they can get. I get real nervous if I no longer can see the front of the car. I think it helps if they can see that you are watching them in your mirrors as they approach. Be mindful of the lights. Don't be completely distracted by their approach. If they are watching the lights and they change, they will expect you will move off ahead of them. If you don't, then there is a scenario that may have them onto you while you are watching them in the mirror.

    Most times, it's usually better to trust them, but be alert to the screeching of tyres behind you. That can be a good sign to move.
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  6. Lol, that's a fair call!
  7. Also, when you pull up, don't be too close to the car in front.
    Stop a reasonable distance back from it so that you have plenty of room should you need to make an escape to the left or right depending where there is the most room.
    I think minimum would be 2 bike lengths back from the car in front.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  8. When you are stopped, remember to hold the bike stopped on the foot brake, not the front brake.

    That way, if you do get nudged up the bum, and the back brake is on, you have a chance of not falling over.

    If, however, you are using the front brake, you have much less chance of not ending up on the deck, since the steering head acts kinda like a hinge, and, unless the steering is absolutely perfectly straight, the bike will get out of line and want to lie down for a rest.
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Filter to the front.

    If already there, stay in first and watch your mirror like a hawk knowing your escape route.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. #10 robsalvv, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
    If you must remain in the queue of traffic, leave at least two bike lengths in front of you.

    As you are slowing, offset to the left or right of centre to the side that appears to have the best escape path.

    If you pull up in a tyre track be aware that your brake light may blend into the car ahead and the driver behind may believe that they have more space to stop than there actually is.

    When stopped, stay in the ready position with an eye on the mirrors looking for the tell tale sign of a car slowing to a stop. If you don't see the signs, get out of there.

    Flash your brake light while stopped to get the attention of the car bearing down on you - but don't rely on this.

    Once the car behind you has stopped, it's up to you whether you remain in the ready position or pop into neutral during a long light cycle. As a noob developing an awareness of traffic, intersections, light cycles etc., probably best to stay in the ready position while these observational and awareness skills are developing.

    While sitting there, don't switch off your brain, ask yourself "what's my plan for getting across the intersection". Predict what the cars around you are likely to do when the light goes green. Mark any car that has outward indicators of being aggressive and whether they might interact with you etc. When stopped and waiting is a good time to think about your riding/awareness/observation skills and routines.
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  11. I dunno CrazyCamCrazyCam , I reckon I'd have far more chance of staying upright after a nudge with both feet planted on the ground rather than leaning on one whilst pressing the brake with the other. Disclaimer: I have never actually been nudged from behind at lights!
  12. Try it :) even better try both ...

    and post the vid please :)
  13. If you get nudged you will move forward. All things being equal, suddenly moving forward with the rear brake on is unlikely to cause a tip over, whereas a front brake on and moving forward is likely to cause a sudden and violent lean.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Many a time i see it all too often. Cars pull up right behind a rider. I'm all for personal space. If I'm in my car with a rider in front of me, I always make sure to give them a full cars length between me and the bike. Think it comes from being a rider myself. We tend to be a bit more considerate. The way I see it that way if someone rear ends me, I'm not going to plough into the poor guy/gal on the bike and push them into the car in front.
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  15. I take each intersection sort of individually.

    Usually, I've had the opportunity to gauge what the other drivers are like around me on approach. Since I ride rather peacefully (I hope), most have established a reasonable gap between them and I. In that situation, unless the lights are about to flip to green, I feel comfortable slipping into neutral with my foot on the rear brake.

    If I'm surrounded by nutters, or I can tell they're driving angry (don't you love the commute) - I take extra caution in braking smooth on approach to the intersection, and just hold in the clutch, ready to leap forward if they get a touch too close. I'm silly and usually don't point my bike to the side - I should - but I don't feel right taking an odd position in the lane (That's something I need to work on).

    This changes depending on how many cars are on the road, the road surface and incline, the weather conditions and whether I'm aware of the intersection being a 'dangerous' one. Usually I opt to be conservative and stay in the ready position if I'm unsure.

    This took a bit of practice to develop - and in the beginning I always kept it in 1st, keeping 1.5 bike lengths between me and the car in front.
    It's second nature now to do but writing it out here makes me realise how much I've thought about it!
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