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Wet tram tracks in Melbourne

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by murchy, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Hello all,

    So today I was driving home in the rain, and managed to get myself stuck in a shared tram lane. Usually I have the presence of mind not to get stuck in one, but mistakes happen.

    Unfortunately, I needed to get out of that lane to make a turn into my road, so while trundling along weighing my options, I decided that I had better just edge over very slowly.

    I managed to make it across in one piece, but I definitely felt the back wheel squirm. My approach was generally just trying to keep the bike as upright as possible whilst slowly creeping across at as slight an angle as I could manage whilst still looking like I was about to change lanes for the lovely person who saw my L plates and gave me space to get into the next lane over.

    So yeah, basically i just thought no braking, no accelerating, just maintain speed and keep my head up. I was in third at about 45-50km/h at the time, at around 3-4k rpm.

    Wondering if there was any more I could have done to avoid the squirmy wheels?
  2. Edging over slowly may have been a wrong move. You need to cross tracks at as great an angle as possible. If I understand what you did correctly, edging over will have given you as shallow an angle as possible.

    But the no braking no accelelrating is correct
  3. What GrayBM said.

    It's never fun around tram tracks.
  4. Hmm, was just afraid that I didn't have much space to work with in terms of getting the angle of the merge bigger, since it was just a lane change.

    Thanks for the tips though!
  5. +1 to GreyBM as broad an angle as possible is best.
  6. + 1 as well. You did it right in every other way. Try and have a little 'dip' and pick it up straight as you actually cross the thing, then 'dip' again to straighten up. The more shallow or fine the angle you try to cross on, the more dangerous it gets.
  7. As above. :) With the exception of your choice of angle of attack, everything else is good technique for tram tracks. :)
  8. Thanks again all, will definitely try that little dip - I hugged the very left of the lane today trying to avoid the tracks, but felt quite restricted in my escape options from that far over in the lane. Also felt too close to the cars in the other lane.

    I'm just a bit worried about my ability to do an emergency swerve from inside the tram tracks if I was to occupy a more normal lane position.

    Any thoughts on the pros/cons of either approach?
  9. #9 Mouth, Jul 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
    In the wet, take different parallel roads without team lines?!
  10. In the wet, I slow down to 20-30kms/hr when crossing tram tracks. Keep the bike upright, constant throttle and cross close to 90 degree to the tracks as possible.
  11. +1 GreyBM

    I also commute through the city daily (rain or shine) and the most perpendicular angle you can achieve to the tram line is the safest angle.

    I was a commuter cyclist for 6+ years and learned to attack the tram line - the skill is transferable to motorcycles - what I mean is:

    If you are forced to cross the tram line with a shallow incident angle initiate the transition by pushing the bike and your body into the tram lane. By creating the impulse in the movement the momentum of the shift will pull the bike across the tram line without really interacting with the wet steel and inducing a loss of traction.

    Seriously, if you can get a push bike and feel this in action you will understand what I mean.

    NB** good work on getting off the tram line, in the wet, under pressure, and without the incident angle you would have liked (y)
  12. As above, never approach a tram track gingerly. Be assertive about it.
  13. Yes, tracks of any kind you need to be as perpendicular as possible (as GreyBM, said)
    Was the road dry?? If it was wet, then i'd be buying a lottery tickey and I'm actually surprised you made it!!

    But you were right about throttle and brake, you need to be feathered on the power and off the brakes.

    Dry weather and tram tracks are'nt too much of an issue. Wet, they are as serious as a heart attack.
  14. I was surprised myself tbh, haha. I thought about continuing on up the road for another 1km or so, but decided I'd have to learn how to cross them eventually.

    Just tried to keep my head up and weight as even as possible >.<
  15. I almost always sit in the space between the tram track and the side of the lane, wet or dry. Most of the roads I take that have tram tracks I'm often filtering anyway, so, sitting there is not unusual for swapping lanes consistently. If I knew I was following tracks for any length of time and had no reason to move, I'd move into the middle (if it's dry), but otherwise, I feel like I have a better escape route being on the outside.
  16. Load of wimps - :nopity:

    back when I were lad the tram lines were set into tar covered wooden blocks to give some suspension for the trams.

    They used to soak up oil and leak it back out when it was wet. Sometimes they'd get so slippery you couldn't even walk across them.
  17. Back when I were a lad riding a dual purpose trail/road bike in Melbourne, I enjoyed the experience of having my back wheel in front of my front wheel, still travelling in the correct direction down High St in Armadale, after crossing said tram tracks with wooden blocks in the middle.

    Just as well trail bikes have a great ability to slide sideways and still recover in an upright position. 8-[
  18. Had a mate who rode a Suzuki Stinger, 125, no brakes and very skinny tyres that if you weren't careful and run into the tram grooves you'd end up in the depo.
  19. Were there motorbikes even around back then? :p
  20. *hands up* Just had my first crash after 2 months of riding. It was an EXTREMELY wet and sandy tram track that got me. I was going around 20kmph and low sided. Bent my gear lever and injured my leg. I was forced to ride in the middle of the tracks due to parked cars on the left hand side. Any tips for a recovering newbie that just scrapped up his ninja 300? Thanks