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Thread: Tips on Commuting by bike

  1. #1
    Evil Biker Scum Gemini's Avatar
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    Default Tips on Commuting by bike

    Commuting from Montana in Pretoria to Ferndale in Randburg on a daily basis the points below are from what I heard / read and learned on my daily commute, please add to the list as there are so many things to keep in mind

    1. Try to leave at the same time everyday that way you start to know the cagers and traffic.
    2. If your inner voice recommends a different route listen to it!
    3. Be Visible wear you yellow bib.
    4. Keep focused on the road, don’t day dream or zone out.
    5. Anticipate the movement of other road users and always plan your evasive action ahead.
    6. In the suburbs watch out for cagers exciting their driveways or picking up someone next to the road, they are pre occupied and will not look before turning onto the road or making a u-turn.
    7. On dual carriage roads when lane splitting and the traffic are stationary:
    Watch out for pedestrians exciting Cages and Taxis.
    Watch out for Froggers running between the cages.
    Keep your Speed down to allow stopping for the above.
    8. At intersections controlled by mini circles ,stop streets and yields signs wait until you are surer the vehicle approaching the intersection will be stopping, don’t pass other vehicles on the left at an intersections
    9. On a dual carriageway if a cage is standing in a slipway to turn across your path and the slipway is not controlled by traffic light or road sign slow down and anticipate that they may try to cross in front of you, this also applies to secondary road intersections with main roads, especialy in instances when only the secondary road has a stop or yield sign.
    10. At traffic lights don’t pull away the instant the light goes green look left look right and then proceed if it is safe to do so, early mornings watch out for cagers and especially truck that ignores red lights
    11. Learn to balance your ride so that when you stop you use your legs to balance the bike and not to support its weight.
    12. Keep your brakes covered at all times, reaction time is critical.
    13. When stopping at a traffic light or stop street keep your bike in 1st and keep scanning your mirrors, this will allow you time to move if a cager is not going to stop behind you.
    14. Get into the habit of being in 1st by the time you come to a stand still, keep your right foot on the brake and left foot to balance, this save you from shuffling your feet around to change down after stationary and having a foot on the brake makes it easier on the pull away especially on an incline.
    15. Don’t pull in your clutch when splitting between vehicles i.e. don’t free wheel. The ride is for stable with the clutch engaged and you have better control and your clutch wont take so much strain
    16. Greet the cager next to you at the traffic light it does not go un recognised and it makes a huge difference.
    17. Watch out for the street vendors if they are making a sale or chasing a prospect they zone out , a quick blip of the throttle will jerk them back to reality, just watch out they may take a fright and bolt in the opposite direction from what you anticipated.

    Commuting on the highway:
    1. Lane split not faster that 15km per hour and then not faster than is safe in the current traffic conditions and the distance in which you can safely stop.
    2. Keep a look out for other bikers behind you, don’t let them intimidate you especially those riders on scooters, move over when it’s safe to do so and let them pass.
    3. When you are on a clear stretch of road and approaching the tail end of the traffic getting ready to lane split, slow right down, the cagers shuffle around a lot at the back of the queue, proceed slowly into the biker’s lane.
    4. In the bikers lane don’t look at the cars in front of you look ahead down the biker lane and train yourself to use your peripheral vision to look at the cages in front of you. In this forward scanning check for indicators, drivers head movement and wheels turning.
    5. Keep the front wheels of cages in view you will notice when the cager is about to jump lanes when the wheels start turning.
    6. When you see a gap to your right or left while splitting anticipate that a cager may bolt from the left or right to fill the gap, plan your move in advance to take evasive action.
    7. On 3 lanes or more with a gap on each side beware of lane bolters, those cagers crossing from lane 1 to lane 3 obliquely across the biker’s lane.
    8. Slow down when you are passing a truck or bus, you don’t know what will be jumping out in front of the bus.
    9. Slow down near on and off ramps cagers change lanes more often close to these.
    10. Some days the traffic is skittish and or it feels as if you are being picked on, slow down your splitting speed, turn on you hazards, this will make you more visible 9 out of 10 times if this does not work slow down more or move back into the lane.
    11. Never ever ride in the yellow line or to the right of the right hand white line. Cager will not expect you here.
    12. If a cager makes way for you say thank you, nod your head or wave a thank with your left hand over your right hand shoulder, this allows the cage behind and in front of you to see the thanks.
    13. If you are cut off or pushed by a cager and decide to pick a fight with the cager in sign language or to point out that he needs to use his indicators, keep your eyes on the road in front of you, don’t turn around in the saddle and lose focus on what is going on in front of you.
    14. If you feel you have a regular close call when you are lane spitting, you are splitting too fast, slow down your lane splitting speed.

    If a cage swerves in front off you of you need to take evasive action, don’t react in anger, take a deep breath and deal with the problem. Anger has no space on the bike with you, if you ride in anger you endanger yourself and other road users.
    Last edited by Gemini; 19-02-2009 at 09:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Hardcore Biker Dev's Avatar
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    Great post!! Well done!!


  3. #3
    Only in Souff Efrica! Vespa 1's Avatar
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    Thanks for a really good post! All the points are VERY valid!!
    Ride with the Eagles in Safety! Not with the Angels by Accident

    In Memory of Blackie Swart! A Man among men, and a true Friend! RIP!

  4. #4
    Sarel van der Merwe Hover Ho''s Avatar
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    More observations -
    1. When stopping at an intersection and you're in the right lane, don't be so far ahead of the car next to you that the cars turning across your path will take you out. Have seen many bikes almost flattened because the cars will cut the corner and if you're too far ahead, then you will get taken with it.
    2. When lane splitting and you're waiting at a red light but you're not able to be right in front of the cars, in other words, you're a few cars behind the front ones, watch the cars pulling away in front of you. Often their wheels are pointing into your path, especially if they came from another lane into that space. Rather wait a few seconds and move with the traffic before opening up to get away - they would have straightened out by then.
    3. As Gemini said, watch the head - once had a guy looking for something on the passenger seat, couldn't find it, then scratched around on the floor to find it (head disappeared every now and again), all this at 120 down the highway. Every time he took his eyes off the road, the car would wander across the lane - the direction cannot be predicted so be careful of this scenario.
    Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner- Sophia Loren

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the good posts......
    You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

    I know you think you understood what I said, but what you heard was not what I meant.

  6. #6
    Evil Biker Scum ddavis's Avatar
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    Great post ... always glad to see these type of posts .... good as a refresher and always something new to learn. Thanks.
    Darlene
    One thing I can't recycle is wasted time!

  7. #7
    Doesn't suffer fools gladly n3cr0's Avatar
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    True about the anger thing.
    I had Angry and his brother DieMoerIn riding with me this morning.
    It wasnt pretty
    With a twist of my wrist I cease to be human and become a god of thunder, speed and terror.

  8. #8
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    Great post, sticky?
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  9. #9
    Evil Biker Scum Gemini's Avatar
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    Commuting from Montana in Pretoria to Ferndale in Randburg on a daily basis the points below are from what I heard / read and learnt on my daily commute, please add to the list as there are so many things to keep in mind

    1. Try to leave at the same time everyday that way you start to know the cagers and traffic.
    2. If your inner voice recommends a different route listen to it!
    3. Be Visible wear you yellow bib.
    4. Keep focused on the road, donít day dream or zone out.
    5. Anticipate the movement of other road users and always plan your evasive action ahead.
    6. In the suburbs watch out for cagers exciting their driveways or picking up someone next to the road, they are pre occupied and will not look before turning onto the road or making a u-turn.
    7. On dual carriage roads when lane splitting and the traffic are stationary:
    Watch out for pedestrians exciting Cages and Taxis.
    Watch out for Froggers running between the cages.
    Keep your Speed down to allow stopping for the above.
    8. At intersections controlled by mini circles ,stop streets and yields signs wait until you are surer the vehicle approaching the intersection will be stopping, donít pass other vehicles on the left at an intersections
    9. On a dual carriageway if a cage is standing in a slipway to turn across your path and the slipway is not controlled by traffic light or road sign slow down and anticipate that they may try to cross in front of you, this also applies to secondary road intersections with main roads, especially in instances when only the secondary road has a stop or yield sign.
    10. At traffic lights donít pull away the instant the light goes green look left look right and then proceed if it is safe to do so, early mornings watch out for cagers and especially truck that ignores red lights
    11. Learn to balance your ride so that when you stop you use your legs to balance the bike and not to support its weight.
    12. Keep your brakes covered at all times, reaction time is critical.
    13. When stopping at a traffic light or stop street keep your bike in 1st and keep scanning your mirrors, this will allow you time to move if a cager is not going to stop behind you.
    14. Get into the habit of being in 1st by the time you come to a stand still, keep your right foot on the brake and left foot to balance, this save you from shuffling your feet around to change down after stationary and having a foot on the brake makes it easier on the pull away especially on an incline.
    15. Donít pull in your clutch when splitting between vehicles i.e. donít free wheel. The ride is for stable with the clutch engaged and you have better control and your clutch wont take so much strain
    16. Greet the cager next to you at the traffic light it does not go unrecognised and it makes a huge difference.
    17. Watch out for the street vendors if they are making a sale or chasing a prospect they zone out , a quick blip of the throttle will jerk them back to reality, just watch out they may take a fright and bolt in the opposite direction from what you anticipated.

    Commuting on the highway:
    1. Lane split not faster that 15km per hour and then not faster than is safe in the current traffic conditions and the distance in which you can safely stop.
    2. Keep a look out for other bikers behind you, donít let them intimidate you especially those riders on scooters, move over when itís safe to do so and let them pass.
    3. When you are on a clear stretch of road and approaching the tail end of the traffic getting ready to lane split, slow right down, the cagers shuffle around a lot at the back of the queue, proceed slowly into the bikerís lane.
    4. In the bikers lane donít look at the cars in front of you look ahead down the biker lane and train yourself to use your peripheral vision to look at the cages in front of you. In this forward scanning check for indicators, drivers head movement and wheels turning.
    5. Keep the front wheels of cages in view you will notice when the cager is about to jump lanes when the wheels start turning.
    6. When you see a gap to your right or left while splitting anticipate that a cager may bolt from the left or right to fill the gap, plan your move in advance to take evasive action.
    7. On 3 lanes or more with a gap on each side beware of lane bolters, those cagers crossing from lane 1 to lane 3 obliquely across the bikerís lane.
    8. Slow down when you are passing a truck or bus, you donít know what will be jumping out in front of the bus.
    9. Slow down near on and off ramps cagers change lanes more often close to these.
    10. Some days the traffic is skittish and or it feels as if you are being picked on, slow down your splitting speed, turn on you hazards, this will make you more visible 9 out of 10 times if this does not work slow down more or move back into the lane.
    11. Never ever ride in the yellow line or to the right of the right hand white line. Cager will not expect you here.
    12. If a cager makes way for you say thank you, nod your head or wave a thank with your left hand over your right hand shoulder, this allows the cage behind and in front of you to see the thanks.
    13. If you are cut off or pushed by a cager and decide to pick a fight with the cager in sign language or to point out that he needs to use his indicators, keep your eyes on the road in front of you, donít turn around in the saddle and lose focus on what is going on in front of you.
    14. If you feel you have a regular close call when you are lane spitting, you are splitting too fast, slow down your lane splitting speed.
    15. If the traffic is stationary or moving slowly in th opposite direction and your direction is moving and there is no solid divider between the lanes, Be alert to cages doing U turn across the centre median, also under bridges where is easy for the cager to make a U turn and they my be blocked from your view by the bridge pillars.

    If a cage swerves in front off you of you need to take evasive action, donít react in anger, take a deep breath and deal with the problem. Anger has no space on the bike with you, if you ride in anger you endanger yourself and other road users.

  10. #10
    Count Dracula Vampire's Avatar
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    Spot on............
    !!!!!! ONE HEART......TWO WHEELS !!!!!!

  11. #11
    Biker Trash kiepie1's Avatar
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    Love these tips, but man, they scare the **** outa me. I'm still new at the bike thing, haven't built up the courage to attempt peak hour. I just hope I'll remember all when I have the guts..lol

  12. #12
    Evil Biker Scum Mello's Avatar
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    Great post Gemini
    I esp. like point 1. If the cages get to know you and you wave, its almost like they anticipate meeting you along a particular and start to give you a gap.

    Aerodynamics are for people who can't build engines - Enzo Ferrari

  13. #13
    Hooligan Biker Blue Gecko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiepie1 View Post
    Love these tips, but man, they scare the **** outa me. I'm still new at the bike thing, haven't built up the courage to attempt peak hour. I just hope I'll remember all when I have the guts..lol
    Kiepie1, the bikers on this forum is great, when you want to attempt the traffic, just post it here, I am sure one of us will volunteer to ride with you and lead you through the traffic.

    Your first day is very scary, but it does get better as your confidence grows over time - good luck.

  14. #14
    Biker Trash kiepie1's Avatar
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    Thank you BG, I will certainly remember that.

  15. #15
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    Default thanks!

    nice post - thanks!

  16. #16
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    some extra ones:

    Dont sit directly behind cages, and dont sit to close, you wont be able to see potholes/crap/gravel/oil in the road ahead. rather move slightly to the left or right to be able to see the road ahead

    When lane splitting in suburbs and you come to a cross road/intersection and traffic is gridlocked, cages will sometimes leave a gap to let side traffic through, make sure that you dont get T-Boned in a situation like this

  17. #17
    Biker Trash HENNS's Avatar
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    Thanx great post
    The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits

  18. #18
    Lurker
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    This is fantastic info.

    I commute daily, not on the freeway but I think a lot of the advice is extremely helpful

  19. #19
    Evil Biker Scum Krokodil's Avatar
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    Some good info!
    You get old bikers and you get brave bikers.
    You don't get old brave bikers.

  20. #20
    iLL Angel Ė Her Royal Cockiness L!L Angel's Avatar
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    Great advice!!!!!

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