‘Welcome to the jungle’ crooned Guns ‘n Roses and we can’t disagree. Look around you, the city with its billion hazards is indeed a jungle out there. And you know what you need in the jungle? Survival skills. For it is the fittest who will live to see another day. So here we are with the next part of our bike riding series to not only help you survive but will also see you become a safer rider with greater confidence. And the best part? You’ll be able to enjoy the Thrill of Riding much better.
A motorcycle isn’t really the most visible thing on the road. So make yourself visible. Wear a bright helmet and riding gear with reflective lining and panels. Thankfully, with the AHO function on the new Pulsars you don’t need to worry about keeping the headlamp switched on.
Where to look
Straight ahead, but don’t fixate on things. Instead, scan the environment and keep track of the changing roadscape.
Where to ride
Certainly not on the footpath or down the wrong side. Also, don’t obstruct others. Ride with enough space for others to pass.
Too close for comfort
And you won’t be able to spot the gaps that will help you go faster. Leave some distance with the bumper of the vehicle ahead and you’ll see gaps that you can filter through and ride faster. It also means you won’t be kissing the bumper when the cager ahead decides to brake.
Look through the windscreen
Look through the windscreen of the vehicle to figure out what hazards lie ahead of it. Early warning means a faster reaction time you’ll be prepared beforehand to prevent any mishap.
Buses and stops
Buses stop without warning and the people in them get off whenever they get the chance. Also, some specimens cross from in front of the bus, which means you won’t see them until it’s too late. Stay extra sharp!
Check before you go
Don’t zoom off when the lights go green at the traffic signal. Check that the coast is completely clear before you start. And when you do, make sure you get cleanly away and completely past the junction.
Check what’s on the left of the vehicle. It will give you an indication of whether the driver will need to swerve right when you’re alongside. Keep some gap, look past the vehicle. Check the mirrors. Downshift and put the engine in its power band. Indicate. Check one last time over the shoulder. Pull out and accelerate past.
Ride in their mirrors
Learn to stay in the mirrors of the car ahead. You should be able to see the driver in the mirror of the vehicle ahead, that’s when you’re visible to him as well. That also means you’ll spend less time making a decision to overtake safely.
When the sun goes down
All the lamps on your bike need to be functional, duh! But don’t forget to follow the lights of the vehicles ahead. You’ll get to know from before if there is a speed bump in your path long before you reach it. Also, when cornering in the dark, watch out for headlamp beams coming your way.
(1) Flash your headlamps and honk to catch the driver’s attention before you pull out for an overtaking maneuver
(2) If you can’t see the driver’s face in his mirrors, it means his mirrors aren’t adjusted and he can’t see you either. Beware.
(3) Watch the front wheels. They are the first indicator of the way the car ahead is going to turn.
(4) Don’t stop in the center of the road at a traffic signal when the light turns red. Pull to the left and stop on the left at the stop light so that you’re not in anybody’s way. Especially in the way of that speeding driver who doesn’t want to stop.