If you are living in the countryside, then consider yourself lucky.
You must be wondering, what we are talking about?
Well, we are talking about heavy traffic in cities. Riding a motorcycle on country roads and in city traffic is totally different. Riding in cities is quite dangerous.
You are surrounded by many vehicles that may not see you. In heavy traffic, the risk of coming in the blind spot of trucks and cars is dangerous too. Plus, city roads have more leaked oil on them from old vehicles and you have to keep observing the situation in front and behind of you.
But, not to worry because today we are going to give you the best tips on “how to ride safely in heavy traffic?”
So, please read on.
Tips for Riding Safely in Heavy Traffic
If you are living in a city and use a motorcycle for daily commuting, then you probably face heavy traffic on a regular basis. To use a motorcycle to ride to work daily is a brilliant idea in terms of fuel economy and money savings but, it also puts you at risk in heavy traffic.
So, take every ride as a practice session, learn how traffic moves around, and put all of your attention into developing your sixth sense towards the dangers on the road.
That’s why it is so important to learn the method of switching lanes, emergency braking, change of direction, cornering the motorcycle, and how to deal with a tailgater.
Never lose your focus and always keep your eyes on the road and the surrounding vehicles.
See Also: Tips to teach a novice how to ride?
Observe Traffic and Pedestrians
Motorcyclists always have a much clearer field of view as compared to the person sitting in a car. This wide field of view gives us a general idea of what’s happening around us?
A vehicle in front of you just slowed down and is going to shift lanes. It could be because of arguing with the kids, leaning over to change the radio channel, or maybe turning the head to check to see if the lane is clear or not.
Basically, your wide field of vision gives you the advantage of reacting to the situation instantly. Moreover, we know how pedestrians cross the road unaware of traffic. So, observe everything around you and always have a plan or exit strategy to get out of an unforeseen situation.
In the next step, we will teach you the exit strategy.
If a vehicle in front of you suddenly changed lane, it is important for you to observe the road ahead and switch to a safe lane just in case something goes wrong.
You can move to a motorcycle lane or slow down; otherwise, moving in between vehicles in a line-up of stationary or slow-moving vehicles is also a good option.
Even in a stationary position, you must always keep an eye on the mirror of your motorcycle to watch the vehicles in the rear, the right foot on the brake, and the left foot on the road. This position will keep your bike idling, in the event that you need a quick getaway.
In many states, there are some issues about lane filtering at less than 30km/h. But, in some states, it is allowed to do that. But, make sure you don’t take advantage of this rule and carelessly do filtering.
Only do it when it is lawful to do so because the last thing you want is to get caught by the police in illegal activity. Police always keep one eye open for motorcyclists who do filtering in the wrong places.
On second thought, you probably shouldn’t depend on it. There are other ways to exit any situation. Filtering can cause jealousy and road rage, so at least give people a polite wave and you may avoid any quarrel.
One last thing, never lane filter in front of a big truck. There is a 50-50 chance that the truck driver may not see you and you will put yourself in the blind spot of a truck.
If they can’t see you, then they could run right over the top of you.
Follow the Traffic Lights
If you have filtered to the front of the traffic lights, then you better wait for the light to turn green unless you want to be run over by some other motorcyclist.
You say you don’t trust lights. They don’t call it “Rush Hour” for nothing. Like you, many other riders try to save a couple of seconds and jump the traffic light to reach their destination on time. This jumping could be harmful to you if you engage right after the light turns green.
So, you better take advantage of being in front and keep your eyes on the lights. You will be able to see what the light is signaling and when it changes, make sure to look both ways and check to make sure that nobody is willing to run the red light.
Give Yourself a Buffer
Many instructors suggest giving yourself a buffer in front, back, alongside, or approaching from the other direction.
But it is very hard to do in heavy traffic. Even if you give yourself a buffer in front of you, then the opportunity is great for another car to slip into this space.
So, if it is a buffer you really want, then you need to switch lanes and constantly shift your position. This is the only way to get the attention of surrounding vehicles and avoiding you from coming in contact with them and vice-versa.
Get Other’s Attention
To get the attention of other vehicles you could also c change how you dress. Instead of a black leather jacket, you can go for mesh or textile jackets.
These types of motorcycle jackets come with additional armor and provide ultimate weather and crash protection to the rider.
These jackets are available in attractive colors, which can be easily seen on the road. That means you don’t need a loud exhaust to get attention on the road. Especially, if you are in front of a vehicle, in which the driver has turned the AC on and is listening to his favorite music on the radio.
Just keep moving to get the attention of the motorists in front of you and behind you.
If the traffic is getting heavier and heavier, then you better keep moving. Otherwise, you may get caught in an unavoidable incident. Plus, traffic will be slower so it’s not as if you will be breaking any law.
Learn the Route
If you are using a motorcycle for daily commuting, then it would be better to learn the route and stick to the plans.
Study the traffic patterns, such as when it will be heavy or light.
Are there any shortcuts to save more time?
But, never become complacent. After all, traffic is unpredictable. But, don’t waste your time trying to understand it.
And last but not least, if you don’t know the route really well, you should always use a motorcycle GPS navigation system. It will show you the directions and help you avoid traffic jams.
I hope these tips will help you to face heavy traffic and ride safely in it. If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t forget to mention them in the comment section below.