Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Motorcycle Awareness. Improving Traffic Congestion

By balloonatic - 27 May 2011 50

The traffic congestion in Canberra is getting worse all the time. I’m sure it will improve a little when the major roadworks are finished by it won’t take long for new housing developments to fill the roads up again. Places like Sydney and Melbourne deal with much worse traffic congestion then us on a daily basis and manage to maintain their sanity in doing so.  There is a much higher ratio of motorcycles to cars in these larger cities and everyone seems to get along quite well.

So what are the differences between dealing with traffic well, and dealing with it poorly? I’m going to talk about the driving attitudes in Sydney and Melbourne as a prime examples of how things can and should be done. As per the title I’m coming from the view of a rider but of course I am a driver as well.

Observations I have made in Sydney and Melbourne that make driving in congestion easier
– being patient and waiting just for a second for the right opportunty to change lanes
– being considerate, this is two fold, when someone lets you in give them a gesture to say thanks, on the other hand you see that someone has had to make a late lane change, open the gap, give them some space and feel the good karma grow and flow
– when you do need to make a move, make it happen quickly enough so your intentions are always clear
– Sydney people do this naturally, but you can’t merge while on the bumper of the car in front of you, in order to carry out a zipper merge you going to have leave room for at least a car. If you leave the gap early there will be minimal need to change speed and the concentener effect will be smaller.

Melbourne and Motocycles
– Melbourne drivers and riders have a beautiful relationship that works in harmony everyday
– I believe we can learn a lot from this
– Motorcycles in Melbourne have minimal effect on traffic congestion
– By law, Lane Splitting* is illegal, however if executed in the right areas and at the right relative speed it is very safe
– Drivers will actually move to the outside of the lane, open the gap between the lanes as much as possible so riders can move through while having minimal impact on the traffic.
– Rider need only give a little rev of the motor and the driver will drive forward a little just to let the bike through. Rider says thankyou and gets out of everyones way.

*Lane Splitting – What and Why does it work

Lane splitting is when a rider pulls out from the lane and rides on the line between the two lanes. Canberrans view it as an aggressive, dangerous maneouver that does nothing but jump the queue. I’m writing here to give a different perpesctive.

Lane splitting should be legalised! Anyone who has driven in Melbourne would have experienced the minimal impact that lane splitting has on the traffic. Actually, Lane splitting reduces congestion by creating extra lanes for motorcycles and getting them out of the cars way. 3 lanes of traffic presents 2 extra lanes for motorcycles. So in reality, every bike that lane splits means a car can move up a spot.

So please, if you see a bike moving up slowly between the traffic, make way for him and remeber that by doing so you actually creating a spot for your fellow driver behind you.

Peace and Happy driving, lets all get to work with smiles on our dials.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
50 Responses to
Motorcycle Awareness. Improving Traffic Congestion
Innovation 7:14 am 28 May 11

#4 Buzz918 – Surely you don’t mean the “vast majority”. I suspect it is like all minority groups of road users (eg cyclists, bus drivers) in that a handful if miscreants spoil it for the rest. Try spending a day counting the number of motorcyclists you see (assuming that you notice them) and comparing that to the number who actually break rules.

#7 RichardWhereat – I’m not sure that I understand your post but, currently, any motorcyclist riding in the cycle lane is at fault and blatantly negligent if doing it at speed.

#10 BenMac – If you don’t like the theme, why read and why post?

#13 bd84 – Actually motorcyclists do improve the flow of traffic. It is potentially one less car on the road and they take up significantly less space than a car. I agree that lane splitting or cycle lane use is pointless if it is just to get to the next red light quicker. But in places like Northbourne, where you can sit at one set of lights for two or three changes it would be very valuable and would reduce traffic congestion even further. It might even encourage some more car drivers onto motorcyles further reducing congestion.

matt31221 11:40 pm 27 May 11

Lane splitting and associated maneuvers SHOULD be legal within safety guidelines.

And getting to the front is a way to stay safe as a motorcyclist because when you are surrounded by car drivers with their horse blinkers on and a false sense of security it is safer just to get away from them. Often they ride up your ar*e and may merge onto you. On a bike you gotta maintain ALOT more buffer in front and behind from other vehicles.

And @ qbngeek who wants to switch off street lights – you are a muppet! If someone gets raped due to lowered lighting the government is liable, they will not turn off street lights! You probably drive a petrol guzzling sports SUV and you work an office job. Maybe you should get a motorcycle and then you will be saving resources and polluting less.

Like a lot of Canberrians, you see them in the morning ALONE in a 5 seater car, some of them huge gas guzzlers, probably public servants going to an office building somewhere (being the public service capital) – some of them apparently environmentally conscious but if so why don’t they buy a motorbike? Not only is it mad fun, but it is a lot cheaper on fuel and rego and emits heaps less pollution. If you are defensive it is almost as safe as driving a car, if not as safe.

bd84 11:02 pm 27 May 11

I don’t know what planet you live on, but it must be close to lala land. I have driven in Sydney and Melbourne many many times, and the utopia you describe doesn’t exist.

Lane splitting is illegal for one major reason, it is nothing but dangerous. You want drivers to keep watch out for motorcyclists, but you cannot see a motorcyclist that does it until he zooms past the front of your car as the majority of the sides of your car are blindspots. You also cannot determine if and when they’re going to do it i.e. there is no way of indicating. Add in there is no determined “safe” gap in the lane to be leaving..

If motorcyclists don’t contribute to traffic, they should not have any problems sitting behind a car in the normal lane like everyone else. I find it amusing that motorcyclists who split traffic at lights to get to the front to take off at 100kph then occupy the whole lane at the next set of lights, its just an excuse to get to the front and be the “winner”. Ultimately motorcyclists who lane split and ride down emergency or bike lanes are just as impatient idiots as those drivers who speed up to beat you to the form one lane or those who think they can skip the line of traffic to force their way back in further down the road. Doing those things do not improve the traffic flow whatsoever, just slow it down later.

p1 8:18 pm 27 May 11

buzz819 said :

Wow, I never said it was all of them, just the vast majority and you add another story of their moron behavior. Good work.

Wow. All you said was the vast majority. Yet you don’t see that as massively stereo typing?

BenMac 7:06 pm 27 May 11

RichardWhereat said :

There are stretches along flemington which have no lights, and I’ve got to put my high beams on to be able to monitor the road ahead. This means that oncoming cars have a high beam in their face as they drive in an unlit area.

If you can see what’s in front of you with your normal lights on, then I’d suggest you get your eyes checked. Unfortunately, not every single section of road can be lit.

Driving with your high beams on at oncoming traffic? and people wonder why they are the subject of road rage.

BenMac 7:02 pm 27 May 11

Yawn….Can we go just 1 week without a Canberra roads/drivers/riders whinge?

The Frots 6:56 pm 27 May 11

As a rider for many, many years I tend to ride the same way I drive. I don’t lane split, don’t charge forward to the front of the line at lines or any of that. I think that a lot of the more mature riders ride that way. And its not that I’m a ‘boring rider’ I don’t think – I have a fairly powerful US made bike that gets me where I want to go.

But a lot of the younger riders today tend to be idiots – speed and speed alone is what they want and they will do anything to get anywhere first.

qbngeek 6:55 pm 27 May 11

RichardWhereat said :

Here’s another simple idea to help improve road safety. Ensure that all the roads are well lit. There are stretches along flemington which have no lights, and I’ve got to put my high beams on to be able to monitor the road ahead. This means that oncoming cars have a high beam in their face as they drive in an unlit area.

If you are riding or driving with your high beams on with oncoming traffic than you breaking the law and causing more of a safety issue than the road not being lit. Ohh….and you’re a tool.

I suppose you want every metre of every road in the country lit? I would like to see fewer roads lit and the electricity saved.

RichardWhereat 6:35 pm 27 May 11

Innovation said :

Unfortunately, we have all seen motorcyles riding too fast down the cycle lane (and many nearly get cleaned up when a car turns left) which gives us all a bad name.

That’s not all our fault. There are a lot of idiots who just simply don’t indicate. I keep my eyes on the road immediately ahead, road conditions far ahead, road signs (when not hidden behind trees), and cars on both sides of me. However, when they start moving into my lane without indicating, or sometimes looking to see if I’m there, shit gets dangerous.

In the NT a lot of riders had been taking to throwing a D battery at a car that almost knocks us off the road. Most drivers here are okay, in fact I don’t think it’s even hit double digits the times I’ve almost been hit by ACT drivers. But there are the idiots who just don’t signal, and they cause a lot of worries. It’s not just a ding, it’s our life.

RichardWhereat 6:30 pm 27 May 11

Here’s another simple idea to help improve road safety. Ensure that all the roads are well lit. There are stretches along flemington which have no lights, and I’ve got to put my high beams on to be able to monitor the road ahead. This means that oncoming cars have a high beam in their face as they drive in an unlit area.

Also, there are stretches of road where the road is patchy, and thus dangerous to two wheels. Similarly, when they do roadwork that scrapes up the road, I’ve got to ride at 10kmph, much to the annoyance of the cars behind me, because otherwise I’d come off. The wheels get caught in the scrapings and I’m fucked.

Road conditions and Lighting are the most dangerous conditions in canberra, not other road users. I come from the northern territory where the drivers are absolute c**ts who don’t tend to maintain their cars, thus ensuring that there’s oil all over the road. Okay for 4 wheels, not for 2. But down here, the drivers are much more polite. I’m even able to lie back and have a rest on my scooter while I wait for the light to go green.

PLEASE fix the roads, and provide better lights.

Innovation 6:20 pm 27 May 11

I am a motorcycle rider, cyclist and driver. I feel that lane splitting should be allowed if one foot is on the ground at all times (ie to force the rider to walk the bike through spaces at a slow speed). The problem though is that some riders can’t judge when there is sufficient space and/or ride too quickly through any gaps. They scratch cars, don’t allow for opening car doors or pedestrians crossing around stationary vehicles and generally give all riders a bad name.

Personally, I feel that motorcycles should be allowed to use on road cycle lanes subject to a speed limit. This would allow motorcyles to get to the front of the queue without lane splitting and would resolve a huge anomaly between unregistered electric bikes and small motorcycles. I have previously suggested this on RA with a limit of 30 to 40km/h (ie consistent with the speed of commuter pushbikes) but even 20km/h for bikes under 300cc would be a reasonable test. I have suggested this change to Stanhope (and in my case there was a genuine reason for riding slowly) but the last response again refused to change the rules but pointed out that I could still ride in the transit lanes (I can just imagine everyone’s faces behind me if I sat on 30km/h in the transit lane!).

Unfortunately, we have all seen motorcyles riding too fast down the cycle lane (and many nearly get cleaned up when a car turns left) which gives us all a bad name. If there were more bikes in the cycle lane, it would help raise driver awareness and discourage dangerous cyclist and motorcycle behaviour (eg cyclists running red lights).

(Incidentally, last week I saw a cyclist stopped in the cycle lane on Northbourne at the entrance to Morphett on their mobile phone. Cars were having to drive around the cyclist to turn left and there was nearly a pile up when the cyclist suddenly hung up and took off without looking).

buzz819 5:52 pm 27 May 11

p1 said :

buzz819 said :

Blah Blah Blah bikes are evil…

While it is true that some dickheads people ruin it for everyone else, the same is true for cars, trucks and people who post on the internets.

buzz819 said :

You tell me why, when this behavior is so abundant in Canberra, why they should be given more laws when they can’t follow the simple ones?

Don’t think of this as bikes being given more laws (or more advantageous laws, which I think might be what you meant), but rather think about the opportunities to have better laws for everybody. I would be pretty interested in a study of the safety aspects of allowing motorcycles to legally ride in on road cycle paths. Although sadly, OP, I can’t see the status quo changing much soon.

[off topic: this afternoon while doing 80 in the left lane on Hindmarsh Dr, a fat man on a Gixxer passed me slowly (probably on the speed limit – within error of speedo), indicated, and neatly changed lanes so he was riding in the left. Then he accelerated hard, popped it up on the back wheel and blasted away up the road…..]

Wow, I never said it was all of them, just the vast majority and you add another story of their moron behavior. Good work.

pharaoh 5:01 pm 27 May 11

Non-motorcyclists often view motorcyclists as ‘all the same’, much like people view truck drivers and taxi drivers as the worst drivers on the road. Lane-splitting simply reinforces this opinion as many motorcyclists do it badly. It doesn’t help than currently there are huge numbers of inexperienced motorcyclists on the roads now due to rising fuel prices.

I am a motorcyclist and have ridden in both canberra and melbourne. I think lane splitting (as in riding constantly between lanes between two vehicles) is very unsafe for the vast majority of riders regardless of city not because they cant do a straight line, but because many cars and bikers are unpredictable on the road. Lane splitting makes the biker the most unpredictable factor on the road, and therefore I think will more likely lead to an accident. and a motorcyclist will come off worse in almost any collision with a car… talented riders can often lanesplit with skill and can judge situations better but that wont change having some daft driver thinking ‘oh damn i need to change lanes’ at the last second, move 6 inches and scrape your bike. And with so many untalented riders around it means drivers cant tell whether a talented biker is trying to lanesplit or a silly leaner is.

In Melbourne I find it hard to safely lane split, however lane filtering (as it going between cars to get to the front of the lights to take advantage of superior acceleration) works quite well, but as the cars are essentially slowing or stopped the risk is much lower than splitting.

I have been riding in Melbourne for over a year and I am yet to have a car just give me the space so I can lanesplit. I have, however, been cut off dozens of times while changing lanes in both cities. I think the key difference between Canberra and Melbourne is the sheer volume of traffic, and Melbourne drivers are slightly more aware of all traffic around them, not just motorbikes, which makes it slightly easier to lanesplit in some circumstances.

p1 4:51 pm 27 May 11

buzz819 said :

Blah Blah Blah bikes are evil…

While it is true that some dickheads people ruin it for everyone else, the same is true for cars, trucks and people who post on the internets.

buzz819 said :

You tell me why, when this behavior is so abundant in Canberra, why they should be given more laws when they can’t follow the simple ones?

Don’t think of this as bikes being given more laws (or more advantageous laws, which I think might be what you meant), but rather think about the opportunities to have better laws for everybody. I would be pretty interested in a study of the safety aspects of allowing motorcycles to legally ride in on road cycle paths. Although sadly, OP, I can’t see the status quo changing much soon.

[off topic: this afternoon while doing 80 in the left lane on Hindmarsh Dr, a fat man on a Gixxer passed me slowly (probably on the speed limit – within error of speedo), indicated, and neatly changed lanes so he was riding in the left. Then he accelerated hard, popped it up on the back wheel and blasted away up the road…..]

buzz819 4:08 pm 27 May 11

Yeah, no.

Unfortunately for you, a number of motorcycle riders in Canberra are wankers.

I saw a bike today in Civic. They were at the intersection near Koko black attempting to enter Bunda st turning left. They had only just left the parking bay, so hadn’t really been waiting for more then 3 maybe 4 seconds.

A truck stopped to let pedestrians across the crossing, now, instead of waiting his turn, the motorcycle rode up between the smallest gap between the truck AND the gutter and straight across the crossing.

This rider nearly hit three pedestrians on the crossing as it could not see past the truck. You tell me why, when this behavior is so abundant in Canberra, why they should be given more laws when they can’t follow the simple ones?

He failed to give way, he failed to stop at a crossing.

About a week ago, there was a motorcycle riding down the bicycle lane, it had to swerve back into Traffic around bicycle in the lane.

So there is two accounts of wankish motorcycle behavior in two weeks. I know it’s not all of them, but it is a large number of them.

Ohhh, I got there rego’s and provided statement’s to the Police.

1 2 3 4

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site