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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?


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Motorcycle Awareness. Improving Traffic Congestion
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balloonatic 3:11 pm 16 Jun 11

I think the government is trying to separate cyclists from other motorists by use of designated lanes etc. sharing those lanes with motorcycles goes against this initiative and is dangerous to the cyclist and I don’t recommend it. There is heaps of road without using the emergency/cycle lanes.

Innovation 11:19 am 11 Jun 11

keepitup said :

Hatter64 said :

I will soon be moving to a place where roads and transport are planned, road-users accept the need to share the roads safely and they don’t feed theses strange chemicals into the water and air that cause this aggression we see in Canberra. Enjoy you next few years battling each other for your space on the roads.

C’mon, let us in on the secret. Where is this Utopia?

Actually, reading between the lines, I had thought it was the same place that we all, hopefully, get to see in a few years……

Innovation 11:16 am 11 Jun 11

Aeek said :

Innovation said :

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem.

As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

I see the problem.
I’ve been doing 50 something in the bicycle lane wondering how to deal with the slower moto ahead.
I’m also not keen on inexperienced riders pulling out in front of me when I am flying,
and a 300cc limit is likely to select them.

50 clicks on a pushie. I’m impressed! Don’t those slower cyclists already in the cycle lanes annoy you already? And why would a slower motorbike suddently pull out in front of you if they are on the limit in the cycle lane? And as for “inexperienced” motorcylists on <300cc, are you suggesting that it would be better for these inexperienced motorcyclists to be in mainstream traffic?

A 20k limit for motorcylists in the cycle lane would be likely to mean that motorcylists only used it near intersections to get to the head of the queue or in slow moving traffic so I still don't see the problem. It might even stop cyclists running the red lights when they get there because there is a motorcycle in the way!

As a result of this thread, I've been doing a little reading on rear end casualties involving motorbikes stopped at traffic lights. I had no idea what a big risk/issue it was. I'm tempted to start, legally, pulling over in the cycle lane and parking until the traffic starts flowing again. Oh wait, that would hold up the cyclists and annoy them wouldn't it…..?

what_the 3:33 pm 10 Jun 11

Aeek said :

Innovation said :

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem.

As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

I see the problem.
I’ve been doing 50 something in the bicycle lane wondering how to deal with the slower moto ahead.
I’m also not keen on inexperienced riders pulling out in front of me when I am flying,
and a 300cc limit is likely to select them.

So it’s ok for bicycles to share the road lanes, but not ok for motorcycles to share the bike lanes? I doubt many motorcycles are slower than bicycles. I’ve actually never encountered a bicycle in the lane when I’ve used them at lights, which really suprised me as I see more motorcycles using them than bicycles.

keepitup 7:55 am 10 Jun 11

Hatter64 said :

I will soon be moving to a place where roads and transport are planned, road-users accept the need to share the roads safely and they don’t feed theses strange chemicals into the water and air that cause this aggression we see in Canberra. Enjoy you next few years battling each other for your space on the roads.

C’mon, let us in on the secret. Where is this Utopia?

Aeek 9:06 pm 09 Jun 11

Innovation said :

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem.

As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

I see the problem.
I’ve been doing 50 something in the bicycle lane wondering how to deal with the slower moto ahead.
I’m also not keen on inexperienced riders pulling out in front of me when I am flying,
and a 300cc limit is likely to select them.

Innovation 5:30 pm 09 Jun 11

#36 balloonatic – If motor bikes are speed limited in cycle lanes (eg 20km/h) I don’t see the problem. There is no risk to the cyclists and the increased activity in the cycle lane would encourage drivers to be more aware of what is going on on their left hand side. Currently 200W electric bicycles (and how could you tell whether it’s actually a 400W or even a 1000W pushie) are allowed in the cycles lanes but a 50cc bike is not. As a trial, I suggest that max 300cc bikes (ie the lower rego category) are allowed in the bicycle lane up to 20km/h.

As far as I can tell in this thread, no-one has produced a reason why this idea (or walking motorbikes through gaps between stationary cars) would be unreasonable.

G-Fresh 5:19 pm 09 Jun 11

averagejoeaussie said :

…even if I am the first car stopped at the lights. I usually try to floor it to either make life difficult/make them shit themselves at the green light.

hahahahhahahahhahahahhahaha

I know your type.

Pity you can’t keep up!

qbngeek 3:57 pm 09 Jun 11

matt31221 said :

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.

Well I never meant for it to get personal, I suggest you think more about what I said before you post. I never said I wanted lights to be turned off in towns or cities, however there are stretches of highway around this country that are lit adn do not need to be. There are also many country roads that are lit. The actual point was that there is no reason to use your high beam with oncoming traffic.

And FYI, you muppet, I do own an SUV but it is pretty economical and is better on fuel than the mid-sizeedsedan it replaced. I also own two motorbikes, as I have stated on this site in the past, and I see no reason to ride around with my high beams on even though one of my bikes is from the 60s and has the worst headlight on earth.

And yes I do work in an office, just like you work for a tradie…because you’re a tool.

crazyfish 2:03 pm 09 Jun 11

I have a vague recollection of reading an article a few years ago about the state of California looking to make lane splitting / filtering legal as there’d been some research done which concluded that it resulted in less accidents and less congestion. I’ve done a quick google and have found a few references but nothing that seems to have a ring of authority. This link has some useful comment though:

http://articles.sfgate.com/2000-10-30/news/17664760_1_lane-splitting-motorcyclists-bay-bridge

I’m sure some more exhaustive searching would turn up something more useful.

As someone that commutes by bike 50% of the time and drives the other half, I tend not to lane split unless some idiot puts me into a dangerous situation (has only happened once) or I’ve stuffed up (happened once as well) as it generally doesn’t feel safe to me. I cringe when I see motorcyclists going up push-bike lanes and the like because safety risk aside it’s a bad look that only aggravates further those motorists that already have a pre-disposition to being cranky on the roads. But then I”m the kind of bike rider that wears full protective gear and there’s a lot that don’t so I can only conclude they just don’t assess risk in the same way I do.

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