Motorcycle Awareness. Improving Traffic Congestion

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.


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50 Responses to Motorcycle Awareness. Improving Traffic Congestion
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balloonatic 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

FD10 FD10 11:39 am 09 Jun 11

What a troll by Hatter64 (although I suspect there is one more ‘t’ than was intended in that name). Out of that spew of keyboard diarrhoea I will only pick up on one thing – a fact rather than an opinion which is incorrect.

Hatter64 said :

(yes a bike over 250cc will cost you more to register and insure than a V8)

Can you prove that? Because whatever maths you use, it doesn’t add up. Let’s break it down. From the ACT Rego website the rego for a car between 1505-2505kg (such as a V8 Holden Commodore) will cost you $906.30 to register. A motorcycle which is 301cc and over (because that’s the cutoff, NOT 251cc) will cost you $549.60. I’ll make this very clear just for you, Hatter64, the different is $356.70.

Now, insurance. For a 5 year old Honda CBR-600RR, NRMA came back with $1,063.41. For a 5 year old SS V8, NRMA said $1,180.36. Both were for a 35 year old male living in Belconnen. Now let’s try that maths thing again!
Motorcycle: 549.6+1063.41 = $1613.01
Car: 906.30+1180.36 = $2086.66

Difference: $473.65 in favour of the bike. So next time you want to go spouting crap like “bikes cost more to register than a V8” maybe you should check your facts, and keep your mouth shut.

Hatter64 Hatter64 9:22 am 09 Jun 11

Unfortunately for the advocates of ‘cars only’ roads in the ACT, motorcyclists pay for the privilege of taking a risk amongst the angry driving community on our roads.
Melbourne is quoted as an example. I recommend a quick visit to Thailand or Vietnam where road rules are generally ignored and see how well motorcyclist and drivers can co-habit on very busy roads. At the lights ALL motorcycles move to the front of the cars and take off first. There is NO angst from the drivers.. they’re patient and know that it’s not a race, simply common sense. I’m not sure what they put in the water or the hot air here in Canberra, but it does make the drivers extremely agressive. I’d prefer to drive in New York or Sydney than Canberra… although I must admit the roads planning in most cities and towns is much better than Canberra…. Sigh
If you’re a driver that’s frustrated by being ‘beaten’ at the lights by a motorcyclist, take your revenge; get your motorcycle license, buy a motorcycle, pay higher rego and CTPI (yes a bike over 250cc will cost you more to register and insure than a V8) and take it out for a spin, prferably in winter on a rainy day. It’ll provide a different perspective on shared road usage.. Not sure you want to go to that expense? Take your life in your hands and take a pushbike out on Canberra’s roads. Then you’ll find out how ignorant (and I mean that in the true sense of the word) Canberra’s drivers are about sharing the roads.

The roads in Canberra are a mess. There is no plan to make them workable inside a twenty year time-frame. I mean workable, not ‘better than they are now’, which isn’t difficult to achieve).

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.

As for the comment on w*nkers; yes there are lots of them. In cars too. I don’t know if you notice cars. I am pleased to see car drivers noticing motorcyclists, even if they have to act badly to be noticed. In my time I’ve seen many motorcyclists that weren’t noticed by drivers. Unfortunately you wouldn’t want to see the results.

Please think about it next time you’re standing by your car with a dented fender feeling sorry for yourself. It could be worse.

Classified Classified 7:03 am 09 Jun 11

Lane splitting doesn;t particular bother.

What bothers me is seeing motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic, doing 30km/h or more faster than the rest of the traffic. It’s a regular occurrence, and it’s very dangerous, because drivers can’t see you until you are right on top of them.

Motorcyclists getting somewhere faster than me doesn’t matter. What matters is people like me not wanting to have an accident because some dick on a bike thinks he’s on a racetrack.

what_the what_the 12:44 am 09 Jun 11

dks00k said :

what_the (Comment #21)

You Sir, are an arse.

It would appear that you are the perfect example of a motorcylcist that makes the rest of us look bad.
Rather than ranting on just answer me this….

You refer to the following link… http://www.nrma.com.au/keeping-safe-secure/motorcycle-safety.shtml
and claim that your lane splitting / filtering and use of the cycle (and no doubt emergency breakdown) lanes makes you a safer rider beacause you are eliminating the chance of a rear end collision.

It also states “Always assume other road users haven’t seen you. – never be where a vehicle driver won’t expect you to be”

How in the hell does riding down an emergency breakdown or cycle lane not put you in a place that another driver wont expect you to be?

You want to be safer on the road? Try this..

Obey the rules of the road
Make yourself as visible as possible. Surprisingly that also means putting yourself and you bike where others can see you. You know where most motorists look? Straight ahead.
Do an Advanced Rider Training Course or three.

It has worked for me and I have been riding and driving for almost 30 years.

Although what would I know? You have a vast number of years experience. What was it? Seven?

Opions are like @resholes mate, everyone’s got one. I guess on your basis, cyclist shouldn’t use the lanes either because motorists aren’t expecting them, they should only stay at the back of the ‘line’ at the lights too because apparently some driver will just pull into the bike lane while stationary in traffic. But hey, you’re the expert here apparently, I’ll continue to do this to avoid getting smacked up behind, you continue to do your thing. And I’m glad you know all about my driver/rider training history. You know what they say about assumptions.

balloonatic balloonatic 7:20 pm 08 Jun 11

what a great variety of opinions, topic like this sure brings out the strong personalities. I love the way our community actually has a good hard look at these types of situations, its the only way to improve it really. i have faith that canberrans will adjust to the changing environment on the roads, patence and common sense, thats all we need.

i would never recommend or suggest using push bike lanes for riding a motorcycle in. This is putting the cyclist in danger and the police will not take it lightly if you’re caught. The difference in speed is way to great. Lane filtering/lane splitting I don’t see the difference from a legal point of view, like when does it become lane splitting, when you’re going 20% faster then the traffic. But i’m glad that those who lane filter obviously see the ‘safe’ benefits to all when you filter in the right place at the right time.

May everyone find faith in their fellow driver, peace on the road to all 🙂

Mysteryman Mysteryman 11:33 am 02 Jun 11

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal. There are lanes clearly marked for motor vehicles – both cars and bikes. Apart from a few good ones, most motorcycle riders in Canberra are village idiots and love riding between these legally-designated lanes, especially at traffic lights that really piss off car drivers. It’s not jealously or the fact that they get ahead – it’s the simple fact that I have to wait for the “temporary Australian” to go before I can and the simple fact that they expect others to give way to them at other people’s expense (would we tolerate it if they pushed in line at either the bank or Woolies?) 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.

What a load of crap. I doubt you ever have to wait. Unless you’re driving a Ferrari, there’s no chance you’re keeping up with bikes when they take off from the lights. There is also a difference between lane splitting and filtering. Perhaps you should look it up.

Sleaz274 Sleaz274 10:38 am 02 Jun 11

Averagejoeaussie is a perfect example of the type of attitude that makes motorcyclists want to put as much buffer between them and other road users as possible. Even on my 250cc bike I’ll be out in front and on my way by 50-100m before you’ve even gotten into 2nd, and my bike is slow.

As many many motorcyclists keep saying it’s not about getting to the front or being first it’s about our personal safety because we aren’t surrounded by 1 tonne of metal and air bags. There is no crumple zone on a bike and the road is hard. We accept those risks (and that f***sticks like joeaverage exist) and use the small size, maneouverability and acceleration of the bike itself to mitigate those risks as much as possible.

Anecdotally I’ve found that more people actually make space for me or move out of the way a bit and for that I’m always happy and thankful. I try to nod at them on the way past, I’d wave but it’s usually a bit busy on the handlebars to do so.

Go to any other country I’ve ridden in (mostly south-east asia admittedly) and lane splitting/filtering is just a part of driving and no one gets stressed or carries on about it, just a couple of toots or flick of the lights and around you go.

As i said before if you really want to read 9,000,000,000 opinions and pages on this from riders then please go to canberrariders or netrider.

Innovation Innovation 10:26 am 02 Jun 11

KeenGolfer said :

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal.

Is it? Please advise the legislation that states splitting is illegal.

There is no law against filtering/splitting per se. However there are offences that can come into play such as fail to indicate, cross solid lines, overtake too close, not keep safe distance, overtake when unsafe, no overtake to the left, cut in front of vehicle after overtaking etc etc. Then there’s the more serious stuff like furious/reckless/dangerous/menacing driving which carries a possible penalty of imprisonment.

I’d like to know more about this. Also, there have been a couple of comments on this thread that imply that “filtering” is OK. Aren’t there any rules that explicitly prohibit this?

I had a quick look at the ARR and other rules that I can see are: no overtaking to the left of a vehicle (unless it is stationary and it’s safe) and …. the biggie … the driver/rider when overtaking must not RETURN to the marked lane or line of traffic where the vehicle is travelling until the driver/rider is a sufficient distance PAST the vehicle to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle. In other words, you must leave the lane to overtake a vehicle on the left even if it is stationary. I suppose it might be possible to pass a vehicle that is on the right but not many cars would leave enough room in their lane for that to happen.

Erg0 Erg0 9:30 am 02 Jun 11

what_the said :

I filter, and I will continue to do so. It’s one of the measures I use to lesson my chances of getting taken out on Canberra roads. As NRMA will tell you, 1 third of motorcycle accidents are from being hit from behind by another vehicle.

I’m curious – what percentage of “car vs car” accidents are rear enders?

Watson Watson 9:20 am 02 Jun 11

averagejoeaussie said :

Also unfortunately for you, lane splitting in Canberra is illegal. There are lanes clearly marked for motor vehicles – both cars and bikes. Apart from a few good ones, most motorcycle riders in Canberra are village idiots and love riding between these legally-designated lanes, especially at traffic lights that really piss off car drivers. It’s not jealously or the fact that they get ahead – it’s the simple fact that I have to wait for the “temporary Australian” to go before I can and the simple fact that they expect others to give way to them at other people’s expense (would we tolerate it if they pushed in line at either the bank or Woolies?) 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.

It’s good to see that some do see making a point is more important than concentrating on road safety. Life on Canberra roads would be so boring without the testosterone driven maniacs who cannot stand his modified metallic blue ute being overtaken by anyone.

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