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.