We motorcyclists always complain about car drivers.
But car drivers always complain about bikers too.
Let’s be fair to ourselves and everyone we share the roads with.
If you’ve ever commuted during the rush hour, you’d encounter all sorts of Malaysian driving and riding behaviour. Well, thing is, motorcyclists blame car drivers and drivers blame motorcyclists. It seems that Malaysian road-users don’t take responsibility and accountability of their actions, resulting in this mess we call “Malaysian traffic.”
Yes, yes, I agree, there are drivers who shouldn’t even get out of their houses, much less drive, but when I drive do I see why car drivers always blame motorcyclists for every tit-and-tat.
Take for example at the famous Pandan Roundabout. I see bikes shooting past red lights everyday – one almost got run over by a 4X4 last night, but similarly, my wife and I were almost t-boned by an Exora last week.
Let’s be fair to ourselves and society.
1. Not stopping
Number One on the list is definitely no other than this. Red means stop. Full-stop. Period. End of story, end of argument. It doesn’t matter if the roads are empty like a zombie apocalypse.
Red light: STOP.
On the other hand, a traffic light that has just turned green doesn’t make it necessary to go right away. No, it’s not a racetrack. A green light signifies that it’s go when it’s safe to do so. One should look out for another vehicle that ran the light on the other side, before moving.
And hey, car drivers, stay off your freaking horn. Green means go only when it’s safe. Jeez!
2. Riding in Large Groups
Yes, I do enjoy group riding but please, leave some room for other traffic too, unless the ride is marshalled by the traffic police. It’s just best to ride with a lead marshal, one or two runners and the last man (sweeper), while leaving the group to ride in a loose formation.
3. Pipes too loud
The “loud pipes save lives” concept is still a much-debated subject, but I’ve noticed how a slightly louder than stock exhaust is enough to announce your bike’s presence to other road users. But problem is pipes that are so loud they’ll wake the dead. What does it prove? Loud equals fast? Loud equals fun?
Sheesh. An exhaust that’s too loud will only annoy the public. There’s this group of idiots who like to blast up and down the main road in our taman, scaring old folks and babies. In Indonesia, the kampung folks will throw rocks at these guys.
4. Jumping queue
Oh, this happens all the time.
We’re a lucky bunch that traffic filtering is allowed. But we have to do it intelligently. How many times have we seen motorcyclists who’d just cut in front of car to go into the other lane without signaling or giving adequate time to the car drivers? But when a car driver does this exact same thing, these same motorcyclists get upset. Ironic.
5. Headlights too high
The motorcycle’s headlights are pre-adjusted in the factory for the majority of riders. But if you’re a heavier rider or carry a passenger and luggage, you’d best remember to adjust the headlights.
If you notice road signs are brighter instead of the road in front of you, that’s a sure indication of the need to adjust it. Adjustment is simple as the headlight adjuster is easily accessible to most bikes.
Do we really need to tailgate cars to intimidate them out of the way? Most drivers don’t understand our bikes’ performance and think they’re already faster than everyone else on the road. Tailgating them may annoy them enough to “brake test” you.
It’s easier to just more productive to overtake them quickly on their left and leave them behind. It’s not the correct thing to do but let’s not waste our energy and time.
7. Scaring car occupants
As with tailgating, let’s just pass other cars even if they hog the lanes. Passing closely on purpose or giving them an Akrapovic- or SC Project-salute (blasting of the throttle to scare them) isn’t necessary. If a car driver pissed you off, honk, overtake to the front, and just roll your head. I would dare to bet my last Ringgit with you that 99.999999% of all drivers have no idea of what wrong they did, so it’s a waste of time.
8. Riding too slow
There’s definitely nothing wrong if you ride slow, but take the left lane and stay there, allowing traffic to pass on the right. It’s common to see a slow bike occupying the overtaking lane, holding up all the traffic. It’s as unsafe as much as it’s damn annoying.
9. Riding too fast
The safest way to filter through traffic in between two slow-moving lanes is to ride no more than 30 km/h faster. That means there’s enough room for emergency avoidance and braking, while the bike is still maneuverable since it’s moving.
But when we blast past traffic at much higher speeds, the safety margin becomes slimmer and slimmer. Many car drivers have complained aobut bikers not giving a damn and continuing to blast past, despite having signaled much earlier. Why? Because the bikes were travelling way too fast. Of course, there are braindead drivers who signal and turn in right away without checking what’s behind, but that’s a different story.
10. Pulling stunts
This is totally unacceptable and unforgivable. Pulling stunts in traffic or in public is the surest way of being branded as hooligans. And humans have this propensity to brand everyone as being the same just because of a small number of miscreants.
Stop it! Pull stunts in private spaces or on the track.