At RideTo we’re used to riding on motorcycles through the hectic London traffic. It’s definitely an art that needs time to perfect but don’t let it put you off! It can be an intimidating thought and can sound stressful but if you follow some simple steps. You’ll find it can fun and safe. There’s no better way to get around in a town or city than by motorcycle. It’s agile and practical and beats getting public transport! Take a minute to read some top tips we’ve picked up for riding in a busy city.
Pick your lane wisely:
When it’s busy and congested, it can be tempting to find yourself riding into the gutter to go inside cars. This is a bad habit that needs to be avoided. In most major cities in the UK, cycling is becoming increasingly popular as a form of commuting. Unfortunately, cyclists suffer from similar problems that motorcyclists do. People often don’t pay attention to them or just forget they even exist. When you’re riding in a city if you try to cut inside cars to save time. You’ll likely end up in a cycling lane being shouted at for your ignorance.
Being close to the pavement and parked cars also offer up other opportunities for people to ruin your day. It’s unbelievable the number of times I’ve seen pedestrians staring down at their phone. They walk out into the road without checking for bikes. If you’re in the gutter people will most likely not think to check for you. This is true also for parked cars. People swinging their doors open without checking is common. Cars pulling out without warning happens frequently. In summary, if you ride inside cars or in the gutter, you’re inviting potential dangers, so stay away!
Keep your distance:
Generally speaking, patience runs pretty thin in large cities. People are commuting to and from work through heavy traffic. Everyone wants to get home as quickly as possible. Frequently willing to take risks in their 4x4s to get there. The rule of thumb I use is to assume if it looks like there is a chance someone can do something stupid or reckless… They probably will. One of the most common excuses for motorcycle accidents is for drivers to say “I didn’t see them”. Sometimes you’ll be fooled into thinking you’re completely invisible. Even when you’ve made it perfectly clear you’re there. Drivers will still swerve across lanes and cut you off.
Don’t be hasty
Getting close to the car in front doesn’t get you where you want to go any quicker. Leave a lot of space for their errors. Watch their front tyres to see if they’re turning. Give drivers no option but to see you. This goes for oncoming traffic too. If you’re hidden behind the car in front, inpatient drivers might turn across you. Without giving time to check if there’s something behind the car. When you’re riding, get the oncoming driver’s attention. This doesn’t mean you have to hold up a banner or wave at them. It just means try to catch their eye. You can weave slightly to show them your headlights and remind them you’re there.
This is true for filtering too. It is a common and obvious issue for a lot of people who ride in the city. There is little room to move. If something does happen you will most likely not be able to swerve out the way. With this in mind. Only filter when appropriate, don’t push it. Make sure you have space to move and that you aren’t likely to get cut off.
Always have an escape plan:
So from the points above. You can see that you should expect and be prepared for things to go wrong. One way to be prepared is to always have an escape plan. If a car does something unexpected or a pedestrian strolls out without looking. Have you got options to move out the way? This can also be a problem when filtering in cities. There are far more distracted drivers and pedestrians trying to dart across stationary traffic. Always be thinking about where you can go if a danger comes from a certain area. Remember the escape routes will change. So keep expecting the worst and most idiotic thing to happen, then you can’t be surprised.
Keep calm and have fun:
The final piece of advice we will give you at rideto.co is… Don’t forget the golden rule: Relax and have fun! Take pleasure in the fact you have fresh air around you and the best view of the city’s sites. You’re going to get where you want to go quicker so there’s no need to get stressed or annoyed. Remember to stay calm, getting angry or frustrated doesn’t achieve anything and mistakes happen. The key is to be aware of potential hazards. Never be in a situation that you don’t have an answer for. Riding in a city might seem intimidating but it’s undoubtedly the best way to get around. Just be cautious and prepared and enjoy!
Written by Matt Daysh – RideTo
RideTo are an innovative website that helps connect motorcycle training schools with online customers to make the process of booking motorcycle training easier and more accessible to new riders in London and Matt Daysh (the author) is part of their Marketing Team.