Nov 6, 2006

Commuting Lesson #2.2: Queries

Sorry about this whole bunch of cross-posted stuff, but these queries needed to be answered... and I thought they contained questions that new riders might want to read about...

  • If you remember long bike back you said in every accident you either do or you don't do something due to which a crash happens. Well, when I crashed on the highway I ran the over the scene again and again to find out what I'd done to have caused it. Another rider cut lanes and came right in my way. I realised that I was riding along [parallel to] him... Big mistake – he couldn't see me and hence the crash happened...

  • In the post Commuting Lesson # 2.2 Positioning (View) you wrote a point on corners that I didnt get. Do you mean to say that if I am on the left of a car I must not try to go around it and over take it from the right?

    No. The point was not to open the throttle until you could confirm that your path was clear. So, If you were riding exactly behind, say, the left tail lamp of the car and decided to overtake it from the right side, I suggest you don't open the throttle until you have established that the path you intend to take is free of slow moving vehicles, obstructions etc.

  • And the next point on pillars now seriously when you are riding how do you know if you're coming in the pillar space of the car behind you?

    By observing when you're in the car, that's how. Do it often enough and you will get a feel for it. It sounds impossible, but it does work. Next time you sit in a car, see what part of the view is blocked. And the next time you check your mirrors, cross-reference that data. Et voila!

  • Do you think keep your head lamp on even during the day is a better idea? Also is the point relevant in cities and traffic?

    Yes, I happen to think they really help. However, Indian road rules don't allow it. So usually, a cop will ask you to switch them off. However, I've had considerable success with running pilot lamps all the time. I always run low-beam on highways though.

  • If I am in lane two of a highway and there is a car on lane three and I am going to overtake it do I need to honk or give signals to the driver on lane three?

    Think of it this way. You need to be seen. That means other road users need to understand what your position is and what you intend to do. All the time. That means riding where they can see you, wearing stuff they cannot miss and yes, when push comes to shove, honking and indicating to people who have no apparent interest in the maneuver you intend to execute.

  • Often I am faced with the problem where is this idiot talking on the phone is nicely walking across the road or a bunch of stupid females running across and giggle. Now when they come too close to comfort and say you are at 30-40-50 its almost impossible to stop right? So there are three options that I can think of
  1. You move right or left but It's difficult to judge which side they will go plus on highways I am afraid to do this as there could be car behind which could kill you.

  2. Brake hard and try to stop but since you're braking and already trying to control your bike when you hit them you are sure to fall and get injured...
  3. Don't brake only roll the acclerator closed so you're in full control as you hit them... (sorry, but if people are dumb enough to put their and my lives on risk for a bloody phone call then I'd rather save mine)

    These hypothetical questions can never be answered straight, but let me attempt a reasonable answer. First, If you cannot stop in time, you're going too fast. Second, switching on the headlight at this point usually freezes them in place so you can figure out how to get around them. Third, if you're thinking there could be a car, you're not watching you mirrors enough. You should know. Third, if you cannot do anything else, don't hit them. Crash alone. It always hurts less. And you're less likely to get thrashed half to death by the inevitable crowd that will gather. Fourth, hitting them is never, ever an option.

  • Lastly when is the right time as in after how many months of riding can one start experimenting with his bike I mean learning stunts like wheelies and stoppies etc. Not stupid enough to do these on the highways or main roads but when your on that empty lane in ur colony where nothing ever moves its tempting to try things other riders can so what say on that?

    That's your own boat, dude. Float it when you think you are ready. Stunting hurts. That much has been established beyond doubt. And not just the rider. It will damage your motorcycle too. Beyond that, feel free. If you are on a suitably deserted road, so much the better. Have a friend along when you try though. To clap, or to call the doctor.

  • You can now email me. Send queries, photos, anecdotes or hate mail to rearsetblog[at]gmail[dot]com

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