May 26, 2007


Shanghai | BMW
Roaring down the flyover, I changed lanes and took up my favourite position, left half of top lane. Just before I reach the bottom, I'd passed everyone in the two lanes to my left and decided to take the right at the intersection looming some 400 metres ahead. I switch on my indicators (check), scan the mirrors (no one there, check) and pull smoothly into the left most lane just as I exit the flyover. Now, I have to negotiate one more two-lane change to get to the outer lane so that I can make my turn.

Problem. There is a motorcyclist, doing about thirty kph in the right most of the two lanes that are merging with the three that just came off the flyover. He isn't a problem because I need him to move or speed up. He has a problem because he is lost.

Habitually, many Mumbai motorcyclists beleive that their god-given riding place is about four inches to the left of the median, in top lane, with cars and trucks whizzing by at amazing velocities with inches to spare. As you can tell, I do not subscribe to this view. We are not indestructible.

So this poor motorcyclist, was essentially just riding in top lane, when suddenly, he is effectively vomited into the middle lane, with traffic merging at speed from both sides, in the usual melee that comes with traffic lights and everyone jockeying for position. From being four inches from the median, he has suddenly gone to the middle of effing nowhere. He is lost. Has this happened to you?

Oh the pic. It's a pretty famous bridge in Shanghai that BMW sent out with a press release about Urban Mobility. I can't find it now, so I can't post it... sorry about that. And apologies for the pic... it was just there to get your attention.


The BATFAN said...

So where do you find yourself, when you are merging into the exit of a flyover. If you are in the top lane before the merge you are going to end up sandwiched all the time. I still prefer being in the top lane if I know the merge of the fly over and it s visibility. I would however try to ensure I have a good distance from any following traffic so that I can make my move. Then seeing the traffic from the fly over I either speed up to occupy top lane or slow down taking the gaps in the oncoming traffic from the flyover.

Nyctophobia said...

lanes are always a pain when riding around mumbai. keep to the left and u will never know when the idiot in front of you will decide that this is where he / she wants to stop. keep to the right and... oh wait... the guy in front of you suddenly decides that the break in the divider is perfect for that right turn / u turn. and then there's the bit about the highway and the round-abouts...

happened to me first time at bandra reclimation "big junction" by the time i saw the lane to be maintained to go back to reclimation, i had passed the lane, too much traffic to cut lanes and then, the next thing i knew was that i was on my way to the highway!

and then at byculla bridge, i keep to the left to avoid the faster / bigger traffic and the next thing i know is that i'm on the lane that goes off the flyover and on my way to jacob circle / mahalakshmi!

this reply is kind of a toss up between this post and your lane changing posts i guess...

rearset said...

I tend to go with the flow and pick the safest/fastest lane I can find. However, when I exit a flyover, or enter a merging zone after the exit, I have a thumb covering the indicator, bike in the powerband but off the throttle... prepared to make a lane change