You can't change the world, you can only change yourself. Yes, like you, I've heard that whole school of rot, er... thought.However, back in school, the one thing the teachers were perpetually on our cases about was to find solutions. They nearly always cried in comical unison, 'We'll show you a billion people [no doubt, referring to our population] who know all the problems. We need the 23 of you to be the solution finders.'
So much for that, eh? I chucked all of that and landed happily in the middle of this rather mental party, and it's been rocking. But as is usual, I digress. But hang on, I've been doing some research.
The other day, I rode the CBZ X-Treme back to my house from the office. I have a new commute route now, that includes a couple of rather frightening traffic snarls. Riding with beautiful efficiency (even if I do say so myself), a decent to good speed, I reached home in forty minutes. Which I thought was a classy, unbeatable time for a fast, safe commute.
When I told The Wife about the awesome commute, she first smiled indulgently. Then, she totally smashed my euphoria. 'Forty minutes!' she said, 'What's so great about that, it only takes us forty-five minutes when we ride down together.' It dawned on me, then, that she was absolutely correct (as usual). When she's with me, my riding style changes, I double all safety precautions, I will not take half the overtaking opportunities I can spot because we are riding two up and so forth [limitations on the dynamic ability on the bike with greater rearward bias etc]. If I analyse the riding style two up, it probably should take twice as long to get there.
But all of that precaution, which adds a massive measure of safety, tots up to an added five minutes. Which, no matter how busy you are, is a small slice of time. So here's my solution. Do these five things on your next commute. Trust me, they will halve your exposure to traffic hazards and add no more than five minutes to your commute.
- Drive in one lane. Change lanes when needed, but not within 200 metres of an intersection/toll booth
- No honking, flash lights if you must. Honk only if you think the car ahead cannot see you. And honk only to let him know you're there.
- Ride so that you can see the wheels of the car ahead of you at the very minimum. Do not ride so close to the vehicle ahead that you cannot see over/around/through/under it.
- If someone wants your lane so badly he's willing to cut you off, let him have it
- Smile at people in other cars, on bikes. Wave thank yous to people who help you out. Yes, even you (like me) full-face lid wearers. It helps. People, somehow, read your body language and even if your face is obscured, they can usually tell the difference between the WTF-stare and a thank-you-smile.