The past couple of weeks, the death of a lady biker in Penang on the way to Kuala Kangsar , hit and run at the North South Highway – made the headlines and shone a light on the perils that bikers face each day as they try to find a faster, cheaper, alternative way to get to their destinations, a southern biker bro riding a Yamaha moped LC135 leaving the Johor Baru custom, hit and run incident and he was in a coma for 2 days, and a young bike enthusiast died on the spot while heading to the tracks, it reminds us of the dangers – not to mention vexation – that already harassed motorists and commuters face each day from the horrible road traffic of the city, and why bikers should ensure they don’t compound the peril and anxiety of everyone.
Here, I want to share some key points on how a motorcyclist can survive the open roads in the city or suburban riding.
Roads will always remain hostile to motorcyclists not caring to small or big bikers.
We get bumped, sideswiped, rear-ended, run off the road, run over as we have only our skins and protection gears that we wear.
But there are ways of hitting the streets and skirting traffic jams without becoming roadkill. Here are some of them:
Always use safety gear
Use a helmet when riding. Make sure you wear get proper riding gear. For those who may not be immediately able to afford these pieces of original equipment, just do a search on Facebook and get some gears.
Meanwhile, besides a helmet and a pair of gloves at a minimum, and always ride with a shoe no matter how short the distance. Don’t ever ride with slippers. I know Malaysian weather tend to be humid but try to avoid wearing short pants too while riding especially a superbike.
Always ride defensively
Use the bike lane whenever available (sometimes its safer off the bikelanes). Stay on the left side of the road as much as possible. (for mopeds and scooters. Big bikes speed should be faster that the car in front of you. I normally will overtake cars in front of me, and i stay on the left side of the fast lane when ever possible.
Riding a bike may improve travel time to and from home and work but most important is have the essential riding skills that reduces the bikers riding error.
Always stay cool
It means being patient not only with yourself but with your fellow road users, whoever they might be — cars, vans, lorries and even other motorcyclist.
If you encounter anyone expressing any outward sign of hostility — a cabdriver with a heavy finger on the horn, a rich kid edging you off to the curb, a motorcycle driver aggressive for asphalt action — stop, pause for a deep breath, and wait until they go past you.
A road altercation is a waste of time and energy and is not worth anything, let alone your health — both physical and mental — or for that matter, your life.
Always look ahead
Look 10 seconds ahead if you can, look 5-6 cars in front of you, if you are going to overtake the car, glance at the driver if you can, the head position may indicate he or she is play with phone, digging the nose, or sometimes the driver is looking for something in the car and the car is weaving a little to your side, so if you are looking at the car in front of you 10 second ahead you will have 10 second to prepare for any change of direction to avoid the car.
In a few seconds, you’ll be overtaking them anyway.
After all, there’s always traffic at the next intersection.