Singapore is small, the traffic is fast and some of the roads are narrow. For these reasons, or some of them, a motorcycle can be a good way to get around. Quicker and way more flexible than a box on wheels. And think of the sun on your back, the wind whistling by, and the adrenaline rush…
When you are thinking of all that freedom on the road, you may not be thinking that riding a motorcycle sometimes requires the anticipation and reflexes of a Ninja. Motorcyclists are vulnerable – to cars suddenly changing direction, to lorries that cannot see them, to their own inexperience.
If you have a new motorcycle, or are thinking about riding a bike in Singapore, DirectAsia has practical advice to help you stay safe.
1. The Blind Spot
Problem “Yes, you’re actually invisible to most people. You can be riding right next to a car but the driver may not be able to see you unless he turns his head fully to the side. The blind spots for big lorries are even larger. Just watch this video from the British Transport for London and be frightened.” iantan.org
Solution Remember that drivers can’t always see or hear you. Stay behind or in front of a vehicle, don’t spend long times alongside a car or truck. Don’t get stuck between two large vehicles, and never attempt to squeeze between them.
2. Lower Capacity Bike + Inexperienced Rider = Potential Problems
Problem New motorcycle owners must ride lower capacity (200cc) bikes on our roads. New riders lack road experience and may take more risks than seasoned riders. Then there’s the fact that lower capacity bikes are also lower cost – basic brakes and thinner wheels.
“Put these two factors together, and you will get reckless riders who find themselves unable to stop in time, or unable to prevent a skid on wet roads, thus getting themselves into an accident.” iantan.org
Solution Know your limits, practice safety at all times. And be aware of what your bike can and cannot do. There’s not much point paying more for a Class 2B bike, as it won’t make a significant enough difference.
“If you can upgrade, get to a Honda Super 4 (400cc) that offers decent performance, braking ability and has a rather fat rear tire that provides much more traction on the asphalt.” iantan.org
3. Expressway Lane 1 – The Fast Lane
A nine-vehicle pile up, an eight-car accident. Two lorries, a tipper truck and a taxi pile up. Where does all this drama happen? Lane 1 – the Fast Lane. Why? Often because drivers are travelling too closely together at high speed. In these conditions, the margin for error is almost nil.
Solution Only use the Fast Lane when overtaking and don’t stay in that lane. Use mirrors to check for cars speeding up from behind. Avoid Lane 1 if cars are travelling very fast and too close together.
4. Skillful Riding Does Not = High Speed Riding
Problem The Porsche that drives too fast down a narrow suburban road. The BMW that takes a tight corner in the CBD at high speed. And motorbikes can fall into the same bad, highly dangerous habits.
Solution Get to know your bike, watch your speed and use high speed only when necessary to ensure your safety, or the safety of others.
“You need patience, you need verve, and you need to be 100% aware of road conditions at all times, and you need to have absolute control of your vehicle’s capabilities. And it helps to be polite.” iantan.org
More Safe Driving Advice
Lane-splitting Avoid lane splitting on roads with narrow lanes where cars are too near each other or start straddling lanes. And never squeeze between two large moving vehicles, no matter how fast you think you can go.
Giving way Give way to vehicles when they have signaled their intention and have right of way. Many accidents in Singapore occur because drivers will not yield to others.
Traffic lights Don’t speed up to beat a red light or move off before the light has turned green. You may lose a couple of seconds, you may also save a life.
Riding the bumper If you are riding too close to a car and it breaks suddenly, it will be you not the car that pays the price. You do not want to know what it is like to hit the road (literally).
Your brain is certainly worth more than the price of a good helmet. Good advice here.
Like all good friends, your motorbike needs love in return. Motorcycle maintenance advice here.
Motorcycles in Singapore. 6 good things to know here.
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