Road Ethics: How to ride your bike on roads? Part I
I have been writing about some bits here and there on the subject for road safety and road ethics. I have argued with many and some of these are obvious and basic but still do not get followed. Forget about getting a best4 quality jacket and helmet, a bare bones basic ones are rarely found. Road ethics are a matter of life and death.
Here I will be talking about road manners and abiding by the law as Road Ethics and many points are true for car drivers as well. Well, this is a long, long post. Sit back, read, enjoy and be responsible for yourself! Do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel!
1. Road Ethics: Indicators are given to be used, but not always!
Your bike and car have turn indicators. They are to be used when you want to make a turn. But it is not limited to turns only – and that is a fact easily forgotten by many. You should and must always use indicators when you are changing lanes as well.
I once told a guy “Uncle, Hero Honda has given you indicators, and your god has given you a brain – use them” when I found him making a sharp right from left without even using his mirrors, causing me to break and skid.
1.1 Get an indicator tweeterEnsure bike’s indicators and tweeters are working – picture from Pexels
Being on the bike means that you are having a lot more noise distractions than being in a car for example, and hence you cannot get a similar solution. And not many of us have a habit to keep checking the Odo dash on our bikes. Getting a tweeter on turn indicators tells you that they are switched ON!
I have seen many people who forgot to switch off their turn indicator and continue riding – causing issues for riders and drivers behind them. People riding/driving behind them do not know if they are going to change the direction. Since many forget to switch of turn indicators, others are used to ignore them and that is deadly! Absolute lack of riding ethics.
I hear a lot of you saying – “it will ruin the looks of my bike!”. I mean, really? What does indicator tweeter have to do with looks? And it is more important than your own safety? I was dissuaded by Royal Enfield show room, and the service center. They recommended against me getting a tweeter installed – “Sir, kitna aajeeb lagega?” (Sir, it will look very odd). I still got one installed on my RE Himalayan. Show rooms should encourage such initiatives, rather than discourage people.
1.2 Ensure they are working!
Should have been point 1 really – what use is an indicator with tweeter without a working one at first place? Many do not realize that their bike indicators are not working and this is a common place. So really, what can one do?
When I leave for work everyday, I check my break lights and indicators. I put them on, check if they are working. Now call me a fanatic, but I do not expect you to do that. At least, once a week? Yes, did you say? Then do it!
1.3 Parking Lights or Hazard Lights
Oh yeah, I never understood this phenomenon. Why put parking or hazard lights on when your vehicle is not parked or when you a dangerous situation and have stopped the car? What am I to make of a Hazard lights? Stop or move slowly? This is applicable for both cars and bikes (a few have it these days, like my Yeti).
People think that they are doing everyone else a favor by using Hazard lights when in a tunnel or a heavy downpour. Or if they are leading or trailing a biker group. But they are not. They are creating a confusion.
What intrigues me further, is people assumed there is no hazard because of wide spread use of them in tunnels or during a downpour.
I read this article on overdrive and it made me think a lot. Hazard lights when used without need have caused accidents! What intrigues me further, is people assumed there is no hazard and caused accidents because of wide spread use of them in tunnels or during a downpour. Idiots, you have headlights on your bike and car – switch them on if you feel the tunnels are dark (obviously, what were you thinking)?
Our government can do their part as well. An example set by Florida Highway Patrol, Orlando users twitter to connect with people and teach them about road ethics. They also let them know that it is an offense!
Hazard lights are designed to let other drivers know your car is NOT working. Please only use hazard lights in a stationary position.
— FHP Orlando (@FhpOrlando) June 6, 2016
2. Follow the traffic signalA typical road junction with zebra crossing and white traffic control lines – picture from Pexels
2.1 Traffic Lights
This is one of those points where you will say – of course. But alas, I have seen so many, so many that have not followed it. To say the least, even reputed and respected biker group members have not (including THT, my Himalayan group) followed many a times, and I yak at them to abide by the signals.
Red – means stop!
Yellow – you should shop pushing the pedal now and break!
Green – okay, you were so eager to go so get the f*** outta here.
Okay, the explicits are not proportional to the idiots on the road and this is much milder version than what I am capable off… 😀
2.2 Stop before the white line or crossing lines (Zebra crossing)
One of the most common thing that I have seen is people stopping on or beyond the white lines. In some cases, you have Zerbra crossing lines after the white line, and motorists do not hesitate to stop on them while waiting for a stop signal go green.Do not stop on Zebra lines or white lines on the traffic signals… Picture from Pexels
White lines is an indication that you must not go beyond this line to stop your vehicle. Zebra crossing (called so because of the black tarmac and white cross lines), are for people to use them when one wants to cross the road. A zebra crossing denotes that you must slow down for people to cross across the road – a fact that most of Indians know but willfully ignore. I personally had not followed it till I realized that I am blocking off access to pedestrians.
2.3 Pedestrian Crossing
Pedestrian crossing is a big issue – both by the pedestrians themselves and that of motorists. A combination of lack of knowledge and carelessness, resulting in accidents of pedestrians and motorists alike.
3. Lane change and follow the right lane
Lane discipline is pretty lame in India, so is a acute lack of road ethics. You will find an auto rickshaw gunning down the right most lane, at 60 kmph and a Fortuner on the left most lane at 120 kmph. Right there, you pictured it pretty much.Lane changing on all roads should be done after giving out an indication – picture from Pexels
It is one thing to follow, but another altogether to know what to follow. Lane discipline is a subject Indians hardly know about. There is no education about why lanes exist.
3.1 Riding / driving in the dead center of the lanes!
This is idiotic. People have a habit of riding in between lanes – thus blocking off both the lanes. Problem is more grave, when someone wants to move ahead and overtake but they just refuse to move!
3.2 Lane changes
There is absolute lack of any indication that a bike or a car in front of me is going to move lanes.