Wednesday, December 28, 2011
5 Pet Peeve bad driving habits
Geoff James a fellow motoblogger asked us to post our 5 pet peeve bad driving habits. His blog: Confessions of an Ageing Motorcyclist; http://geoffjames.blogspot.com Geoff is in the process of going for his IAM certification, which means he goes on observed rides and is graded on his moto performance capabilities and skills. When he has completed this he will be the one observing & critiquing aspiring riders.
I modified his challenge a little because it was geared to car drivers and I happen to think there are a lot of bad motorcyclists and scooterists out there too who drive poorly. So I will start with 5 bad car driver habits that make me particularly crazy when I am out on the road. I primarily ride in city traffic and haven't ridden my motorcycle in a lot of highway traffic, so most of my peeves are geared to in-city.
1) Driver Distraction - This has to be the #1 thing I notice when riding my motorcycle. My biggest and most scary pet peeve is when I see people talking on their cell phones or texting while driving. I have had drivers swerve into my lane because they just had to take the phone call. I do let them know that I find this unacceptable and dangerous. In the Province of British Columbia it is illegal to use handheld devices while driving.
2) Driver's not paying attention at lights, particularly when making turns or when they run lights. I always give myself a few seconds before advancing into an intersection because you just never know who is going to blow through and take you out because they are in a hurry or distracted by something in their car.
3) Driver's not shoulder checking before making lane changes. It is amazing what or who might be in a cars blind spot. This is a basic driving skill and it is amazing how many people lose this skill when driving. It is either just plain lazy or plain stupid on their part. It only takes a second to shoulder check.
4) Driver's not giving motorcyclists or scooterists space when stopped at a light or stop sign. Do you really have to get that close to the back end of my bike? I always keep a good space margin in front of me just incase I need an exit strategy because some doofus behind me gets rear-ended and pushed forward into me. I am constantly scanning all areas around me for hazards and planning an escape route. You need more than just plan A, you need plan A, B, & C when you are out in traffic.
5) Driver's who have forgotten the basic rules of the road, i.e. right of way at stop signs and what different road markings mean. To every Victoria driver car, motorcycle, scooter, the solid white line on a roadway means that you can not lane change there. Please for the love of Pete learn your road markings.
Motorcycles and Scooters
1) Rider's who do not practice ATGATT. I do not understand a rider's philosophy of not wearing gear when riding a motorcycle or a scooter. This is particularly prevalent in scooterists, I get that they are the "urban" commuter and scooters were designed with the purpose of wearing street clothes, et cetera, but street clothes are not designed to protect you and keep your bones together. When scooters first came out in the 50's there weren't the traffic volume issues and high speeds that we have today. It does not take much to lose the surface of your skin when you are sliding down pavement in your civvies. Same goes for folks who choose to ride without gear on their motorcycles. Luckily in BC helmets are mandatory.
So my question to you is if you don't wear gear, "Do you know how much it hurts to hit pavement? Have you seen what happens to your skin when it gets burned off by road rash? Do you know how important armor is in protecting your hips, knees, back, shoulders and elbows? Usually when you smack the pavement chances are one of the above is going to take the impact first. What about good motorcycle gloves and boots how they protect your hands & feet?" I have made the choice to ride ATGATT, even in hot summer temperatures, I would rather sweat than bleed.
2) Motorcyclists and scooterists that don't take a motorcycle safety course. These courses are valuable in giving you the techniques to save your life and know how to drive correctly and safely. If you have been riding for a long time and haven't taken a course, most schools offer experienced rider courses which solidify what you are doing right and correct what you are doing wrong. These courses build on your current skills and expand your skill set and knowledge base. IMHO our roads are dangerous enough and you are making constant split second decisions that could have life long ramifications, at least with a good solid skills you will be able to make those decisions in any given road situation.
3) Motorcyclists who drive recklessly, speed and tailgate. YOU GIVE THE REST OF US WHO PRACTICE GOOD DRIVING SKILLS A BAD NAME.
4) Motorcyclists/scooterists who do not make their intentions clear. You have to be clear of what you are doing when you are around cars. Turn your signal off after completing a turn, don't leave it going for a block, it confuses all drivers. Cars are bigger, meaner and less forgiving, usually you don't come out of a collision well.
5A) Lane position. This drives me nuts when someone is not in the correct lane position. This is all basic stuff which is right in the manual. Why would you not ride in the best lane position? It is important in traffic so no one is confused and everyone SEEs you. Riders need to take the theory of 'Ride like you are invisible to heart' and part of this theory is about lane positioning.
5 B) Motorcyclists/Scooterists who do not shoulder check. This is one of the biggest things they drill into a novice rider, when you stop you shoulder check, before you move you shoulder check, before you turn you shoulder check. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK AND CHECK!!!! This one single act does save lives, you never know who is going to be in your blindspot or if you are in theirs.
(So I cheated a little on the number of peeves.)