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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So has anyone else gone through these thoughts?

I've been on my CBR300R for 8 months now (first bike) and a shitty little 50cc scooter for 6 months before that, and I am starting to find myself doubting that bikes are for me. I love them, dont get me wrong, but find that road users here in Auckland, New Zealand are complete morons. I do about 40km total a day on the motorway, most of which is around 40-50km/h splitting traffic but the last few months the amount of complete idiots on the road is making me nervous. Just today I had 2 very close calls from idiots on the phone nearly taking me out so I keep finding myself thinking I should just stop biking and go back to public transport. I really dont want to as that cost me 4x as much per month and meant I spent 15hrs a week commuting versus 5hrs on the bike, but safety first and all that, plus with 2x kids.

Anyway, am I just being paranoid and need to drink a glass of concrete and harden the heck or? How do you guys keep safe and deal with the idiots on the road? I dont speed or take risks, lots of high vis gear and always ATGATT, but just feeling, nervous.
 

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I'm just lucky I live at the other (quiet) end of the country from you, however last week I was heading out of Auckland on a bus and got to witness the madness on the motorway first hand.
There was a lot of dumb sh1t going on by the cagers for sure but also a lot of agressive lane splitting going on by the motor cyclists. There's no way I would ride like that in tight traffic but maybe if I did it every day I would get more confident and aggressive. One of the riders actually flicked our driver the birdy as he rode past for no obvious reason.

Personally its not an environment I would ever care to ride in, but whether its sustainable for you is something only you can decide.
Keep safe out there mate.
 

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Should I surmise that "Splitting traffic" is lane splitting/filtering?

If so, you're engaged in a very dangerous practice right there. Don't do it, and you'll feel a lot safer.

Second, is a motorway like a high speed/multi lane roadway? What we call a highway here in North America?

I don't ride on them, period, for the reasons you state. Most of my riding is done on country roads or city streets. If it's high speed I make sure the traffic is sparse. If the traffic is heavy, I make sure it's slow.

High speed, heavy traffic just isn't where the enjoyment lies.
 

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I too live in a rural community on Canada's East Coast..but even here there are idiots here driving cars too. A few years ago I had a Yamaha FZ6R (XJ6 Diversion in U.K.) for about a 2 week period it seemed to me that I had a big Bull's Eye on my back. People in cars seemed to cut me off every where I went and it was really nerve racking as you well know.

So for a while I gave up riding...but that was not the main reason.....why I left the Sport.

So all I can say is...do what ever is best for you and your family..try to ride as defensive as you can and keep aware of your surroundings that is really all you can do.

Myself I want to get back into riding motorcycles soon and I can hardly wait to relive that feeling... Be careful my friend keep you and your family safe.
 

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In 10 years we may not even be having this conversation because cars will operate themselves in urban/suburban areas... Ok, maybe 10 years is a little too optimistic.

I don't think anyone would blame you it you left. I'm sure we have all considered it at one point or another if not for just a moment when we have had close calls, or been a part of other scary situations.

I think it's best that everyone know their limits. If those limits include hanging it up, then so be it.
 

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I suppose I can see your point... I have the wife and kids as well. Obviously, people around me don't really praise me for riding a motorcycle, however I feel that it defines my personality and freedom. I'm still a new rider, but I don't see my thinking changing anytime soon.

I witness way too many people enclosed in their cars in my side of the world, and I personally want to be different, and not trapped in a "moving and enclosed box". That's just the way I look at it. I want to breathe freely and riding helps me do that. And for that reason, I don't want to call it quits anytime soon.

More importantly, I think riding isn't as unsafe as people make it to be. The key is for the rider to be alert, aware, and extra cautious of everything around them. And I actually enjoy the extra demand and importance it places on the rider to do everything in their power to keep active and safe. You can't control other people and their bad driving habits or mistakes, but that's why it's always important to be a step or two ahead of the error waiting to happen.

This is just the perspective from my mind and from my side of the world, I suppose, so take with a grain of salt.
 

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I ride in Bangkok..the city with the most road deaths per capita in the world possibly...people don't stop at red lights, nobody obeys signs.

Just ride with caution bro
Derek I think this is becoming a world wide epidemic! Drivers here are blind to red lights, only today did three cars overtake me when I stopped for a red light on a roundabout.
Dumb ass mofo's! That and a long list of other things they should not do on an everyday basis. All because when you need a police officer there are non to be seen.
Ride safe
 

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So has anyone else gone through these thoughts?

I've been on my CBR300R for 8 months now (first bike) and a shitty little 50cc scooter for 6 months before that, and I am starting to find myself doubting that bikes are for me. I love them, dont get me wrong, but find that road users here in Auckland, New Zealand are complete morons. I do about 40km total a day on the motorway, most of which is around 40-50km/h splitting traffic but the last few months the amount of complete idiots on the road is making me nervous. Just today I had 2 very close calls from idiots on the phone nearly taking me out so I keep finding myself thinking I should just stop biking and go back to public transport. I really dont want to as that cost me 4x as much per month and meant I spent 15hrs a week commuting versus 5hrs on the bike, but safety first and all that, plus with 2x kids.

Anyway, am I just being paranoid and need to drink a glass of concrete and harden the heck or? How do you guys keep safe and deal with the idiots on the road? I dont speed or take risks, lots of high vis gear and always ATGATT, but just feeling, nervous.

Yeap! I have days like this. And yes I despair, as when you point out their dangerous driving you just get a load of abuse. This is normally to hide their guilt. They know full well they are driving like a complete knobend but can't take the criticism. You would get the same reaction if you doubted their performance in bed.
I have been riding for a long, long time and refuse to give up because some **** decides to drive like a Knob.
I use many techniques that I have learned over the years to avoid the clown in the car I have also fitted a camera to my helmet and record the tossers with a view to sending it to the police for them to prosecute.
if they can't be there to stop them they we should unite and do the polices job for them.
Someone needs to stop these idiots why should we give in just because the majority are doing it wrong.
Keep on riding, stay safe.:)
 

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My advice would be to get yourself enrolled on an advanced rider's course. Choose one aimed at making you a better rider on the road, not a speed-oriented course. Among other things, they will teach you how to maintain space around you and look as far ahead as the road allows. They will teach you to use lines through corners that provide the best view ahead. They will teach you to automatically assign an 'escape option' in dodgy conditions. They will teach you to make yourself as visible as possible - and lots of other important tricks. The single most important though is to properly observe everthing going on in 'your space' or more importantly, the space you are soon to enter!

None of this guarantees your safety of course - nothing will. You should feel more confident however, which itself helps to keep you safer because being tense and worried preoccupies your mind and hurts your concentration. Your new skills will significantly reduce the risks - trust me - and I 100% guarantee you will enjoy riding more than you did before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thx guys. Yeah think i just needed to step back and take a chill pill really.

To answer some of the question, yes all my commuting is motorway/freeway/highway but its pretty much gridlocked when I go so the only option is spliting/filtering which is legal here. AS traffic is either stationary or just moving, I will never go above 40km/h when splitting, and less if it stops and once I start going above 40km/h I'll find a gap and blend in. I see some bikers each morning splitting stationary traffic at 80 plus which is just lunacy! I also cant go on surface roads for my route as its just a single motorway the direction I want.

I'm going to get myself on a more advanced course for sure, just to help out.

I feel I'm a pretty cautious rider at the moment as well, never split when it looks or I feel unsafe, always keep my line of sight as far as I can while keeping my immediate area. Also drive with an "out" in mind and if I suddenly find myself without I move to somewhere I can.

Thanks though guys, I do want to keep riding, just needed to vent I think.
 

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I feel I'm a pretty cautious rider at the moment as well, never split when it looks or I feel unsafe, always keep my line of sight as far as I can while keeping my immediate area.
This approach will hold you in good stead, try not to lose that as you gain confidence. I didn't realise lane splitting was legal here, as I know in some Australian States it isn't. Good to hear your not one of the guys doing it at 80km/h!
All the best with your daily commute.
 

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Thx guys. Yeah think i just needed to step back and take a chill pill really.

To answer some of the question, yes all my commuting is motorway/freeway/highway but its pretty much gridlocked when I go so the only option is spliting/filtering which is legal here. AS traffic is either stationary or just moving, I will never go above 40km/h when splitting, and less if it stops and once I start going above 40km/h I'll find a gap and blend in. I see some bikers each morning splitting stationary traffic at 80 plus which is just lunacy! I also cant go on surface roads for my route as its just a single motorway the direction I want.

I'm going to get myself on a more advanced course for sure, just to help out.

I feel I'm a pretty cautious rider at the moment as well, never split when it looks or I feel unsafe, always keep my line of sight as far as I can while keeping my immediate area. Also drive with an "out" in mind and if I suddenly find myself without I move to somewhere I can.

Thanks though guys, I do want to keep riding, just needed to vent I think.
Sometime's one has to just step away and give the mind some time to breathe, and I do that all the time. Even if you need to take the public transport to allow a chance to gather your thoughts, I'd do that. Everyone has their comfort set at certain level, neither correct or incorrect.

Take your time, and allow your mind to think through everything... Just don't call it quits.

Let us know if you need additional guidance and feedback... We have a great group of members on board to support you.
 

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Some people have a little voice in their head that tells them when they are getting into something risky and others don't seem to have that little voice. Still others seek out danger to a degree. You find all 3 types riding motorcycles. The good news is as you ride longer and your skill and comfort levels increase, you have fewer of those anxious moments and can read what is happening around you much better...not 100%, but much better. With new riders it often seems like everyone is out to get them. I remember that feeling well...people pulling out in front of you, following too closely, crowding over into your lane, going around you, then slamming on their brakes, etc. One thing that happens when you feel comfortable riding a little faster is you can avoid a lot of that by getting around it. I would love to lane split, but I don't think I would do that fast or aggressively. The CB300s are probably great lane-splitting bikes since they have a low first gear for creeping along and don't get as hot as the bigger bikes. They're agile too.
 

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[long response for novice.. few hints and observations..
just scroll on bye if experienced :)

for anyone with half a brain and riding first motorcycle for 8 months
it becomes obvious that many drivers are moving hazards,
and that due to distraction [texting etc] sharing the road with them
is potentially dangerous..

having reached that realisation tho, you have passed one safety hurdle
that many often never breach,, such as those you mention filtering
or lane splitting at high speeds.. give yourself credit here..

just as for riding in the rain or in poor visibility etc, you must observe
and be aware of your relative position within your road space
given that others will stop, change direction, jump into gaps, etc
thus you must ride as if they are all,, incompetent, distracted,
drunk, drugged out, texting, checking emails, eating/drinking/
masturbating or applying makeup,, all examples of driver
behaviours and distractions from the road, and us..

filtering [stopped cars or very slow] is actually quite safe generally,
given that they are trapped in their boxes within car spaces thus
generally unable to get at us anyway..
i have always filtered, which is now legal in my state NSW [aust]
and which i consider a safe relatively safe method of handling traffic
for motorcyclists confident of their ability to ride slowly and accurately
and be aware of the few potential dangers involved..

with experience you do as in other movements thru spaces
learn to accurately estimate what gaps you can pass thru..
then when its a tight space, you can slow right down then
move one mirror past their mirror, then the other mirror,
and continue.. watching ahead at all times [in a relaxed but
alert state of mind] you will become tuned to their behaviours
as a herd, including those sheep which will try to break out
of the pack into open spaces etc..

this is one potential danger worth recognising; the free space ahead,
which could be one car space opening up ahead, into which one of
the sheep is likely to dart into,, for some perceived advantage,
or just from frustation at being cooped up within the herd etc..
ie, it might be obvious to you - with your superior view -
that there is no advantage in changing lanes,, and yet,,
this is not the criteria they, will use..
- you cant expect them to be or behave rationally here -

[if you were strolling thru the park in a nice psychiatric institution
you may moderate your behaviour when simply walking in front
of someone, a psych patient, based on potential behavioural responses..
they are not 'just someones nice dad' or whoever, in cars, in traffic..
so long as you recognise this change in potential behaviour,
you will not fall into the trap of - trusting them -

sometimes riding slowly a car ahead may prop, for no apparent reason
[dropped their phone, or tried to change hands at 99, or whatever]
which can result in the motorcyclist propping thus potentially
side dropping it.. this is usually not a problem generally,
but within traffic, if you fall when they are stopped,
the problem is that they will start moving, even a little,
which could be over you [as has happened]..

here slow riding practice [easy to do, anywhere] is the answer..
practice very slow riding,, intending to not take a foot of the peg,
unless completely stopped.. this will cut right down on stop time
and thus on stopping thus on propping in response, thus on side drops..

thats not a big thing generally, which is an indication of how relatively
safe slow traffic is for us, once capable of riding slowly with control..

i will have no hesitation in using bus lanes, bicycle lanes or any other
space open to me ['motorcycle space'] riding in traffic incl motorways etc..

its a good idea to actually leave 5 - 10 mins before usual start time,
which allows brain to be more relaxed about making decisions on
changing lanes and so on, with time in mind..

we filter and so on in traffic firstly as the safest way for a motorcycle
to negotiate shared road spaces when in the traffic here, but also
as one obvious way of cutting thru wasted time,, stuck in traffic..
leaving early will provide a sort of context for decisionmaking
on the trot, where if you are in a hurry, you might go for a space
where its not necessary and possibly not safe..

in filtering thru traffic etc, you need to have ongoing attention
and awareness of whats happening ahead or and around you..
this is fairly self evident of course, but think of preparing for
your time in traffic/filtering etc.. this can also make it easier
and safer.. eg, again, walk out to your motorcycle with a few
minutes to spare, take your time in startup etc, not hurrying..
let yourself breathe fully but gently, into diaphragm [relaxing
belly etc].. its worthwhile when shes ready to go, to just
sit quietly for a moment, eyes closed, taking a few nice
breathes, then saying to yourself 'here we go' or however
you personally think of beginning a new activity..
then taking off carefully, thinking of how the tyres feel
[they will be cold] testing brakes [just feeling them etc]
moving around on the seat for comfort, and so on..

this helps direct attention naturally to the activity at hand
ie, riding your motorcycle, and in traffic etc..

just as your motorcycle has a start up phase and warming up etc
so your body and mind will have whatever start up you allow them..
might as well give yourself these small preparatory advantages...

in a way theres a sort of interesting study motorcyclists automatically
go thu simply riding and especially in traffic.. all those drivers
young and old, men and women, going different places for all sorts
of reasons, and with whatever driving and decisionmaking capability
- or relative lack of it - they start out with, and drive near you with..

some of them - will be - drunk,, some will be stressed, anxious,
rushing, overtired, micro-sleeping, distracted, including many
who barely passed easy driving tests - that did not include
motorway or many other forms of driving - and many who never
learned or practiced serious driving skills such as braking etc..

this sounds pretty bad, and it is..
and yet, many people ride regularly in and thru traffic [incl me]..
despite a few crashes [ion 50yrs riding], two at intersections plus
one U turn from the kerb, i have never had any impact or drop
in many many miles of riding in traffic on all sorts of roads
and including filtering.. its not just luck, its attitude to
the task at hand, plus learning and understanding where
potential dangers lie and simply avoiding them..

as you ride along incl away from traffic, take the opportunity
to practice avoiding potholes or even any point on the road,
by changing your hips, knees etc positioning to allow for
quick easy avoidance of 'things'..
this will help switch on your natural avoidance responses
for when they change lanes into your road space etc..

always have an underlying attitude that the will or might
change lanes at any moment for any unknowable reason..
this isnt generating fear, rather developing a realistic
attitude to general driver behaviours..
as soon as one moves near you, as they regularly do,
even if not changing lanes etc, always allow yourself to
move in response.. this is another way of priming your
natural responses, to be always ready to move..

i like to think of this type of thing more as 'fun'
than serious or distracting discipline etc :)

8 months is something under your belt
as a new motorcyclist..
your attitude as expressed here is an excellent start,
to build on whatever experiences you already have..

bear in mind that one advantage we have is the ability
to not be there, when they change lanes and so on..
in a car there is little if any option for escape..

we are more sensitive to impact, yet we take much less
road space, so are potentially further from impacts,
or harder to get at.. therefore if we choose our spaces
and relative speed etc, we are in a good position to
negotiate traffic safely, efficiently even
enjoyably...

you have overcome the hardest most dangerous phase
the beginning phase.. and now have a more realistic
attitude and some riding skill under your belt..

any skill can be enhanced and improved with practice..
which includes that attitude to general riding, but also
to any courses or advanced riding tuition avalable to you..

remember they crash into each other in cars
and also cause serious and fatal injuries..
that people are injured or killed crossing roads
and so on.. life is short and precious,
in my view motorcycling is part of that..

but if you are really scared, beyond intellectually
aware of dangers etc, then the extra 5 hours and
extra expense of driving a car is always an option..

i reckon the realisation of driver incompetence etc,
while a bit of a shock at first, is one of the most
important realisations a motorcyclist can
and must reach.. you are already there...
 

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**** that was long winded I was only able to read a few paragrahps.

Every rider at some point will fell like it is just too dangerous. When you feel this or something that is not right/safe follow your gut and take a break from riding for a week or two. There has been time where I took a month off and times where I just took the day off. Every now and then it doesn't feel right to ride that day even after I'm on the bike and ridden a few miles...I'll just turn back and take the car.

Lane spliting is actually a tad bit safer. The Hurt report and also more recent studies show this. There is a certain traffic speed at which lane spliting isn't safe and that is when traffic is going fast enough that there are gaps created between cars that cars from other lanes can merge into. When this happens the danger level of getting side swipe is very high. This usually happens around 35mph to 45mph on the freeway. Below these speeds it is relatively safe cause all the cars are boxing each other in. Above these speeds then there usually is a lot more space between cars.

I use to be a very aggressive lane spliter. Having once split at 80+mph while traffic was stop and go on I15 between LA and LasVegas. And many times split almost as fast during various rush hour traffic. I used to commute by bike...actually my bike was my only vehicle at the time. Now a days I will still split pretty fast up to 50mph if traffic is no more then 30mph. But no more then 20mph faster then traffic. Once traffic gets into that danger zone/speed I stop splitting.

The more time you spend riding the better you get, not just at riding but being able to read traffic and other vehicles. Basically you can better read other body language and predict what will happen. You have to be a proactive rider always scanning. If you are just sit along for the ride then you'll increase your chances of getting clobber.

It takes at least 10k miles to start feeling like you have some experience. But also a certain amount of miles per year. Just cause some one been riding for 30years doesn't mean they are experience if they only ride a few thousand miles a year. You gotta keep up about 8k+ miles year after year. But don't get complacent...this usuall happens after about 30-50k miles under your belt.
 

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I had to stop reading at "masterbating" that cracked me up. Not because it's a funny thought or word, but because it's true!.... ppl can't even wait until they get home to spank the monkey anymore.
 

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kiwi - when nsw changed traffic law to include 'filtering'
ie, thru stopped or slow moving traffic at under 30km/h
this legislation also defined 'filtering' as opposed to
'lane splitting' or riding between cars at higher speed,
as illegal, drawing heavy panalties..

so they have responded to motorcycling community
and other input [reduces pollution, saves fuel,
has real potential for reducing gridlocked traffic]
by allowing 'filtering', which has a low or zero
death toll, while outlawing 'lane splitting'
at high speed [motorways etc]..

also incidentally other restrictions intended to stop
trick riding on public roads such as keeping both hands
on bars and both feet on pegs, have been lifted..

we can now adjust our visors etc and stretch a leg
without fear of catching a blue bullet..
[art of input submissions to qld govt on this
included motorcycle police stretching a leg etc]

i do not, incidentally and never have passed between
two cars driving at high speed.. there are plenty
of opportunities for conventional passing
even if including tight distancing/timing
in setup and the pass..
 

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I have been thinking about this thread some:


I call it getting "spooked" about riding bikes,


sometimes some incident may trigger it sometimes seems nothing in particular, regardless nothing new though I have always as long as I can remember occasionally had to deal with this strange phobia as it relates to riding bikes, but it is not an everyday event for me either so I am not going to overanalyze


my instincts seemed to have served me well as I am still around at 61


riding bikes is as much mental as it is physical, in the subconscious I evaluate every ride, what worked, what did not, & what could I do better next time, etc etc


as stated previously just chill out, take a day or couple of days off, take a week or weeks off, I always come back to riding bikes though, some people take to riding bikes & some don't, but if the bug hits you will know it & it never really ever lets go of you


but most importantly don't think you are the only one that has experienced this "spooked" condition, just fall back on the basics & have fun when the time is right,


I think for me it may be some kind of mental balance thing that is taking place like to keep the ego in check maybe? Then the physical balance offset for me is to ride more than one bike & not get too comfortable with any one bike for too long a period of time, anyway it seems to keep me sharp


ride safe
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
THx so much guys! So appreciate all the responses you guys have given me, I really do.

I've been thinking it through and I really do want to keep riding, but think I might take a break for a week or so and go back to public transport for a bit. I had a horrible day on the road today, coupled with a bus driver riding my wheel at 80km/h giving me no where to go, then had someone pull out of a side road right in front of me. I'd already clocked what was about to happen so stopped in time, just, but gives you the willies that if you weren't paying attention it would have been boom!

So yeah, prob just need to chill for a few days and get my mojo back.

Think the whole thing just freaked me out a little thats all. Off topic but I've always never been phased by driving/speed etc as I used to be a professional racing driver 10-15yrs ago and worked as a racing school instructor so never had any issues with risk, but for some reason the vunerability you get on a bike (plus having a young family) kicks of the self preservation drive I guess :)
 
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