For drivers

Virtually every motorist thinks he/she is a pretty good driver. Motorcyclists, who are better trained, more highly skilled and have a vested interest in safety know that the reverse is usually the case.
Given that every motorcyclist has car-driving friends (who have other car-driving friends and so on), it is a good idea for riders to pass on their road-craft knowledge to others. Who knows? Some of it may stick and contribute to road safety (and we'd all get to where we need to go a bit quicker and without all the aggravation)!

Here are some suggestions for car drivers:
  • Position your car appropriately for turns - ie. to the left of the road for a left turn, and to the right of the road for a right turn. Also, unless you have a sign on the back of your car that says "Don't overtake turning vehicle" - for pity's sake - don't swing out to the opposite direction before turning!
  • When pulling over, indicate, move left, then brake: if you decide to stop to look at that house for sale or something, don't just brake to a halt in the middle of the road! (while everyone behind you wonders what the hell you are doing!) Indicate, pull to the left and then brake.
  • Keep left! - it's the "Golden Rule of the road"! If the road is a single lane but is as wide as two lanes - keep as close to the left as "practicable". That way people can pass you on the right side as per the road rules. On multi-lane roads stay out of the right hand lane whenever possible unless you are overtaking or are about to turn right. Don't try to be a self-appointed vigilante and block the road to prevent others from speeding. Just because you are doing the speed limit doesn't mean you have the right to drive in the right lane or in the middle of the road. For all you know you may holding up an emergency vehicle 10 cars behind you. On freeways, highways, tunnels, off- and on-ramps, make a special effort to keep out of the right hand lane. If you are going to overtake, spend as little time as possible in the right lane. Of course, you can travel in the right lane if you wish - so long as you keep an eye on your rear view mirror and move over to the left if someone comes up behind you - especially if they flash their high beams.

    [As a point of interest, in Europe, cars in the "fast" lane immediately move over to let the car behind pass when its driver flashes his/her high beam (now you know why the switch that flashes your high beam is labelled "passing"). Can you imagine what would happen if someone came up behind the average Aussie driver and flashed their high beam? There'd be an almighty case of road-rage!]

  • Turning into a Two lane roadway: When you're turning right into a two lane roadway from the right turn lane where do you think you're supposed to go (according to the road rules as well as common sense)? YES, the RIGHT lane! I can understand why a semi-trailer truck would need to swing out wide into the outside lane - but a car?! Every second car driver in Perth seems to have a major problem keeping his/her car in their lane when turning into a 2 lane road. If everyone kept to their own lane, traffic would flow smoother and everyone would be safer. Also, drivers turning at an intersection or from a slip lane shouldn't have to wait for a gap in BOTH lanes before they can turn or join the traffic - just wait till the nearest lane is clear and then go!
  • Allow other vehicles to merge and change lanes: If another vehicle, especially a motorbike has its indicator on it should be obvious that they want to change lanes or merge. For pity's sake allow them to do so! Don't accelerate to close off the gap!
  • Allow motorcycles plenty of room: The road rules require motorists to provide the same right-of-way and clearance to a motorcycle as they would a larger vehicle. Motorcycles need a full lane to ride safely. They may need to use all of their lane to avoid road surface hazards. Do not drive in the same lane as a motorcycle - it is illegal and unsafe. Allow motorcycles as much space as a car (if they are in front of you) when overtaking them and going back into your own lane. Be aware that motorcycles an also reduce speed quickly to react to hazards. You should therefore be alert to sudden changes in speed and drive at a safe distance. Legally drivers are required to allow at least a 2-3 sec gap when behind a bike. Anticipate the hazards that a motorcyclist may face - such as flying debris, oil slicks, poor road conditions - and predict how the motorcyclist may react to them. Remember, an accident that may only scratch the paintwork on your car could land you with a manslaughter charge.

  • Don't try to share a lane with a motorcycle: Sure, riders may lane-split past you and sure, a rider may pass you on the left or right without allowing much clearance - but they choose to take that risk. It's a different story if you impose such a risk on a motorcyclist by squeezing in next to him/her in the same lane. Remember, it could be a young and inexperienced motorcyclist that you endanger.
  • Give reckless riders a wide berth: Reckless riders tearing in and out of the traffic are a menace and give all other motorcyclists a bad name -no doubt about it - but nobody deserves to die for being young and foolish. Unless you see yourself as being judge, jury and executioner - give such riders a wide berth and don't make any sudden changes in your speed or road position. As for giving them a "good talking to" at the next set of lights - Don't. There's enough "road rage" about without you adding to it. [As an aside: what may seem dangerous or reckless to a driver may be quite safe and reasonable from the perspective of an experienced rider.]
  • Don't pull onto the gravel to give us room to pass: Often helpful drivers on country roads will pull over to the left to give bikes coming up from behind more room to pass. It's a nice gesture, but pulling 2 wheels over to the gravel shoulder of the road flicks up dust and stones. We certainly don't appreciate stone-chips on our bikes and bruises on our bodies.
  • Look for motorcyclists: When turning right, doing a U-turn, pulling out of a side street or driveway, or when changing lanes. The life you save could be mine! Motorcycles are smaller than cars and thus are not always easily seen - especially if hidden behind a truck or car. Regularly check your side and rear vision mirrors and the blind spot before merging or changing lanes (that is, look in the mirrors and over your shoulder). Be particularly aware of motorcycles at intersections and remember that motorcycle indicators are not self-cancelling and can often be left on in error. Make sure that a motorcycle is really going to turn before proceeding. Finally, when you do see a motorcycle, don't think of it as a motorcycle, think of it as a person.

Be bike aware!