Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Roundabouts, junctions, driveways and other traps where car drivers wait to pounce...

Following that dreadful week when the bike was in the workshop I have taken every opportunity, weather permitting, to ride. It's been great and as I predicted has given me periods of time when the after-affects of head injury are diminished to bearable.

One of the reasons why riding helps is because of the total concentration required in order to stay safe. For any, even slightly experienced riders who may read this it will be nothing new to hear a fellow biker saying that the majority of car drivers seem to be totally oblivious to motorcycles.

Anyone who has spent more than a few days travelling in and around my home city of York will know that traffic does not flow easily around the narrow streets and the outer ringroad is little more than an elongated car park at peak times. Although I am mostly content to just go with the flow I have occasionally done a bit of filtering. It is while doing this that I encounter three distinct types of car driver: those who use their mirrors, see a biker and give space, those who just don't look and stay fairly central, and those who take great joy in moving on to the central white lines when they see you coming (that's in both directions). I have no wish to interfere with anyone else's journey, so why do these morons want to make my journey as difficult as possible?

But it doesn't seem to matter where I ride there are those traps where car, van and wagon drivers lurk, seemingly waiting to try and maim a biker. I can't recount (or even remember) every incident over the last few weeks but it was pretty scarey when, having negotiated a large busy roundabout with five exits, giving careful indication and observing good lane procedure, to find, as I did my final lifesaver on exiting, a black sports coupe with its front offside wheel almost touching my rear wheel. Quick acceleration got me out of that one.

Driveways and junctions are like man eating monsters. I've even begun to find it amusing when I see the look on the drivers' faces as they see you for the first time, front wheel inches from their door.

Yesterday, literally round the corner from home, a young buck in a black hatchback backed out of his drive and, with me stationary after a fairly nifty emergency stop, almost backed into me. This one even had pedestrians shaking their heads. Again I saw that look as he saw me for the first time in his rear view mirror and then shot off in embarrassment.

Not to worry though, I ride defensively, almost embarrassingly so at times. None of this is going to put me off. I am enjoying riding and the process of getting better at it.

To make things better I need new tyres. The ones I've got on the bike are OK but are not a pair and they don't give me confidence in the lean. I reckon a set of Bridgestone Battlax BT023 tyres will fettle that. The reviews read really well.

I'm looking forward to getting out on some group rides too. My son's fiancee's dad is a biker, my eldest daughter's fiancee's dad is a biker and so too is my youngest daughter's boyfriend's step dad. (Did you actually make sense of that?) Looks like we could be forming a chapter of the Old Farts mc.

The road to eventually owning a Harley is looking longer as the legal issues re dented mind plod on. But Hey! We'll get there. In the meantime big black Triumph will get me everywhere else.

1 comment:

  1. Filtering on a Harley-Davidson with loud pipes is easier than with any other bike, especially in summer when the car drivers can hear you coming. After you get your H-D, you will soon learn that a quick throttle blip will cause some otherwise daydreaming drivers to make a gap for you.

    Riding defensively is never embarrassing - it might just save your life one day.