Driver’s Education: Bikers special

http://karachi.metblogs.com/archives/images/2008/01/kmbsmt-thumb.jpgWhile Commuting on the streets of Karachi I have noticed that the bike riders often don’t care much about their safety and that of those riding along with them in a quest to save a minute or two or to reach their destination in the blink of an eye. Here are the four dangerous situations bikers often put them selves into without even realizing the dangers they may be getting exposed to.

1) Riding too close to the left (or right) fender of the moving vehicle and cutting in through the path of a car (see: Bike’s Position 1) :

This is a very dangerous place to be in for a motorcyclist because if the driver of the car moves his steering wheal even slightly towards the motorcyclist, or if the car’s excel breaks down all of a sudden, the motorcyclist in front will immediately be run over by the car. Anyone would be a fool with a death wish to be riding in this position specially if the rider is cutting in from left side of a moving car to negotiate a right turn but I have often noticed bikers negotiating turns in this manner even when the car they are intercepting is it’s self indicating to or turning in the opposite direction.

2) Riding a blindspot on the left or right of a car, bus or truck (see: Bike’s Position 2) :

Well this is a blindspot which means the driver of the car will not be able to spot you and your bike unless he turns his head around and looks through his side window and he may still miss you if you are a little way back from his side window pane. So when riding in this position be extra vigilant for any change in the direction of the car, try to either move ahead or stay behind in a spot where you are visible to the driver ( See: Area marked in Grey)

3) Riding near the back fender, another blind spot. (see: Bike’s Position 3):

This one is very common, and this is a position where there is no way the driver of the car can know where your bike is positioned (See Area Marked In Yellow), he won’t see you in any of his back view mirrors nor through his side windows, and if he negotiates a turn there a good chance he might hit you. So it is never safe to position your self here.

4) Riding Directly behind a car and not keeping a safe distance (see: Bike’s Position 4):

Now this one is really very common, the car is moving at 60 miles per hour and a biker is right behind it’s tail, the car stops at a signal and bam the bikers slams into the car. This has happened to me at several occasions and once I saw a biker slamming into a car pretty hard when the car applied breaks to slow down for a crater in the road. Which is why it is always wise to keep a safe distance with another vehicle.

P.S: In addition to bikers car, bus and truck drivers too should also be vigilant of ignorant riders and should take extra care while turning or changing lanes. Cars, SUVs, truck and bus can also install special mirrors to compensate for the blind spots because in the end every one’s responsible to keep our roads safe.

20 Comments so far

  1. Raja Islam (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 11:39 am

    Nice post jamash.


  2. Raza (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

    yeah, nice post.

    As any car driver would tell you, motorbikes are a menace on the road! They’re literally every-freaking-where, you really have to watch out for them or you could knock one down any moment!


  3. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    Good one, I wish we can print this in urdu & english on newpaper print and distribute on traffic lights

    Great work JAMASH


  4. Sameer (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

    Great post.
    I agree with Jamal kah is ko urdu main print karwa kah distribute karna chaye


  5. ronin1770 (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

    If Adolf Hitler came across Karachi’s motor-cyclists I am pretty sure he will put all of them in his concentration camps


  6. Hassan Ababs (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

    hope bikers will follow the rules now.


  7. newbie (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, the motorcyclists drive insanely and God for bid if anything might go wrong, will blame the car or truck driver attackingly.
    I would also like to put some light on the issue that the drivers for no reason use headlights that the opposite person just can’t see where is he going.

    http://amynghazali.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/are-they-fucking-blind-or-what/

    I think you all should write something about this as well.


  8. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

    Excellent post, Jamal. I have usually observed that both (Car drivers, motorcyclists and others) are ignorant about blind spots that you so wonderfully illustrated.

    They need to learn about this…..but then aren’t we all ignorant regarding simple traffic rules?

    Either way, a very well defined post.


  9. Nadir (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

    I am on the roads of Karachi since 98 without any conveyance of my own. In public transport, friends’ cars, on foot etc. I’ve always heard and watched these bikers being cursed (fairly and unfairly both)

    Once a colleague of mine commented “Kabhi gattar band ho ga, khol ke daikhein ge tu pata chalay ga bike walay atkay hoay hien – Yea bike walay har jagha ghuss jatay hien”

    Now after a lot of thinking I have bought a bike for my self for just some simple reasons. 1.Economical, 2.Small size.

    Now I am going to share my (a biker’s) point of view.

    Once I’m on the road (I have all the stories of how bikers die- in my mind, so)…

    1. I drive extra carefully, I have never made a turn unless the indicator has blinked for more than 6 time (which is by the way the law in US).

    2. I always keep a safe distance from the car ahead (as its a known fact that due to weight and momentum, cars stop more quickly when breaks are applied, then bikes. Bike WILL slip if the tires are locked due to hard breaks)

    3. Keep my eyes and mind open all the time, and observe all the activities around.

    4. I try to stay at the left most lane, but the most unpredictable monkeys are the bus drivers (who in NO way could see whats behind), so I stay in the second lane.

    5. I always try to keep a safe distance from the cars ahead AND try to drive along the white strips on the road with the cat-eyes – REASON, the cars will stop and I will slam into them. IF in case the car hits the break I have enough room to pass it without hitting it or actually cutting into the way or bumping into the car in the next lane.

    6. If you say that bikes don’t have a back view mirror, than it not that much of a need (ONLY IF THE BIKER IS DRIVING at a normal speed) because bikers can hear everything -They can hear a car approaching near from back left side or the right side, without looking. Cars are closed and they can’t hear it as much as bikers do.

    Now you tell me does it sound like I don’t care about my own life!

    BUT I admit that I’ve done some of the thing you have mentioned in your post (as blunder by bikers)

    Reasons:
    1. Cutting in front of the car.
    a. Either the stupid big ass car driver is driving like a drunk person OR is talking on the phone (which by the way acts no different then a drunk person) – It is hard to judge the instincts of such a person hence its better to be in a place where he actually and clearly sees you.

    b. The car behind is honking so damn hard at the biker that – I think probably someone in the car is either dying or is in a high speed police pursuit. Its better to stay out of the way.

    THATS IT>

    Now there should be a post about DRIVING not driving by bikers.

    I admit that bing on a bike is a feel so great that no traffic jams scares you as you can easily make your way through the cars and go to the high end of the jam and get it out fast. You can make turns that cars are not able to make etc. BUT, not every person on the bike is a maniac.

    When I got the bike an older person told me just one thing. “Baita yaad rakhna ke tum road pe logo ke darmiyan nahin BANDARO (monkeys) ke darmiyan drive kar rahay ho” and believe me… THIS IS THE ONLY THING that has kept me safe till now (Alhamdulillah). As they say hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    Here is a list of blunders made by every person on the road.

    1. Changing lanes and variable speeds.
    2. Changing lanes without negotiations / indicators.
    3. Having a cell phone conversation while driving.
    4. Not looking / limited back-view by either not caring to look or having tinted or covered back window windows.
    5. Thinking the yellow light means “get the hell out NOW”
    6. Thinking if there is no or a few cars on the crossing signal – You can keep moving on the red light.
    7. driving in the right most lane until its time to make a left turn. They make a sprint interception of all the lanes and go all the way from right to left.

    I hope you should have this printed in Urdu and stick it on every cars windscreen.

    — NO OFFENSES TO THE CAR DRIVERS


  10. Mufakkir (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

    @Jamash,

    In point #1, it is ‘axle’, not excel. Go back to grade 5 when you were taught the 6 simple machines. Wheel & axle arrangment is one of them.

    Also, what you commonly witness happened to old (black) taxis etc. on the road is a BALL JOINT failure on the control arm. I’ve never seen an axle fail. It usually starts giving warning literally thousands of kilometers before final failure (I drove my car around 6000 km before changing the CV-joints, that too b/c I got tired of the clattering noise). When the failure happens, there is no big safety problem. The only thing that happens is that you release the clutch and the car doesn’t move. It is similar to a clutch plate failure.

    I really enjoy when non-technical people talk about technical things.

    The post is otherwise excellent. Many people do like they do not because they’re bad at heart, but b/c they simply don’t know a better way exists.

    @Nadir,

    I ride very much like you. Although I’m not a biker, but have a car, I still sometimes have to ride a bike. Although I’m quite fast (I’ve done an above 110 kph on NIPA overhead bridge), I give ample hand signals etc. (b/c motorbike signals usually break in accidents and people find it worthless to repair them).

    The only problem with your post is point #2. I disagree. It is a known fact that bikes are EASIER to stop and lose momentum. Acceleration and decelration both are very rapid on bikes, because they have SMALL momentum and LESSER inertia as compared to 4-wheelers.

    For experiment, sit in a car and note when your driver applies brakes, and when the adjacent biker applies his brakes to stop AT THE SAME POINT. I did it myself by noting how a trailer driver applied his brakes 120 feet before the hindrance whereas I did it only 40 feet before the point of rest.

    What most bikers forget (or don’t know) that 60% brake force comes from the front wheel. This is due to a phenomenon called weight transfer (Read it wikipedia). Since F=uR, the R is greater on the front tire.

    You find the cars decelerating faster beacuse they are applying brakes on ALL 4 wheels (for oncoming commenters plz note that its the hand-brake that applies on only the rear-wheels. Plz don’t argue that the foot pedal also applies to only the rear wheels. If you do so, I’ll come to your house and kick your butt).

    Motorcyclists ignore this fact to the extent they never use (or repair) the front brake mechanism. If you don’t use the front brake (which is usually operated by the right hand), try it, and you’ll be in a heaven of delight where you’ll not only have better & predictible deceleration, you’ll also find ways to control your radius of turning, and also how to avoid the front breaking free.


  11. Mufakkir (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

    CLARIFICATION:

    Since F=uR, AND R is greater on the front tire, F is therefore also greater. Weight transfer in dynamic bodies can be studied in slight detail on wikipedia.

    (Just to make the wording more clear).


  12. Nadir (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

    @Mufakkir

    Of course you are right – when you talk about actual physics.

    I’m just talking about the fact that if you apply the breaks so hard that your tires lock. Then the bike will slip, you will lose the balance and you will fall down. Unlike cars, you can push the break peddle so damn hard that you feel it will snap (although it doesn’t ever). There might be screeching tires but the driver won’t care that he might fall down coz he can’t :)

    In bike if you fall, the injuries are fatal, you might end up breaking bones, fractures, joints (which are sometimes unrepairable), or in some case get squished under a bus or something. (May Allah keep us all safe) This is the fear when bikers don’t break so hard that the tires are locked. (I’m pretty sure, with all your technical know-how, you are familiar with the ABS technology – Anti lock / skid Breaking System – Unfortunetly bikes don’t come with this technology)


  13. Tanveer (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

    Well, I think, Karachi is the only place where bikers dare to overtake the notorious mini buses and sometime even race with them.

    Oh!! bIKERS!! always wear helmet (since you dont have seat belts) and ride is slow lane, beleive me you will reach home before anyone else, anyways. I am saying this because of personal experiances.

    Stay safe on the roads and please stop doing the following:
    1- driving on pavements
    2- driving through all the gaps and gathering in front on every red signal.
    3- and yes, please ask your female passengers to hold tight on side hold bars, not your bulging tummy :)


  14. Mobi (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

    hmmmm… nice jamash… i also do like that..:p


  15. arslan (unregistered) on January 9th, 2008 @ 12:35 am

    Really awesome, i am driving bike for almost more than 6 years. I never thought about these measures before. I really appreciate the writer and commentators of the post.

    Please distribute this article among your colleagues and friends, we can save lives by spreading awareness.


  16. AK (unregistered) on January 9th, 2008 @ 1:26 am

    @Nadir
    “I have never made a turn unless the indicator has blinked for more than 6 time (which is by the way the law in US).”

    Where did you get your info? I live in the US and I’ve never heard of this law.


  17. ali-en (unregistered) on January 9th, 2008 @ 2:35 am

    This once again proves that we really need a proper mass transportation system.


  18. Discount tires (unregistered) on January 13th, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    If you are riding a motorcycle it is a great idea to have a louder exhaust do the car driver notices you.


  19. Discount tires (unregistered) on January 13th, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    If you are riding a motorcycle it is a great idea to have a louder exhaust do the car driver notices you.


  20. zee (unregistered) on January 15th, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

    I HATE FUCKING BIKERS!!! DAMN YOU ALL



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