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SA riders vs drivers: Biggest pet peeves revealed...

2015-10-07 11:09

WHAT IRKS YOU ON OUR ROADS? South African riders and car drivers seem to lack tolerance of each other on our roads. What are your pet peeves? Image: iStock

Cape Town - On Tuesday, Wheels24 published an article listing the biggest pet peeves of car drivers and motorcyclists.

The list ranges from vehicles obstructing lane-splitting riders to motorcyclists “slapping” side-mirrors of cars.

Who are the worst culprits?

Wheels24 bike columnist writes: "It seems that riders and car drivers are always at odds about who are the worst culprits when it comes to bad driving.

"As an avid rider, it isn’t hard to predict where my loyalties lie but let’s face it, riders are not exactly innocent."

Read: SA riders vs. drivers: A love-hate relationship

Poll results

We asked users to share their biggest peeves about riders and drivers on SA’s roads and News24 polls garnered a collective 22 984 votes.

What's your biggest pet peeve about SA motorcyclists?

Riding in your blind spot - 3770 votes
Lane-splitting too fast - 6431 votes
Mirror-slapping - 1221 votes
Riding in emergency lanes - 1389 votes

SA motorcyclists - what's your biggest pet peeve about car drivers?
Drivers skipping red lights, stop signs - 3756 votes
Drivers changing lanes without indicating - 4532 votes
Cars obstructing lane-splitting bikes - 631 votes
Drivers tailgating bikes - 442 votes
Passengers getting out at traffic lights - 812 votes

The majority of Wheels24 car drivers said their biggest pet peeve are "motorcyclists lane-splitting too fast" (6431 votes) with "riding in your blind spot" the second major gripe. Motorcyclists riding/passing in emergency lanes (1389) and mirror-slapping (1221) are the third and fourth biggest pet peeves respectively.

But what about riders?


The number of riders who are irked by "drivers switching lanes without indicating" is disconcerting – 4532 votes. Drivers skipping red lights (3756) is the second biggest concern. Interestingly, 812 motorcyclists are irritated by car-passengers hoping out of vehicles at intersections or traffic lights.


Sharing our roads


Arriving Alive editor, Johan Jonck, share his thoughts on riders and car drivers: “Bikers, along with pedestrians and cyclists, are one of the more vulnerable road users. There is indeed an unnecessary animosity between motorists and riders. This mostly all boils down to our attitudes of self-entitlement, selfishness and the feeling that it is all about ME and my rights on the road.


“We all have the same objective – to Arrive Alive at our destination. Both have equal rights to the road. Do not assume the worst of your fellow road user, it could be that they’ve made an honest mistake.  Do not risk being the cause of a crash, don’t lane-split irresponsibly and don’t try to block riders from doing so.”


Lane-splitting advice and guidelines

Top rider pet peeves:

Vehicles skipping red light or stop signs

Werner Coetzer: Intersection issues will not happen if 1) the people don’t jump red lights and 2) riders don’t open up at the sight of it. Also I don’t care for riders if I am driving on the freeway at 120km/h (the legal limit) and I try to change lanes, only to find a biker speeding up on my backside. ‘Think Bike’, how about ‘Think Car’ as well?

Cars changing lanes without indicating

Francois De Waal: My pet peeve is u-turns on the highway. Me and my wife were very close to getting taken out by traveling on a highway at the speed limit on our abs equipped BMW.  A person was waiting with his low, single-cab, black-windowed bakkie to enter the highway. He was parked underneath a no “u turn” sign. Just as we got close to him he made a u-turn, underneath the no u-turn sign, crossing double white lines, on the highway. Almost got killed that day...

Roelof van der Merwe: If you take in consideration that the K53 system states the following when you change lanes - 1. Check Mirrors 2. Check blindspot 3. Signal your intention to change lanes 4. Check mirrors 5. Check blindspot 6. Change lanes if safe to do so 7. Cancel indicator. I follow these rules when I drive my car, cycle or motorcycle, do you?

Drivers attempting to obstruct lane-splitting bikes

James Donaldson: How about all those cars that drive out on the center of the road, ignoring the most important road rule - drive as far left as possible. Doing so makes it impossibly dangerous for riders to overtake their slow driving.

Car and taxi passengers getting out at traffic lights

Bernard Visagie: My personal worst as a rider are people 'creeping'  to cross the intersection. My lights are always on and I slow down to below the speed limit as I cannot trust any car to not pull out in front of me.

Victor Loftie-Eaton said: Pedestrians walking out in front of you in the so called "still standing" traffic. They do not look in the direction of the traffic as the cars are standing still. Often there are bikes and scooters sitting on the right-hand-side between cars and the white line. They only look to their left in the oncoming traffic to find a gap to cross the road, dangerous for riders.

Things car drivers hate about riders:

Riding in my blind spot

Anthony De Nozo: The moment you get in your car, or on your bike you need to be careful, how careful you are should not be inversely proportional to the size of your vehicle, however, due consideration needs to be given to safety, both personal, and to other road users.

In a collision between a car and a bike, the biker is more likely to suffer more severe injuries, and it is for this fact that the biker needs to take more care for their personal safety, and not expect a driver to do that for them. That being said the driver also has a responsibility to drive in a manner so as not to place any other road user in danger. Don't have the mentality that "I am protected in my car, nothing else matters"

Lane-splitting too fast


Kevin Pearson: Lane-splitting is illegal in many countries and I believe it should be here. Riders lane-split at high-speed making it difficult for drivers to change lanes. I am a former rider.


Lesedi Lebese: I am in shock. Where on the rules of the road does it mention that the white dotted middle line is permissible for motorcycles to ride on? Why are motorcycles riding there? If I change  lanes I look at vehicles around me. If a bike suddenly appears because it’s riding on the dotted line, it is not my responsibility to be on the lookout for you.  


Anthony De Nozo: Exactly Lesedi, it is this type behavior of 'some' bike riders that I find frustrating. It is arrogant of a rider to expect a vehicle who has as much right to be on the road, to overtake, to change lanes, to yield to them because the rate of acceleration is higher than a car. It is also also arrogant to expect a vehicle to yield to a bike when they overtake on a white line in-between other vehicles. Why is it OK for a bike to weave in and out of traffic and drive on the wrong side of the road, yet we yell blue murder when a taxi does the same? I "Think Bike", when will bikers "Think Car"!


Riding or passing in emergency lanes


Charl Van Der Walt: As a rider I have to say that most of the guys charging past in the suicide lane and riding reckless in general forms part of the "no number plate" category – the general assumption is that bikers without number plates are going to take excessive risks insofar as speeding and desired behaviours are concerned.


The majority of riders who commute on a daily basis obey the law and don't create havoc for our fellow road users, whilst ensuring that we always have a valid number plate on our motorcycles. The sad reality is however that you will always have a small percentage road users (both car and bike) that instill anger and hatred towards one another due to their spiteful/disgraceful behaviour – it is however interesting to note that taxis are some of the most considerate road users on my route, probably because they’re constantly scanning the road for a gap. :)


Other pet peeves on SA’s roads:


Robbie Crouch: My pet peeve as a motorcyclist and motorist is cellphone-use by other road users, pedestrians included! Do they have a death wish or what?


Ronald Koenis: Number 1, is the excessive noise generated by bikes - such a small engine turning decibels in excess of the law allowable. Even with my stereo turned up high, windows closed you can hear (and occasionally feel) the bike idling next to you. Why do bikers (Harleys in particular) at night (sometimes racing in the suburban streets) rob me of peace and tranquility?


‘Using your window washer while they’re bike behind’


Dirk Brand: Texting while driving, my number 1 by far. Pedestrians crossing on the freeway (N1 Cape Town) during peak time. VERY dangerous to us bikers! Often it is within easy walking distance of a bridge. Throwing cigarette butts (an all kinds of other litter) out of the window. Using the window washer when there's a bike behind. Sure, it's an easy (and usually innocent) mistake to make, but while it was funny the first dozen or so times - and even refreshing on a hot day - it is getting real old now.


Taggert said: TAXIS, TAXIS, TAXIS… all else is insignificant.


Albert Viljoen: Thank you for the great article and the views of bikers and cars. Yes I agree with all the points Dries. As a daily commuter (200km per day on my bike) I would like to add one more dangerous act of car drivers. I see this daily and it almost cost me a couple of accidents…..texting while driving!! This is very dangerous. You can actually see how the car starts to drift in the lane, and when you look at the driver…their eyes only focused on the road and the phone…nowhere else.


Coert Welman: One of my biggest peeves are motorcycle riders riding without a number plate. If you do not have a number plate on your vehicle, it is on the road illegally. And let's face it, riders take off their number plates for the sole purpose of breaking the law.



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