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SA riders vs. drivers: A love-hate relationship

2015-10-05 08:14


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

UPDATE: The comments section is open. Share your thoughts with us!

Cape Town - 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.

Let’s take a look at things that irk the two parties about each other.

Top rider pet peeves:

1 Vehicles skipping red light or stop signs 

A dangerous practice at the best of times but deadly for riders. The bulk of bike crashes happen at inter-sections and the problem doesn’t look likely to get better any time soon.

2 Cars changing lanes without indicating 

Many South Africans seem to view the Road Traffic Act as a guideline rather than a law, which makes our roads a bit of a free-for-all. Riders have to be constantly on the lookout for a car suddenly swerving into a newly-opened (or sometimes non-existent) gap in the traffic

3  Drivers attempting to obstruct lane-splitting bikes 

Some drivers seem to really hate lane-splitting bikes, to the extent that they will attempt to block the biker’s passage even if they don’t gain anything from doing so.

It’s a bit of a futile exercise, though – closing a gap on one side of your car often makes a bigger gap for me on the other.

4 Cars tailgating bikes 

This is a bad one, especially on wet roads – bikes can stop a lot quicker than cars, and under emergency braking the biker is very likely to be injured or even killed by the tailgating car.

5 Car and taxi passengers getting out at traffic lights 

Opening doors have been always the nemesis of bikers filtering through stationary traffic, and it will probably always be. The problem is that unlike lane-changing, there are no visual cues to warn the biker of the potential hazard.

The only solution is to be vigilant and filter very slowly.

Read: SA Car of the Year: 2016 finalists revealed

What's your biggest pet peeve about South African motorcyclists? Vote here!
Things car drivers hate about riders

1 Riding in my blind spot 

A very dangerous practice. Bikes are hard to see at the best of times – in another vehicle’s blind spot, they’re completely invisible. This unnerves car drivers, because they need to spend more time taking their eyes off the road to try to locate the bike.

2 Lane-splitting too fast 

Car drivers often commit to a manoeuvre when the road appears clear, only to find at the last minute that a bike has suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere. High differential speed is a killer – any bike that goes more than 20-30km/h faster than the surrounding traffic is at great risk.

3 Mirror-slapping 

I admit that for a rider, the temptation to do this is sometimes huge especially after an apparent deliberate attempt to cause you bodily harm. However, as a friend of mine once said” “What is the point of disabling the very thing that helps the driver to see you?” 

4 Riding or passing in emergency lanes 

Apart from the debris there being a damage risk for your bike, you are also spraying it onto undeserving drivers’ cars. And besides, it is against the law.

What are your pet peeves, either as a rider or a car driver?  Share them with us and we'll publish them on Wheels24

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