Motorcycle riders have been getting a lot of bad press recently, no thanks to motorcyclists who think that riding a motorcycle is simply like riding a bicycle equipped with an engine. That idea though is far from the truth. No, this isn’t your usual checklist of motorcycling dos and don’ts where you’re told to wear your helmet and not to wear slippers, etc. (BTW, these have already been passed as laws which mean you’re expected to follow them).
Instead, we’ve compiled several road rules and etiquette tips which are often forgotten by motorcyclists, with sometimes fatal consequences. So, for your safety and to do your part in making the traffic on our roads a bit more bearable, read on.
Ride your motorcycle like it's a car
We know it goes against the very fact of why you bought a motorcycle in the first place, but think about it. It’s the constant weaving through traffic that gets you in an accident. Just because you see an opening on the road ahead that you and your two-wheeler can fit through, doesn’t mean that you have to take it like your life depended on it. Lest you forget, your motorcycle has a narrow silhouette which means you don’t really show up on another vehicle’s rearview mirror until you’re behind it.
In other words, play it safe and don't do this:
So turn on your headlight and put some space between your motorcycle and the vehicles around you. That way, you’re visible to the vehicles ahead of you and you’ve got some space to maneuver in case something happens ahead.
Avoid passing on the right side of vehicles
When overtaking another vehicle, always do it on the left side as drivers can see you more easily via the left side mirror because that’s the one nearer to their line of sight. And when you’ve committed to passing, do it as quickly as possible to minimize the time you’re in the vehicle’s blind spot. Another reason to not pass on the right side is when you’re on a busy street since you don’t know if a car’s passenger door might open in case a vehicle occupant is getting down.
Avoid lane splitting
While there isn’t any law prohibiting lane splitting here in the Philippines, which is the act of driving a motorcycle between two lanes to get ahead in traffic, it’s best to avoid doing it without care. For one thing, it minimizes—or worse, eliminates—the space cushion we’ve mentioned earlier, which can lead to accidents like this:
Also, you don’t know if the drivers ahead of you can see you and they just might turn and inadvertently block your way just as you’re approaching them, the consequences of which range from a bruised ego to instant death after you’re sent flying over the vehicle’s hood and onto oncoming traffic on the other lane.
Always pay attention to the traffic lights
For some reason, whenever they reach a traffic stop, many motorcyclists often head to the front of the pack. It’s an unnecessary practice that unfortunately can’t be helped. After all, the reason you bought a motorcycle is to weave through traffic. More often than not though, motorcyclists do things like browse through their phones or check something in their motorcycle once they reach the front of the pack while the stoplight is lit so when the light turns green, they end up hampering the flow of traffic for a couple of seconds.
So if you’re going to insist to be in front of everyone else while at a stoplight, pay attention to it and keep your motorcycle on first gear. Practice this tip especially at intersections where the traffic lights don’t have a countdown timer so that you can move off quickly.
When braking, always use both the front and rear brakes
A motorcycle usually has two brakes, one for each wheel. Although the front brake is more powerful than the rear and provides at least three-fourths of the total stopping power, it’s advisable to use both to avoid wrecking the motorcycle’s balance.
Just imagine what will happen to doggie bro here if the ride suddenly loses its balance:
Squeeze the front brakes too hard and you might end up flipping yourself over the handlebar. Instead, squeeze the front brake slowly but firmly as you press down on the rear brake.
Help out your fellow motorcycle riders
Motorcycles may outnumber cars in terms of sales but on the road, they’re still considered the minority. So if you see a fellow motorcyclist whose ride broke down on the road, help them out, particularly if you’ve got the technical know-how to do so. Think of it as paying it forward. This also applies to helping out a fellow motorcycle rider who’s in trouble with a car driver though we suggest you refrain from passing judgment on who’s at fault and instead leave that aspect to traffic enforcers.