There are many benefits when choosing a motorcycle as your primary means of transport. Motorcycles are an effective way to travel to and from your desired destination. It's also an efficient way to bypass traffic congestion. There are also financial benefits as they're generally cheaper than cars and will save you on petrol.
Unfortunately, motorcycles offer less protection than cars; it's important for motorcyclists to take extra caution when travelling on our roads.
SafelyHome, a programme championed by the Department of Transport and Public Works, lists the following safety precautions that motorcyclists should follow. These include:
- Wearing an approved helmet that meets current safety standards.
- Wearing protective clothing.
- Wearing a full face helmet that protects your eyes and face.
- Being visible and wearing bright and reflective clothing.
- Always keeping the headlight on.
- Riding in a position that promotes visibility on the road and leaves enough room to move.
- Avoiding other vehicle’s blind spots.
- Driving defensively and being watchful of other vehicles turning ahead of you.
- Being aware of hazardous road conditions.
- Choosing the correct lane position and entering a curve slowly.
- Knowing your skill limits, the environment and your motorcycle.
- Using turn signals when changing lanes.
- Driving at an appropriate speed for prevailing circumstances.
- Taking refresher motorcyclist courses to upskill your abilities.
The term lane splitting (or lane sharing, filtering or white-lining) is when a motorcyclist rides between the lanes of a stationary or slow moving traffic or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.
Lane splitting isn't illegal in South Africa, however there are safety precautions motorcyclists should follow to ensure their safety:
- Don't travel more the 20km/h faster than other traffic.
- Don't lane split if traffic is travelling faster than 50km/h.
- It's safer to lane split in lanes 1 and 2.
- Don't lane split near highway exits.
- Take note of your surroundings before lane splitting, such as the width of the lanes, size of surrounding vehicles, as well as roadway, weather, and lighting conditions.
- Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.
- If you cannot fit, don’t split.
Responsibility of the drivers of other vehicles
It's also the responsibility of the drivers of other vehicles to ensure the safety of motorcyclists. They have to be aware of motorcyclists at all times while on the road. Drivers should keep the following in mind when travelling on our roads:
- Be considerate and aware of motorcycles, especially at intersections.
- Maintain a safe following distance allowing sufficient space for motorcycles.
- Use signals to turn and be alert of oncoming motorcycles.
- Give motorcycles a full lane of travel.
- Check your blind spots when changing lanes.
- Turn signals aren't self-cancelling on most motorcycles. Be sure you know what a motorcyclist is doing.
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