7 Points In Defense Of The Biker

Motorbikes on the Dragon
Image by TeecNosPos via Flickr

Saul K, from the Outlet, has an issue with bikers. Time to bring out the sparring gloves.

Actually, no. We all have to share the roads, and a large portion of bikers wish to do it in the safest manner possible. If you think our roads are currently bad for cars, bear in mind they are ten times worse for bikers. Lanes are narrower, road surfaces are carved into horribly uneven grooves-of-death, or stairs between lanes making lane changing on a bike impossible, and construction debris and dust covers the roads, making stone-catching sore, and making braking unsafe.

So to paraphrase from Saul’s entry, I’d say this is a brief summary of the contention points:

– Bikers are a hypocritical nuisance.

– Lane splitting is evil.

– Bikers never stick to the left hand side of the road like bicycle drivers do.

– Bikers tend to sit in car driver’s blind spots.

– Bikers change lanes too often.

– Bike owners feel the need to speed consistently.

– “when you learn how to drive we’ll stop running you over”.

I feel compelled to react to each of those points individually, and get some biker opinion out there.

1. Bikers are a hypocritical nuisance:

Of course we are, we’re arrogant too, we’ve every right to stamp our authority on the roads and what’s more, we’re cool. 😛

2. Lane splitting is evil:

The Happy Couple
Image by Shaun Dewberry via Flickr

Lane splitting is perfectly legal in South Africa, and let’s face it, you’d be a moron if you sat in the traffic, choking down exhaust fumes, when there’s a perfectly good gap between cars that one can use.

3. Bikers never stick to the left hand side of the road like bicycle drivers do:

Sticking to the left hand side would be silly unless you want to collect the tail-end of a truck, hurdle a random pedestrian or smooch a vehicle exiting from a blind entrance. (Or refurbish the face of one of those, ahem, bicycle drivers[sic]) We’re using engines, not legs, here. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re suggesting the building of dedicated biker lanes, well, hell yeah, absolutely!

4. Bikers tend to sit in car driver’s blind spots:

Unfortunately, yes, this is a symptom of poor mirror design and lane-splitting.  However, all drivers that did their driver’s license test were taught to check their blindspots frequently – do you think they do it? Well, yes, many do and I have absolute respect and always try to thank the driver who sees me and cancels his/her indicator to let me through, or shifts slightly to one side, but so often the driver feels there’s no time to check the mirror before they make a desperate lunge to sit behind traffic from a different point of view in the next lane.

5. Bikers change lanes too often:

See below discussion on speed. If you’re going faster than the traffic around you you’re going to need to change lanes.

6. Bike owners feel the need to speed consistently:

On the speed issue, yes, some bikers do ride at excessive speeds fairly often – most often Sunday mornings on empty roads long before cage-drivers wake up. But to be fair, biker’s speeding is often a symptom of vehicle driver’s speeding. If you ride to live it’s highly recommended you ride at least 20km/h faster than the traffic around you. Any slower and cars will start overtaking you – and not surprisingly being overtaken by a low-flying Ford is one of the scariest experiences on a bike. Yes, surprise! We can’t hear your eco-friendly green hybrid save-the-planet-but-pollute-it-with-lead batterymobile buzzing up behind us – we’ve got, yes, fresh air blasting past our ears (and maybe a nice loud pipe under the seat, too!). And what’s more, we can outbrake you by a country mile. At traffic lights we often live in fear of being rear ended by a ton of metal that just cannot brake fast enough. 160-170km/h is not excessive if the cars are traveling at 130-140km/h, it’s realistic.

7. “when you learn how to drive we’ll stop running you over”.

I doubt it. There will always be bad bikers and there will always, always be terrible drivers. I choose not to see car drivers as the enemy, as I too am a car driver, but I am exceptionally cautious around cars when biking. And by the same measure I’m exceptionally cautious around bikes when driving. We’ve only got so much tarmac to share and there are a lot of idiots out there. I’d like to get to where I’m going (even if it is a bar) in once piece, as I’m sure you would too.

C’mon, Saul, buy a bike!

Bikers, evil? What do you think?

Join the Conversation

21 Comments

  1. Well said. I think Saul might be an over sensitive manty wearing poofter.. we’ll forgive him only if the before mentioned is true. PS, the little photo on the post was taken at Ca-sera’s right???

  2. I am an ex-biker. More than 10 years ago I got knocked off my bike by a drunken doos in an Alpha and then driven over to pieces by an taxi that was not roadworthy. One bike vs 2 other vehicles. I was probably in their respective blind spots that night. 10 minutes apart.

    I’m sorry.

  3. Great response. Why is it that people like Saul always seem to write frustrated comments such as on his blog? Is he bothered by the ease that bikers reach their intended destination easier? Bikers face more dangers on a daily basis than a cage driver does in a year in my opinion.

    Saul, go for a ride on a bike. You may well change your opinion.

  4. I left this comment on his site, it will probably be moderated

    Evidently you drive on a different planet. When last did you see anyone in this country travelling the speed limit. I have had more close calls by going the same speed as car drivers who refuse to check blind spots before changing lanes than actually going faster than them. Secondly lane splitting and filtering is legal in this country. Oh and as for overtaking on the left, it is legal on multilane roads. Perhaps you should go out and purchase a copy of “How to pass your learners license easily” as it is apparent you need a recap. You will notice that before you can change lanes you need to: Check mirrors, check blind spot, indicate, check blind spot and mirrors again and then move. As opposed to what everyone does which is indicate and take the gap to the left. Wake up you idiot

    Jean Ventura Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  5. Sounds like the ‘biking fraternity’ has got my back on this one so far… Thanks for the kind words.

    @Captain Rusty: Yes indeed, that’s my 2008 Blade standing next to my landlord’s blade at Que-Sera.

  6. I’d love to buy a bike! However, I struggle with drivers on a daily basis (driving like absolute idiots) so I’d rather be in my nice German car.

    I think everyone got my post incorrectly (my fault entirely) but here’s what I’m trying to say: Bikers are extremely loud about safety (and I don’t blame them, it’s damn scary out there) BUT when they break the rules or make a mistake it just gets glossed over and no one gives a damn. Car drivers are idiots but I’m not sure it’s acceptable for bikers to paint themselves in the angelic light that they do.

  7. It still makes no sense. If you take that line of argument I might as well say:

    “I’m not sure it’s acceptable for Jewish people or Christians to paint themselves in the angelic light that they do”

    … because I am generalising.

    Also, in your original post you got facts wrong. As soon as you get facts wrong, your whole post or article becomes invalid – something you need to look at especially if you advertise services as a freelance writer. But if you’re just some random kid with a blog, then you are excused and exonerated.

    Are you?

  8. Does it make more sense when you say: “I’m not sure it’s acceptable for Jewish people or Christians to paint themselves in the angelic light that they do when they go around killing Muslims and think it’s acceptable”?

  9. No, let me re-phrase that: “I’m not sure it’s acceptable for Jewish people or Christians to paint themselves in the angelic light that they do when they go around killing Muslims because they kills Jews and Christians and think it’s acceptable”?

  10. I had a serious bike accident when I was younger, but it was my fault – there I said it.

    Safety in numbers, the more people that ride bikes/scooters the more aware other drivers will become.

    How did this topic get onto religion by the way?

    Cheers

    Josie
    @platform45

  11. Nice post Shaun

    Saul I’m glad to see your responses are not rude but actually sensible. But you’re still a wanker.

  12. He he , this was entertaining ! Years later someone still gets to chuckle ! Good Job !

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