TIPS FOR RIDING THROUGH TRAFFIC
Riding through traffic is always where you get to know yourself as a rider, and nowhere is this more of a fact than in the roads of Nairobi. You encounter all sorts of dangers from motorists, pedestrians and almost often other riders on the road. This is because the only way to move in traffic is through lane-splitting. Two wheels are best suited for this because they are narrow and can easily move between the space between cars. Doing it right especially when carrying a passenger is what differentiates you from the next motorcycle rider. So here are a few tips that can help you when riding in Nairobi
1. Be Noticed
To be successful when riding means you should be properly visible whether you believe it or not. Make sure pedestrians and motorists can see you even from a distance. Have your high beam on even during the day ( Be sure to turn it off when behind someone as a courtesy) . Be sure to wear a high visibility jacket or safety reflector in order to be visible on the roads. As it has been said time and again, Your safety is in your visibility . While this is a sensitive topic, we believe having a loud pipe can also increase your chances of getting noticed, because motorists who don’t pay attention the the visible can’t ignore the power of sound. This is all in a bid to in crease your chances of getting noticed.
2. Be Alert
When on the road, it’s important to be alert, after all, if you aren’t noticed by motorists and other riders, the defense you have comes from you looking ahead and knowing how to act if something unexpected happens. This is very important because on the streets of Nairobi, boda boda riders might be your biggest threat. When lane splitting some of these riders jump between lanes without looking to see if another rider is splitting and if you aren’t alert, you might as well crash into them and while you wouldn’t be at fault, chances are you will probably hit one or two motorists as well before both you and the rider hitting the ground. But when alert, you are sure that you can react or even see trouble from a distance and react accordingly.
3. Watch your speed
The difference between an armature and a professional on the road is how you control your speed. When lane splitting you can easily spot a careless rider by the speed they go with. As a rider, you need to ride at a manageable, slow speed. We recommend playing with the first and second gear. This goes hand in hand with being alert. This is because when lane splitting, some unexpected things can happen, be it a motorist opening their door mid-traffic, passengers alighting from buses mid-traffic and of course a hitting pot hole that you hadn’t spotted until it was too late. There is a time and place to ride your heart out, fortunately or unfortunately, in the middle of traffic is not one of them.
4. Avoid Lane Splitting when the traffic is moving
On most occasions, lane splitting can be a life saver, but when the traffic is moving it’s pretty easy for other motorists to hit you unexpectedly especially when changing lanes. Due to the maneuverability and speed of the motorcycle, a motorist may start switching lanes just as you appear without seeing you. While some motorists have a different attitude and will still switch even after seeing you, this calls for vigilance on your part.
5. Never get between a vehicle and an off ramp
As simple as this sounds, some motorists either don’t know where they are going or aren’t alert enough to remember and they will side-swipe you without a second thought. The simple rule for you to follow is to never position yourself between a vehicle and an off ramp.
Those are some of the Savvy tips we have for any of you riding on the road. Have some more tips for us? We’d like to hear them. Comment below.