Rideing on the other side of the road? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 12:16 am Thread Starter
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Rideing on the other side of the road?

I am considering a Motorcycle tour in New Zealand in a couple of years (got to save up money and time).
I live in California, and have only driven on the right hand side of the road.
I ride a K1200GT so I am interested in pavement touring with my wife as a passenger.
My question is what is your opinion of the difficulties / dangers of decades on US roads compared to a couple of weeks New Zealand roads?

Appreciate any input
Roger

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 12:58 am
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Every time I go to a country that drives on the other side of the road, I screw up once ... usually right at the beginning, and then I am fine. It just takes a little extra concentration. Right about the time it comes natural, it is time to come home and I have to go through the same experience all over again to get re-acclimated here.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 7:47 am
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Living in the UK we obviously drive on the left side of the road, unlike our European cousins who are akin to yourselves driving on the right.
The 1st time i wennt over to Europe I was concerned over this issue, but have to say that it seems just as natural within minutes. I now have no concerns over this when going on Daytrips etc to Europe and back.

Some people use red insulation tape to stick an arrow on thier screen or tank to point (as a reminder ) to the side of the road they should be on.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 4:59 pm
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I have no trouble, although I have only driven, not ridden. On the Great Ocean Road there is a sign reminding people to drive on the left. I think It was put up after an American got off the plane drunk, hopped in a car and drove the GOR only to hit head on a fellow American riding a motorcycle. He received a lengthy jail sentence for culpable homicide.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2009, 4:37 am
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I have driven/ridden both sides:

1. Tell your wife she is part of 'staying alert' - having your pillion jab you in the ribs can be a life saver and they can help with a hand point at junctions.

2. Concentrate before you turn the key to ride off. You might have ridden a couple of hours ok, then pull over for a stop in a parking lot or a drink. 1/2 hour later you get on the bike and it's automatic to do what you've always done.

3. When you park up, park facing the direction of the traffic flow, park the other way and you can easy forget when you come back to the bike.

4. Make mental notes of clues like which side of the road the signs are on. When there is little or no traffic you have fewer 'visual clues' to remind you.

5. Do you have 'roundabouts' in the States? They can be daunting at first when riding the opposite direction. Ride them like a pussy to start with, keeping the kerbs on your nearside.

6. Be careful joining freeway 'slip roads', again particularly when there is no traffic to follow or signs to get cues from. There have been quite a few accidents where a vehicle has chosen the exit slip road and driven miles at night the wrong way towards oncoming at 70mph.

7. Satnav can help you concentrate more on the riding and less on the distraction of map reading. It also avoids arguments with the pillion that can alter concentration flow.

8. It doesn't matter if you take a wrong turn or miss one, if you are following another vehicle you are less likely to get flustered and make a mistake.

9. Try to avoid doing U turns by taking the next turn or at least plan them before executing. They can be quite disorientating.

You will have a great time, just concentrate more to start with and whenever you think you have cracked it, don't get complacent. I feel safer the wrong side on a bike with better all round visibility than in a car.



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2009, 10:55 am
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Re:Driving on the left!!!!

I went to Thailand a few years back, rented many bikes there and had no problems driving on the left, just followed the traffic for a while and got used to it. However later on that trip I rented an XL250, took off for a week....first day I stopped at a park, when I pulled out there was no traffic....until I met the first truck in a curve......! I was wrong....he was RIGHT....on the left! The good thing is that we were both going pretty slow! The morale....just do not forget which side you should be on, after many years of driving in America we have acquired some reflexes that might be hard to overcome.....!

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2009, 2:30 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h96669
I went to Thailand a few years back, rented many bikes there and had no problems driving on the left, just followed the traffic for a while and got used to it. However later on that trip I rented an XL250, took off for a week....first day I stopped at a park, when I pulled out there was no traffic....until I met the first truck in a curve......! I was wrong....he was RIGHT....on the left! The good thing is that we were both going pretty slow! The morale....just do not forget which side you should be on, after many years of driving in America we have acquired some reflexes that might be hard to overcome.....!
Hey, I rented a 125 in Chang Mai 2 years ago. That and a seaside town was the only time I had the guts to ride 2 wheels. I don't know how the riders in Bangkok stay alive. I was sat in a mini-bus dropping off hotel clients one evening when there was a loud bang at the back. A female scooter rider, no helmet, had slammed in the back. Minutes later she rode past wobbling and holding her head!

Then of course when it rains (often), their pillions are holding up umbrellas whilst their bikes are weaving about as the wind catches it.



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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2009, 5:03 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Hey, I rented a 125 in Chang Mai 2 years ago. That and a seaside town was the only time I had the guts to ride 2 wheels. I don't know how the riders in Bangkok stay alive. I was sat in a mini-bus dropping off hotel clients one evening when there was a loud bang at the back. A female scooter rider, no helmet, had slammed in the back. Minutes later she rode past wobbling and holding her head!

Then of course when it rains (often), their pillions are holding up umbrellas whilst their bikes are weaving about as the wind catches it.

Obviously you guys have never ridden in Hanoi.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2009, 10:40 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for the feedback.
I especially appreciate the detailed feedback from voxmagna.

What is a slip road?
Is it what we would call a freeway entrance ramp?

Roger

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2009, 3:15 am
 
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I regularly travel through Asia for my work, and there is a mixture just within this region.

Japan: LHD
Korea: RHD
Philippines RHD
SIN: LHD
Indonesia: LHD
Vietnam: RHD
Cambodia: RHD
etc.

Until now, it takes a little to 'get the hang of it'. Voxmagna has made some very good points, especially about the sliproads or freeway entrance ramp. This is probably the single most dangerous part of swapping sides. If you get onto freeway driving the wrong way, if you are dealing with Asian or European traffic congestion, it can get pretty hairy. I hear on the radio about once a week attention to the car driving the wrong way on the Autobahn. Strange how it is usually in summer, when there are many Tourists around.

1 point Voxmagna didn't mention is when you are overly fatigued. This is when the brain sort of goes into the deafult or get home mode. Then you will without thinking, make a turn into oncoming traffic. I speak from experience....no accident, just skid marks in the undies...

Hanoi is something else, last week I was in Saigon again, and took the scooter for a run. In Saigon, at leasts the streets are wider then Hanoi.

Cheers,

Bloke
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