'Think bike' – knowing the rules apply to all road users
2 October 2013:
The AA advises vulnerable road users how to be safe on the roads
Like any road user, motorcyclists are required to follow the rules of the road, and after the high death toll over the 2012-2013 festive season, there have been calls for tighter restrictions on motorcyclists in an attempt to reduce the number of fatalities.
The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) says that one way in which this could be achieved is through a ban on lane splitting. Although technically legal in South Africa, lane splitting refers to a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower vehicles to overtake and move to the front of the traffic. This means motorcyclists are often seen straddling the lanes and overtaking between cars. While there are still discussions taking place between the motorcycling fraternity and the South African government about how to make roads safer, unfortunately none of the proposed changes have taken place yet.
Some other basic road rules that motorcyclists are required to follow include:
- All wheels of the motorcycle must be in contact with the surface of the road at all times. (Sorry, no more wheelies.)
- Motorcycles must ride in single-file on the road. (A lane is considered to be a road.)
- Only one motorcycle at a time may overtake another vehicle travelling in the same lane.
- While lane splitting is currently legal, motorcycles must travel within the lane lines (inside the lane itself), not on the painted lane line and not weaving back and forth between lanes or riding next to a vehicle. The only exception to this is when overtaking.
One of the key things to remember is that a motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on the road, and while it may give the rider the opportunity to skip traffic, it increases the risk of death in the event of a serious crash. Safety needs to come from all road users – drivers need to be more aware of motorcyclists and motorcyclists must behave as they would behind the wheel of a car.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1000