Can You Pass This Motorcycle Traffic Test?

Photo - riding the crowds at the Leesburg, FL rally

Urban Warfare - Riding the Crowds at the Leesburg Rally in Florida

I grabbed this out of a post on the Motorcycle Enthusiasts Group on LinkedIn as it caught my eye. It’s an excerpt from the book “Sport Riding Techniques” by Nick Ienatsch which you can find on Amazon here . I own a coy of this book, it’s one of my favorite resources and one that will benefit any rider.

Traffic is rarely a problem on the great motorcycle roads in the Smoky Mountains, at least  the roads I favor. It’s hardly urban warfare, in fact it’s rare to see more than a handful of other vehicles. Still, the test is a pretty good judge of whether you will survive very long on a motorcycle.

How do you score on the test?

Title: Sport Riding Techniques
Author: Nick Ienatsch
Chapter 9: Urban Survival
Page: 105

Section: Should everyone ride a bike? No!


Frankly, some car drivers should never ride a motorcycle in traffic. I’m frequently asked by concerned parents/spouses if their loved one would be safe riding a bike in traffic, and judging a driver’s habits in a car helps to gauge his or her risk on a bike. Apply this test to any driver who wants to become a rider:

1. Are you always being encroached upon by other drivers? If so, you’re driving in too many blind spots and are unaware of how to drive in someone’s mirrors.

2. Do you honk your horn daily just to survive? Your horn should be your last line of evense. If you constantly rely on it to get through traffic safely, you aren’t reading traffic patterns well, and you’re in the wrong place – – probably in someone else’s blind spot.

3. Is every other driver on the road out to get you? It’s okay to think they’re out to get you, but drivers who really believe it drive in a timid manner. They don’t maintain their place in the flow of traffic, and are constantly taken advantage of by more aggressive drivers.

4. Does stopped traffic frequently surprise you, forcing you to brake hard every time you drive? If so, your eyes are too low and you aren’t looking far enough ahead of your car.

5. Do you have trouble accelerating onto a freeway to merge smoothly with traffic? You won’t survive on a motorcycle without a good deal of aggression and an ability to fit into traffic smoothly.

6. Are you honked at often? Drivers who get honked at usually aren’t paying attention, are daydreaming at traffic lights, or are changing lanes without looking or signaling. If you can’t stay totally focused on your driving, don’t try riding.

7. Are you constantly the recipient of road rage? Drivers get angry when their safety is threatened, and recipients of road rage are often doing something that distorts the normal flow of traffic badly enough to endanger lives.

8. Do you drive below the posted speed limit for safety? Those who do have no idea of how traffic really flows and are confusing speed with safety, a mistake that will have tough consequences on a motorcycle.

9. Do you neglect your turn signal switch? Communicating with other drivers reduces surprises, and your turn signal is a primary source of communication. If you don’t use it in your car, you aren’t truly working with traffic around you.

10. Do you believe everyone on the road is crazy and that it’s only a matter of time before one of these crazy drivers hits you? If you feel accidents are inevitable and your turn is coming, stay in that Volvo station wagon.

If you answered yes to one or two questions, you might be trainable. If you answered yes to more than a few, you may not enjoy or survive a motorcycle in traffic. It’s okay to be paranoid and believe that everyone on the road is poorly trained, but if that outlook distracts you from what you’re doing at the handlebar, then you must realign your priorities to quit worrying about aspects you can’t control and totally master those you can.


Posted by Chris Hultberg
Re -Posted by Tony (C. Anthony) Ladt

Thanks for posting this guys. I’m going to pull out the book this weekend and enjoy it again.