The Danger of People in Traffic

<img width="200" height="167" class="floatleft" src="" alt="" />People are the most unpredictable part of life on the road. The downtown Bangkok area is likely the worlds biggest melting pot of all. There you'll find those from all sorts of social and financial backgrounds with catalogs of different attitudes towards road use and its users. None are quite the same.

In fairness, you have to say that given the millions of people using the Thai roads, the number of accidents and deaths are actually remarkable few. The trouble is, because you only live once and because you ride a motorcycle it's easy for that factor to alter and for you to become one of those statistics.

By the same token it should also be clear there are plenty of motorcycle fans out there who'll do all they can to help you along. I'm waving thanks to so many people these days for moving out of the way and letting me by. But along with the good guys there are the baddies, the ones that will compromise your safety.

Few want to harm you deliberately, though there are some who despite motorcycles and don't mind making life difficult for you. “The best place for motorcycles is under the front wheels of my car,” is a quote from a guy I meet once and was somehow angry because he had the idea I touched his car in a traffic jam. He is not a man alone. And it's this sort of person that needs to be spotted and coped with.
Do your best to identify the sorts of vehicles that might pose problems for you. Truckers are usually pretty considerate, but they do tailgate traffic and as they are big and heavy it's wise to respect them.

Do the same with the young guys and his friends trying to break the lap record in his hot-hatch. Keep an eye out for the fast car owners who'll see you and your big motorcycle as a red fag and do everything they can to beat you.

Drivers on their mobiles, playing with their satellite navigation, distracted by their kids, not using indicators or headlights, need to be viewed with suspicion as do those with door mirrors hanging off or damaged. Not all drivers using roads take the job too seriously, some don't even know what day of the week it is. But thats how it is, so deal with it.

The condition of the road and all its attendant furniture needs some serious consideration too. Most major routes are in pretty good order but there's is still a chance of finding a pothole or series of ruts just where you don't want them.

Road markings in urban areas can upset the handling of your motorcycle if they are raised too much, and they can be very slippery when it rains. Upcountry and the rural areas you're very likely to come across some slow-moving agricultural vehicle, mud from its wheels or wast from some animal. And debris from drinks cans to full exhaust systems can be found anywhere at anytime.

Take extra care when you're riding on unfamiliar territory. All those tricky bumps, junctions, cambers, blind corners etc that you know the location of on roads you're familiar with, can also be in evidence on roads you're not. It's impossible to predict what lies around the next corner.
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