Singapore Expats Forum

Guidelines to local driving patterns (motorcycle focused)

Discuss anything relating to automotive here, from car leasing to buying a vehicle.

Sponsored by:
Image
AVIS Car Rental
User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Guidelines to local driving patterns (motorcycle focused)

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:53 pm

The traffic in Singapore at first may appear chaotic and extremely dangerous but in fact it follows some common patterns. If one learns these patterns then riding motorbike in Singapore is safe or at least not any more dangerous than in most of the "Western" countries. On top of it vast majority of the drivers are not aggressive.

General observations.
  • vehicle direction change indicators are rarely used.
  • if a motorbike behaves like a car it is treated with more respect / attention and stays safer; this is in opposition to some local riding habits that puts the riders in more inferior/dangerous position, namely: allowing to be pushed out of way by the cars (use horn immediately), unsafely changing the lane in front of another vehicle, joining other motorcycles "swarm" without keeping proper distance, traveling high speed between the lanes.
  • even in bad weather / visibility many cars don't use headlights
  • riding motorcycle between the lanes is common and under heavy traffic condition it may be even a safer option (i.e. in case of a car pile up accident); if traffic condition is good (fast, not so many cars) behaving like a car is recommended
  • bigger (size) and more visible motorbike, more safe is the ride
  • cabs, expat driven SUVs and other big private vehicles may require extra attention while managing the biker's safety
  • the same applies to the fellow riders
  • many drivers seem to think that everything is possible if it's done slowly
Common cases in road traffic.

Frequency scale (for everyday commuting):
1. Seldom but happens
2. Occasionally (few times a year)
3. Moderate (once a month)
4. Frequent (once a week)
5. Very frequent (few times a week)

1) Motorbike traveling at the fastest lane directly behind a car column. A car traveling on the left, adjacent lane will try to join the fastest lane directly in front of the motorcycle rather than behind it.
Image
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: yes

2) Queue at the exit (i.e. from a highway). While traveling on the lane adjacent to the exit lane a car from the exit lane joins back the highway trafic (usualy to jump the queue).
Image
Frequency: 3-4
Motorcycle specific: no

3) The road diverges into two separate roads. A driver decides at the last moment to go the other road crossing the chevron marked area.
Image
Frequency: 3-4
Motorcycle specific: no

4) A car on the merging lane joins the main traffic without respecting right of way.
Image
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: no

5) A car turning left goes first right before turning left (to make it more easy for the driver to turn).
Image
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: yes

6) A car does not stay within line marks.
Image
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: no

7) A car intending to join the traffic waits until its desired lane is available.
Image
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: no

8) A car goes straight forward from the left turn only lane.
Image
Frequency: 1-3 depending on the junction
Motorcycle specific: no

9) Queue jumping at the exit lane.
Image
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: no

10) Queue jumping at the junction.
Image
Frequency: 4
Motorcycle specific: no

11) A car for whatever reason changes the lane. It slowly pushes the motorcycle out of the lane.
Image
Frequency: 3-5 depending on the size and visibility of the motorbike.
Motorcycle specific: yes

12) Vehicles joining the traffic often go half-way to the traffic and only then stop (or not). Special cases:
  • from any car park lot (malls, condos, hdbs) a car leaves first the lot half way without paying too much attention or not paying it at all
  • any vehicle parked or stopped on the street or sidewalk may at any moment join the traffic. Even with a single vehicle moving on the road, the parked vehicle may just move in front of it.
  • any vehicle coming from a side road or a property
Frequency: 4-5
Motorcycle specific: no

13) Vehicles joining the traffic in front of other vehicles never accelerate - it should be expected to brake even if the distance between the joining vehicle and the vehicles already within the lane is sufficient for a smooth riding/driving.
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: no

14) If there are two or more one direction lines leading to a junction expect vehicles to change the lane at the last possible moment just in front of the junction or traffic lights.
Frequency: 5
Motorcycle specific: no
Last edited by x9200 on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 5:30 pm, edited 13 times in total.

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:56 pm

Any conclusions? I think my dad was probably right (Police Officer). Motorcycle rider = organ donor

User avatar
the lynx
Governor
Governor
Posts: 5239
Joined: Thu, 09 Dec 2010
Location: Midgar

Postby the lynx » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:00 pm

Wow. Just wow. x9200, you really did the whole post from scratch?

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:08 pm

Yep, no choice.

And yes, forgotten about it. - it is generally safe to ride in Singapore.
I will modify the original post.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:11 pm

I feel it, the anger; or maybe, the resignation.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:20 pm

Actually nothing of this sort. Just it is pretty frequent people here think it is very unsafe, while it is not. For me riding in Singapore is at this moment very neutral. Only extreme situations like somebody ignoring me when I warn him with the horn make me angry.

bgd
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1176
Joined: Wed, 25 Jul 2007

Postby bgd » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:22 pm

Very good post. Expect the behaviour illustrated and Sg is actually a reasonably safe place to ride.

I am most wary of other riders, especially scooters and smaller bikes (pretty much 99% of the biking population). Most seem to have no idea at best and a death wish at worst.

luminicious
Member
Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue, 09 Apr 2013
Location: Singapore

Postby luminicious » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:52 pm

Thanks for the post!
I myself became a much more observant person since I started riding a bike and yes, some drivers in Singapore are a-holes. Especially when you see them driving in Malaysia lol!

singapore eagle
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun, 30 Jun 2013

Postby singapore eagle » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:53 pm

This is good stuff, but I'm not sure about this bit: "motorcycle riding between the lanes is common and often appears to be more safe than riding within the lane (i.e. in case of a car pile up accident)".

When you look at your no.1 and no.11 - which are big issues - I'd say that riding between the lanes makes you a lot more vulnerable.

singapore eagle
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun, 30 Jun 2013

Postby singapore eagle » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:56 pm

One other thought: a motorcyclist (or cyclist or even a car) in the inside lane has to be very watchful for cars coming out of side roads. The practice here is to stop three feet over the white line, not behind the white line.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:59 pm

I agree to some extent, at least there should be some further explanation.
What I mostly mean is in very heavy traffic. Under good traffic condition I never do this.

bgd
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1176
Joined: Wed, 25 Jul 2007

Postby bgd » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 4:34 pm

x9200 wrote:I agree to some extent, at least there should be some further explanation.
What I mostly mean is in very heavy traffic. Under good traffic condition I never do this.


Agreed, if the traffic is flowing there is no need. I tend to do it at lights. If some one is going to rear end you, it often happens there.

There was a study done in OZ (NSW I think) that showed it was safer for bikes to filter through stationary traffic rather than sit at the back of the queue because of the rear end risk. As a result of that they legalised filtering in that situation.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 5:13 pm

Added some more cases at the end of the list. Later I will include some pictures where necessary.

Feel free to suggest any additional points that may be useful to add.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10413
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:39 pm

Steve1960 wrote:Any conclusions? I think my dad was probably right (Police Officer). Motorcycle rider = organ donor


Not really. I've ridden motorcycles hundreds of thousands of miles and in many countries, including Singapore for more than 7 years.

It requires proficiency, beginning with situational awareness. SIPDE - Scan, Identify, Plan, Decide, Execute.

It means being out in front of the traffic, and by that I mean looking ahead to see potential danger zones to stay clear of.

But in spite of rigorous training, it is amazing how many Singapore and JB cyclists don't follow even the most rudimentary safety procedures... for example, staying out a a blind spot or trying to filter around a car in a turn on the inside position... you're just asking to get whacked.

I find Singapore a much safer place to drive than in Houston, and for several reasons. First, speeds are lower, increasing the time to react to situations. Second, the vehicles are smaller, providing for more space in lanes. Third, although there are assholes in Singapore, there are far fewer of them than in Houston... the angry ones, the aggressive ones, the texters.

Lane splitting has been proven to be safer and more beneficial to both riders and drivers in a study done in California, the only state that allows it. It's safe to do in Singapore under the right circumstances.

Every rider should buy and memorize "Proficient Motorcycling"... truly a life saver. Actually, every driver should read it as well because it is all about identification of danger.

http://www.amazon.com/Proficient-Motorc ... 1889540536

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10413
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:45 pm

singapore eagle wrote:One other thought: a motorcyclist (or cyclist or even a car) in the inside lane has to be very watchful for cars coming out of side roads. The practice here is to stop three feet over the white line, not behind the white line.


Inside lane = lane closest to the center stripe or boulevard, outside lane is the one closest to the curb... so I think you got your choice of words backwards.

I make it a point to ride in the inside lane whenever possible (but please, if you do this, keep up with traffic... don't piss people off).

Lane position is always important. If you are in the outside lane, you should always ride next to the inside lane, not closer to the curb. This lane blocks your position from drivers in the inside or middle lane, and gives maneuvering space if someone does start to pull out. If you are in the inside lane you should ride closer to the middle or outside lane and not near the center stripe or boulevard.

Additionally, when you identify a vehicle on a sign road or leaving a parking garage, you should at least flash your headlights on/off or bright/dim to create a change of view that the driver will pick up.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Cars & Motorcycles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests