With the end of summer it's time to rejoin the maelstrom of everyday life in the city and many drivers decide that the time has come to make the leap from four wheels to the functionality and economy of two wheels.
In most cases, these new users will come to the motorcycle with years of experience behind the wheel but old or very little as urban motorcyclists, so they must acquire new habits and be careful with the small traps that a city that is not so friendly to the street hides. bike as it should
It is true that at the beginning there are risks and obstacles but there is no need to be scared. With practice and experience, the transition to urban riding becomes even pleasant as long as prudence, civility and common sense govern.
Finally, remember that there are numerous courses aimed especially at these new users that are highly effective and highly recommended.
You have to forget about the many years behind the wheel that you may have and the habits that as a motorist you have been able to internalize. Driving a motorcycle has nothing to do with driving a car; braking distances, acceleration, agility and maneuverability are different...
The first step, therefore, is to recognize inexperience, be willing to learn from scratch and above all get used to the reactions, handling and behavior of the machine.
The protection offered by a body usually “numbs” the motorist over the other occupants of the public highway. When you ride a motorcycle, you "suddenly discover" what is on the other side of the windshield: pedestrians who cross in the most unexpected place, taxis that suddenly stop, cyclists who cross without looking, buses that invade a lane... You have to have a thousand eyes and learn to look at three places at the same time. Each intersection, each traffic light, each parking exit must be scrutinized in advance.
Either because the motorcycle starts moving too soon or because the car turns red, traffic lights are the environments in which the greatest number of motorcycle/car accidents occur.
The image of the motorcycle whizzing at full speed as soon as the light turns green has long ceased to be common... especially because fortunately there are plenty of forward spaces and it is no longer necessary to treat each traffic light as a MotoGP grid. As for pedestrians, no one can guarantee that even if it turns green for vehicles there will not be some walkers left behind. Therefore, calm at the traffic lights.
The city is not a friendly environment for motorcycles -or for bicycles, in fact-. There are curbs, lampposts, construction fences, obstacles on the road such as "Berliner cushions"... A lot of potential points of impact or imbalance. Getting used to living with all this urban paraphernalia and losing your fear of them is essential and the only way to do it is to face them prudently but decisively.
As long as you are not comfortable enough to ride in the center lane of a large avenue, it is very practical to do so in the one on the right and at the calm pace that works best. There will always be some impatient people who let themselves go with the horn but that does not mean that they are doing things wrong. The right lane is a guarantee of refuge and being able to park on the sidewalk or on a corner if you need to see things more clearly and also allows you to exit the roundabouts safely. And of course in those places where you can travel in the bus-motorcycle lane - it is legal in Madrid, Vigo, San Sebastián, Valencia and Seville - always do so.
One of the things that distinguishes the experienced urban rider from the novice is their ability to “read” in a fraction of a second the condition of the pavement and know if it is slippery, if it is wet, worn or has gravel. Obviously it is something that is acquired over time but beyond that you have to know that it is a priority to avoid tram tracks at all costs (a curse that had disappeared from cities but unfortunately they have been resurrected), manhole covers or strips of horizontal signage. Although it must be recognized that a great effort has been made to use non-slip paint, they are still dangerous when wet.
Mousing between cars is never recommended but it is also true that in certain circumstances -very dense traffic or traffic jam- it is usually the only way to move forward. It's a risky practice as, in the end, you end up depending on the motorist doing exactly what he's supposed to do... and that doesn't always happen.
Cars, buses and vans have blind spots so the driver will not be able to see us through the rear-view mirrors, even if he is having a correct and prudent attitude behind the wheel and has no intention of blocking our way. The best way to avoid them is to hurry until you are as parallel as possible to the driving position to make yourself seen or simply keep a greater safety distance.
Nobody is born taught and the city is not a circuit. You don't have to prove anything to anyone in the first steps as an urban motorcyclist. In case of doubt, you must always remember that you are now the weakest party and that there is nothing wrong with giving way even if you do not have to, slow down even if you can drive a little faster and brake earlier even if others do so later. . The learning process must be natural and progressive.
The fact that it circulates through the city does not mean that it should be rolled less protected. Of course, always a good helmet, some technical gloves -the hands are one of the parts of the body that are most injured in the event of a fall, since the natural instinct is to rest them on the ground- and a jacket with protections is the essential minimum. although in winter boots that protect the entire foot and ankle complete the equipment much better.