Riding on a motorcycle in the city streets is one of the most common type of transportation that is chosen by the citizens. It is fast, easy, and cheaper than any other types of transportation in some cases. With the increasing number of people and also vehicle, there are certainly things to be considered and watched out while riding motorcycle to ensure both safety and enjoyment for everyone. We should be aware that other people have various destinations, priorities, driving styles, and risk & rules awareness. Therefore, we have to be quick and smart to analyze our surrounding to evade any accidents possibilities. Here are 4 types of Jakarta road users for us to watch out.
1. The Angkot
Including Mikrolet/Oplet, Metromini, Kopaja, and other mass public transportation. Most of us, or probably maybe everyone one of us already know how angkot drive their vehicle recklessly and dangerously. They can stop everywhere and anytime without recognizing their surroundings first. Plus they produce a really nasty pollution that you do not want to breathe. I was once got into an accident while riding on my way home in Pasar Gembrong area. Suddenly a Metromini cut my way and stop right in front of me to drop off their passenger. I was shocked and gripped my front brake which then I lost my balance and fell down. What happened next? It ran off.
Method of caution: Stay away from them, not too close, and never drive behind them as possible. Always check your surroundings in case you have to make a quick decision. Do not bother honking them, they do not care.
One of the unique transportation, yet quite noisy and polluted. There are 2 common problems that we usually face when dealing with Bajaj. First is that they think that they are small enough to slip to every traffic jam, but it is not rare to see that they are stuck and caused traffic jam for motorcyclist on the left lane. Second is that they have this marvelous maneuverability that you can never imagine. They can easily take U turn, and the “easy” part also means that they rarely check for their surroundings before doing the U turn. And the next thing we know is either we stop, take over, or crashed to it.
Method of caution: When you see a Bajaj is going to take over to the left and looks like that it will not fit, honk so that you can pass through first. If it does not work, be patient and wait for opportunities to slip pass the Bajaj. I do not recommend waiting behind Bajaj for too long since they also produce nasty pollution. And for the maneuverability, watch out for Bajaj that is stopped and honk if they start to take U turn without checking its surrounding. Best practice: Just stop. Let them pass.
3. Pedestrian and Cyclist
Even though that they do not really walk and ride on the main road (usually on side walks), some of them might go on and walk on the main road regardless of the dangerous. Often we see that since there are street vendors or damaged side walks which cause pedestrian and cyclist have to walk on the main road. We cannot blame them, but we have to be careful. Some of them are unaware of the surrounding and walk right through in the main road. There are possibility that we could hit them from the back, but we can prevent that. Another case that we could see is when they cross the street carelessly or by not following the rules such as on the zebra cross or too lazy to take the bridge.
Method of caution: When you see a dense road with street vendors or, if visible, damaged side walks, bring your speed down and stay away from the most left lane. If it is not possible (usually because of traffic jam), ready to honk them if they are careless to snap them out before there are any accidents. For the careless street crosser, this might be pretty hard especially at night. If you see people (about to) walk or even run while crossing the street, honk them if you are too fast so you can pass through first, or stop as slowly as possible to let them pass. Also warn other drivers before you so that they are aware of the situation.
4. Cars and Other Motorcyclist
The majority of the road users are the cars and the motorcycles. What will happened if there are too many of them while the road capacity is limited? Traffic jam everywhere, and everyone will try to get to their destination as fast as they can which may cause hectic situation. There are various cases that I cannot explain one by one, but the method is the same.
Method of caution: As a motorcyclist, try to be at the most left lane because that is where the spaces for motorcycle is provided. Maintain the speed depending on the situation.
There you go for the things that you have to watch out while riding your motorcycle (and some tips actually useful for those who drive cars as well). This may not be an official safety tips from the professional organization or government, but it is what I see and experience myself during my first ride until now, and I hope that we can learn something from it. No one can measure 100% of their safety on the road, but we can always try to avoid anything bad from us. Additional points for you to keep in mind as well is to respect other road users and tolerate for their mistakes. Why? Because even us could make mistakes somehow at anytime, and things will smoothly when we respect, smile, and remind them “Drive safely.” As always everyone, Enjoy and Ride Safely!
Founder and Writer of Inside Helmet
Motorcycle Blog and Vlog Indonesia
Ride Outside, Write Insight