The Singapore Rider

What’s Abd?!!

Many aspiring riders talk of high-powered motorbikes that they want to own when they get that much coveted riding license. I was one of those as well with my dreams of owning a scrambler.

It has always been my dream to ride a scrambler to go trailing on the off-roads and get down and dirty. However, my dream didn’t quite materialise as before I could even go to shop to choose a bike, someone decided to pay me downpayment on a bike. Thus, ensuring that I’d be stucked to that bike for as long as I had to pay off the loan.

That person is my Dad.

I used to complaint a lot when I was given that rude shock but I’ve since grown attached to the bike, a Honda Phantom 200cc. That bike has served me well throughout my entire riding life since December 2004 till now. Thanks Dad!

Consider me lucky but I’ve never been involved in an accident other than those of my own silly mistakes which are negligible. I have never had a serious injury as a cause of those accidents (falls in carparks after washing bike and getting knocked by another bike when stationary).

My other friends though, have not been as lucky as me. I’ve had plenty of friends who have ended up with broken bones and incurring hospital bills as well as repair costs that perhaps could have been avoided had it not been for them giving in to temptations and dares.

I’m not saying that I’m not a daring person. If riding two bicycles down a flight of stairs at the age of 5 is not daring enough, I’m not sure what is. In being daring, there is a fine line between being daring and being stupid. ( Okay, the former sentence was one of stupidity. I was 5! Don’t expect much okay) Most people unfortunately, fall into the latter category and then perhaps blame it on some other external considerations except themselves.

I’ve raced on the public roads before in high traffic against some mats on their Yamaha RXZ or Kawasaki KRs but even in racing, I exercise safety first. I’d rather lose the race than to lose my life or the life of others who may be my pillion.

I find it ridiculous that some riders try to make those daring corners you regularly see on Grand Prix. These riders think that they can be the next grand prix champion or hopefully talent spotted. Unfortunately, the only ones who are going to spot them will either be that spot of sand/ gravel on the road or the men in white who are too lazy to pursue you, so decide to take a snapshot of your stunt.

For those of you who find it cool, well, it sure is cool if you can pull it off without getting injured or getting caught. Unfortunately, this is Singapore roads. If you haven’t realised, the roads are dusty and at times littered with gravel from those big trucks that accidentally leave them behind. These dust particles and gravels will cause you serious injury and damage to your beautiful motorcycle if you happen to corner over them.

Many Singaporeans also like to follow the trend overseas especially in Malaysia where Mat Rempits reign supreme. With their Yamaha 125Zs zooming and squeezing in between lanes nonchalantly, these riders feel like they are breaking wind speeds and achieving a new level of technical expertise. Unfortunately, not many make it out of the lanes alive or in good shape.

Just today, when I was going back home riding on my bike along the Pan Island Expressway, there was extremely heavy traffic which was caused by an accident in Lanes 1 and 2. The accident was caused by 2 motorcycles and a car.

My thoughts on this based on the positioning of the motorcycles?

Both motorcycles were obviously riding in between lanes. One was definitely riding at a higher speed and didn’t have enough time to step on the brakes when a car decided to change lanes without signalling thus, causing the accident. The casualities had already been transported away which is good news because I didn’t see the blue tent used to cover dead bodies. Phew!!

Anyway…. the importance of this post is to educate those aspiring riders on how to survive the roads of Singapore so that you can enjoy riding long enough. So, here it goes:

  • Choose a bike that you feel extremely comfortable handling (both feet firmly on ground, family jewels in good place, handle reach not tiring)
  • Buy a good helmet (light-weight, clear vision visor)
  • Always carry a raincoat (weather here is unpredictable, you never know when it rains!)
  • Wear gloves (to ensure your hands are protected in case you have fall)
  • Wear jeans or long pants (protects you well when you fall)
  • Wear shoes with good traction (i had my whole foot run over by my own exhaust when it got stucked. i was wearing slippers only)

  • Always strap your helmet proper! (so that it doesn’t fly! it’s happened to my pillion before on ECP)
  • Do not ride in between lanes at high speed (cars rarely signal to switch lanes when they spot an opportunity)
  • Check your side view mirrors before changing lanes
  • Switch your signal lights on before switching lanes (to inform other road users behind you)
  • Ensure that your brakes and tires are in good condition (duh!)

If you are a pillion, ensure the following:

  • SIT Properly! (most pillions love to shift their weight about, its dangerous okay)
  • Don’t distract your rider with your talks or your hands in sensitive areas (your rider needs to concentrate on the road)
  • If you rider talks, tell him to shut up and concentrate on the road
  • Ensure that you are also able to see the traffic in front of you (you are the riders eyes as well)
  • If you need to hold the rider, either put your arms around the waist or put it on the thighs. DO NOT hold the shoulders. Your rider is handling the bike, a wrong tug of the shoulder and both of you may end up somewhere else other than home.

Last but not least, to do all these – please ensure that you have a motorcycle.

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