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Old 04-22-2013, 09:31 PM   #99
Unsafe at any speed
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Wherethewildthingsare, AK
Oddometer: 412

Thanks for posting your videos and for going out on a limb to take criticism (and advice) from other inmates.

I've only had the pleasure of riding in the US and during several trips to the Philippines. From the general consensus, though, riding in the Philippines seems to mirror conditions in many other SE Asian countries. Traffic and the behavior of drivers seemed chaotic at first, but after a while, patterns and predictability emerged from what first appeared to be chaos.

On even major roads there, one might pass typical farm animals, including water buffalo pulling sledges, loose herds of cows, goats, and the usual dogs, chickens, etc. It is fully expected to see tarps covered with drying rice covering half a lane, sometimes at blind corners.

In addition to pedestrians, pedicabs (pedal side-car rigs) and bicycles on the roads, there are motorized vehicles of all speeds, ranging from 10 kmph tractors to 30 kmph tricycles (motorcycle side-car taxis), to slow jeepneys (local buses) making frequent stops, to large 100+ kmph buses, trucks and privately owned vehicles. There are many small scooters and motorcycles weaving through the other traffic. Vehicles often travel after dark with non-existent to very poor lighting, i.e., sometimes no headlight(s) or taillights or brakelights that flash white or blue, instead of red, etc. Also, many small motorbikes have no mirrors.

I compare road conditions there to fish behavior underwater, where fish of all different sizes and speeds have learned to co-exist and swim together.

Something that has particularly impressed me is how well most small motorcycle riders maintain good lane discipline. There really isn't much choice for a slower rider who is like a small fish in a big pond, but it does require an entirely different mindfulness to ride a smaller, slower bike compared to riding faster than the flow of traffic on a big bike. Riding a little faster than most vehicles is certainly preferable and usually safer, in my opinion, at least if it's done skillfully on a good bike.

A few drivers (and some riders) pull bonehead moves but most show far greater situational awareness than the average motor vehicle operator in the US. In a country where traffic regulations are almost never enforced, most people understand that breaking the laws of physics always has consequences.

While riding in the Philippines, I've made many passes and other maneuvers on a bike that I would never consider doing in the US. Lane splitting takes on an entirely new definition in Manila, where sidewalks can serve temporary duty as detour routes around traffic! It does require a different attitude to go with the flow there and maintaining a sense of humor is essential. I've always tried to respect the laws of physics, though, as they have definite boundaries! In any case, it's always an individual's judgement call as how to best deal with the endless variety of interesting situations that arise on the roads.

When in the Philippines, I do try to remember that I'm a long way from home, to always wear the best gear possible just in case, and to plan on arriving safely so I can ride again tomorrow.

Rackemcrackem screwed with this post 04-23-2013 at 02:00 PM Reason: speeling and grammur
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