New rider: How to filter safely

Published: 10 December 2009

There's a great deal of pleasure to be had from filtering past hundreds of frustrated car and lorry drivers.

You are in charge of your own destiny and over time you are saving days of your life to do something more useful then clogging up the roads.

But you are much more vulnerable when you venture out into that clear air, so you need to take extra precautions, if you don't use dipped headlights, consider using them now, and be ready to use the horn.

Watch out for pedestrians dashing through the gaps, car doors opening, (especially true of taxis) frustrated drivers changing lanes suddenly or swinging into a U-turn without warning, and other vehicles emerging from side turnings.

Clues to look out for on the cars you are overtaking are hands moving on the steering wheel or car wheels turning towards you as the driver prepares to sling a Uey.

Maybe there's an unexpected gap appearing ahead as a courteous driver lets someone out of a sidestreet, or oncoming traffic is flashing its lights to let someone out at a junction.

Keep your speed low because you've got much less room to work in, always identify a place where you can rejoin the traffic flow.

A good trick is to time your arrival at the next set of lights just as they change to green.

That's when the queue of cars will string out while a driver lets the handbrake off or hunts for a gear, and a space will magically appear for you to slide into. 

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