Newbie Test Question

Hi, I’m new to biking. I’ve just (somehow) managed to pass my Mod 1 now waiting to take my mod 2.

I’m alot more confident on the road than on the manouvers side so haven’t got too much of a problem but I notice on this forum people mention that you have to do shoulder checks whenever you move from stopped, even in qued traffic. I normally do SCs when I pull of or when I change direction/position on the road but I’m not used to SCs every time I move in qued traffic, red light etc.

My question is does it have to be shoulder checks or can you just check your mirrors?

I just did a short ride around town trying to do SCs every time I move away but find it a bit off putting, I think it might be due to not wanting to keep traffic waiting behind me. I think if I have to for the test I will be remember to do them but hope it wont push something else out of my brain.

Putting my instructors head on, one of the reasons why getting some formal instruction from a local school is so important is that every examiner has their own particular likes and dislikes.

Some are quite happy for you to rely on mirror checks with the occasional and appropriate shoulder check, some like shoulder checks in preference to mirrors, and to this end a local instructor will know what the local examiner likes to see.

The bottom line is that it is no good looking over your shoulder when there is danger developing ahead of you as you need both eyes on the road, but in thesame vein there are times when you will need to take rear observation over the shoulder because of your blind spot.

No two examiners are alike so I really would recommend you book up for a lesson. Even if you only have the one lesson it will point you in the right direction.

Lessons are just way too expensive. In the London area instructors are just taking the ****. Ok, if
you have spare cash then the more training you get the better, but when you’re strapped and
relying on a bike for transport, the DIY route is the only option.

Contructive advice is more useful than advising paid instruction that some of us simply can’t afford.

A school should be able to give a reasonable price for a one off lesson, if not then shop around, there are plenty out there.

To give constructive advice on forum is difficult when the level of riding ability is an unknown, and no two examiners are the same.

I could tell you exactly what the examiners are looking for in my area, but this will be different to what Examiners in london are looking for.

Bear in mind thatn you can be failed for doing too few shoulder checks, you can be failed for doing them at the wrong time and in the wrong place and you can also be failed for doing too many, it is all about getting the balance right, and it is impossible to give that advice without seeing the individual concerned first.

For the L test a rider has to do it by the numbers (unlike advanced where it is far more flexible), and whilst many learners probably feel they are doing things right, it is not until they have had a proper practical critique that things can be corrected if required.

I can totally agree and see your point but cash is low unfortunatly. I suppose just an answer assuming everything else is ok?

Do the shoulder checks.

While some trainers will be ok with this or be ok with that, none of them will penalise you for doing everything perfectly.

I will do my best for you then :wink:

Think of a shoulder check before you move off from stationary and before you stop, they are two pre-requisites.

A shoulder check is also required before you turn or change position, but it must be done early enough for you to be able to react should you see something on your blind side, but late enough that between looking and dealing with the hazard there is no opportunity for something to come up on the blind side.

For left hand turns, a left hand shoulder check is required before committing yourself to the turn, but the approach SC and the exit SC will be both over your right shoulder.

Make sure that when you do a shoulder check that it is visible to the examiner, and try and think where and when to do them so it has a logical theme to it. If you do a SC just for the sake of it, then you will get marked down, and if you try and do a shoulder check when you should be concentrating on the hazard in front of you, that could actually fail you, so timing is also important.

By all means use mirrors in conjunction with shoulder checks, but remember the examiner cannot see your eyes move, he can see your head turn.

Always do your shoulder checks whilst travelling upright and in a straight line.

If you start looking over your shoulder whilst going through a turn or corner it will cause oversteer and the bike will try to travel in the direction you are looking. It also means that if you are looking over your shoulder whilst going through the corner, turn or bend, you have done it too late.

I hope that this helps clarifies some points for you.

My addition would be at traffic lights … I was told to keep your eye on the traffic lights if you are one of the first 3 vehicles … or 3 vehicles in front of you if you are vehicle 4 or more in the queue.As soon as either (a) lights change to red&amber - or - (b) 3 vehicles ahead starts to move off … right mirror - left mirror - right shoulder - (and also left shoulder - but only if you are in either the right hand lane - or if there is a cycle lane) … by the time you’ve done that … it’ll be time to ease the clutch out because the light will be on green - or the vehicle directly in front of you will have started to move…

You’ll have demonstrated awareness/observation/forward planning and won’t be holding up traffic up.

I don’t see how you could be marked down for it - and it’s not a bad habit to get yourself into … (though I don’t do it as often now as I did when I was preparing for test - something to work on!)

One thing I’ve always done in driving tests (and I’ve only had 2 :wink: ) is set my mirrors slightly wrong on purpose. That way I have to slightly move my head in order to see behind, making it obvious I am checking my mirror. Bish bash bosh, job’s a goodun :cool:

way i think of it

If My foot goes down …Shouldercheck

If moving position (substanial movement lane change etc )

If turning Left or right …

and as said … if ahead seems more busy than behind thats where my eyes stay :wink: and mirrors come into play …