Riding in London

I spend about 3 hours a day riding around central London as part of my job; here’s a few observations.

Buses seem to be relatively considerate.

Taxis are OK, and generally follow most road rules, but never at any point seem to realise that there is anybody else on the road. Just stay in front of them!

Pedestrians; in the City of London, they all appear to be too rich to look before crossing the road. I presume they usually pay somebody to do it for them, but when they’re not there the bankers can be a little dangerous.

Bikes (pedal kind); commuters are OK, but those dressed in trendy clothing in areas like Hackney and Islington, with the prerequisite no lights, no helmet, and a ‘vintage’ bike, shouldn’t be on the road. They REALLY shouldn’t. Yes, they may be environmentally sound, but this doesn’t make it OK to shoot through red lights. I saw one knocked off the other day; he stopped at a red, then decided to go, and got knocked off by a car going over the crossroads. It was 100% the cyclist’s fault and I hope it made him think; he was unhurt as it happens.

Learner riders (sorry if this offends you). Hmmm. In my opinion, the biggest peril to bikers on the road in London. From what I’ve seen, around 75% of bikers on the roads are learners. I don’t understand this; its really cheap to get a bike license so why just ride on L plates? I don’t understand why learner riders are allowed out on their own; LOADS of people pass they’re test purely after instructional rides, I don’t believe solo practise is necessary, in fact it probably hurts their chances of passing given the amount of bad habits they all have. THe amount of learners that see a big bike, and decide to try to prove themselves by storming past then swerving in front of me…the other day, I was at the lights along with a few other big bikes, and a chav on a scooter with L plates. The chav sets off before the amber light, and manages to coax a wheelie out of his hairdrier. If that had gone wrong, there would have been 4 or 5 bikes on the floor. Idiot. The thing is, no matter how many wheelies he pulls, or how fast he goes, nobody without a license is going to get any respect from me in terms of their riding skill. If riding skill is present, why isn’t a license also? Instruction and training should be COMPULSORY, not optional; the CBT is NOT enough. It only cost me £300 for all of my lessons to test (well it would have done if I hadn’t done a DAS) and it can’t be much more in London.

Learner couriers; insane. I don’t understand this at all. Working as a courier, yet not being up to test standard, is completely insane. How on EARTH do they get insurance? My courier insurance when I had it was £600 and I have a lot of experience and NCB!!!

Rant over. Learners, please get some training and get rid of your L plates.

dont foget 16 year olds on chav peds MUST ride with L Plates. I believe 17 Years olds must on 125cc too…so until they are old enough the L Plates dont mean much. When i was 17 and younger i was a danger on the road in both my car and on my bicycles…Teenagers dont have fear or an understanding of the danger they pose…to them its all how fast can i go and what stunts can i pull…i was the same and i imagine alot of other people are too…Best to give em a wide berth and hope they survive :slight_smile:

counter-rant:
Leave it out! Why don’t I give you my bank account number so you can transfer the funds required to pay for my training and test? - £470 (3 days with Advantage).
I don’t know how much you earn, nor do I need/ want to, but despite this being a reasonable price IMO, it is not ’ really cheap ’ as you put it.

I know that there are a couple of things I could improve upon as regards my riding, and ‘[] L [/color]’ plates should never be used as an excuse for poor road skills, but there are just as many riders out there with no '[] L [/color]'s to possibly explain their bad & dangerous riding habits.

I do like the way everyone in London fits into a nice little Pidgeon hole… apart from me apparantly?:unsure: Where am I? In fact where are all other Non Courier non learner motorbike riders? Are we all perfect? :wink:

well I know I am :wink:

I do think that maybe a one-day training session is not really enough for people, and anyone that I know of I recommend a scootersafe day almost every time I see them. But then everyone is different I see numpties with L plates and I see full licence holders drive like numpties (only when I look in the mirror though…:)), and without the CBT I would not be riding bikes today…

+1 - LB.com the steroetypers heaven.

My riding style pidgeonhole is as a devilishly handsome, Casey Stoner embarrassing, GSXR riding god. Everyone else is trying to kill me…:stuck_out_tongue:

If only there werent CBT’s!!! then my Retina might not be burned from that one piece on the BH track day! :wink:

hehe should have been quicker - then you would not have been behind me :wink:

agree with you
barely have any money

and although you might pick up some bad habits from riding with l plates
you will also gain alot of confidence riding on the road
which is hard to get if you only spend 3 days on the road and are then expected to pass your test

The thing about L-plates is they don’t really tell the whole story. There are plenty of good and experienced riders out there on L-plates and quite a few are LB’ers. I was on L-plates for three years after I passed my CBT by choice- I had no desire to get a bigger bike at the time as I wanted to gain proper experience on a 125 first. I’m really glad I did and for me the idea of a new rider going straight from a 125 to to say a sports 600 in a matter of weeks would not be sensible. I know a lot of people do these ‘crash’ (!) courses but IMO there is no substitute for practice on a smaller bike before you progress.

Garret makes a good point about the expense. With training my full test cost me over a grand and thats not to mention the upgrade to a new bike and new equipment etc. etc.

My answer to this is that you should have thought about the cost of learning to ride it before you bought one! Its insane to think ‘I can afford a bike, but I can’t afford to learn to ride it to the required standard yet’. This is dangerous for yourself and other people.

thats rubbish
he can ride to an acceptable standard or he never would of passed his cbt
and its not as if hes crashed yet
unlike a lot of people who buy big bikes straight away
as for the money
getting into something that you dont really have the money for
just shows you really love it
and shouldnt this be encouraged

But the definition of ‘acceptable standard’ is able to pass the test. What my point is is that its insane to let learners loose after 1 day’s training; its nowhere near enough. I’m sure a lot of learners ARE an acceptable standard; in which case; take the test!!!

So, are you having a go at me and fellow L plated riders for the ‘greater good of all road users’ or are you just fkd off because some idiot cut you up today? (that was a rhetorical question BTW)

Perhaps you should voice your opinions to the DVLA, they be open to your suggestions.

I’d be interested to know your biking/ road using history.
How long have you been riding?
What sort of test did you take?
How much training?
How much further (post test) training have you taken?
Any offs? Whose fault?
Previous road use (car, bicycle etc)

Finally, what is a learner? What does the L mean? Fuktifiknow!

@ FF - cheers mate!

I’d love to stick my oar in - but there’s barely room, godammit!

I - and all other L-platers - should bloody well pass our tests. It’d make us better, safer to ourselves and others (and probably quicker, too).

Trouble is, we don’t all have the money/time. And (we know this because of gaffertape’s acceptance of pushbike commuters, who need no licence whatsoever but are “ok”; high praise from someone who condemns bike couriers’ riding ability, I feel!) having a full licence isn’t the benchmark of being a safe and careful rider, anyhow; being a safe and careful rider is.

And I reckon you can do that on anything from a 1400GTR to a CG125 to a pogo stick.

L-plater this, L-platers that…
if we ban L-platers who’s gonna deliver pizza? :smiley:

And if -gulp- they ban pizza ?

Well said garret , i don’t really need to comment now.
Except to say most of us if truthful should be displaying L plates , there is a lot of learning to be done.
Unlike gaffertit i am prepared to respect most people who take up motorcycling and if i see an L plate it is an indication for me to exercise more care and be more forgiving of that person as i am the more experienced road user .
someone riding like a nob without L plates is more of an unexpected hazard .

could go on but i won’t…:satisfied:

14 years of riding plenty of offs and plenty of track days, only ever ridden a 600cc or above and like to think i’m a reasonable rider. However if you ever follow me in London then expect to get lost. I personally think that most of the accidents in london are down to people not knowing where they are going. What a total mess of roads and signs. How anyone is expected to get from one side to the other is beyond me. One way systems, dead ends, road works, road closures etc etc

Gaffertape, mmmm does the name have relevance?

Be patient, you had to learn once and so does everyone else. Just be more observant.

[quote]
import_125 (12/05/2008)

I’d love to stick my oar in - but there’s barely room, godammit!

I - and all other L-platers - should bloody well pass our tests. It’d make us better, safer to ourselves and others (and probably quicker, too).

quote]i agree with that, BUT i also think some people do need time to gain skills and confidence, this is were L plates and CBT’s come into play, they are very usefull. if we lived in a more civilised world everyone would take it as such that an L plate means LEARNER-as it indeed does, some seem to forget this!, probably a bit wobbly, not as confident as a full licience holder with big bike experience. So back off give them a break, i do out on the road, if i get a cocky one, one that wants to race everyone, wich granted ya do, then wait till its safe and pass them. Today i was filtering, came up behind a young lady on a scoot, L plated up, she moved to one side for me, she stopped behind a car in traffic and did a shoulder check to see where i was, i let her go infront of me, tis not a big thing. i have one that always lets me pass in teh mornings, my new mate, shes kool!

pedestrians puzzle me…had some close calls with them, they just dont look!! lemmings they are lemmings…oh rush hour time…its lemming time!

and cyclists…youy get good observant ones, and you get idiot ones!!

bit like L platers…GOOD and BAD in all:Doh and one more thing…Learner Couriers, a very good mate of mine happnens to be one, well 6 months or so in now, gd help you if you meet her:w00t:its the brazilian couriers that are nuts! proper nuts!