Using flyovers etc in BKK on motorcycle

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by johngooding, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Could those familiar with travelling in or through Bangkok give me a heads up on whats OK and whats not in practice rather than the law.
    My GPS has been told to avoid tollways which I know are out of bounds, but still directs me over the flyovers, which someone tells me I should not use. Been in and out twice but not been stopped yet. If you do not use the overpass or flyover, end up on roundabouts and sometimes traffic lights, much slower.
    Also coming from Saraburi down highway 1, apparantly one should use the frontage road, not the main road, again I have not been stopped on this.
    Any experience or recommendations please, how does one know where one can go without fines etc
     
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  3. Rustic Charm

    Rustic Charm Ol'Timer

    Unfortunately it's a bit of a crapshoot. Some flyovers you can use but I would say most you can't.
    They'll usually be signposted and some are policed at certain times/dates so it's often a matter of luck but if I see other bikes ahead of me using them then I'll follow. Be aware they like to set up checkpoints at lights or junctions.

    The frontage road is for bikes but bigger bikes can usually get away with being on the main highway if you say on the right at a decent speed. This applies to the likes of Bang Na-Trat and Rama II. There are uniformed mafia posted on the left shoulder and occasionally motorcycle cops.

    Also be aware that Bangkok mafia like to enforce the 'stay-on-the-left' rule when short of cash. If possible avoid Bangkok altogether.
     
  4. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Thanks Rustic for the reply. I only go to BKK on the bike if I have to, but will now be a bit more aware of what to look out for. Cheers John
     
  5. tomdegerth

    tomdegerth Ol'Timer

    I use flyovers quite often in BKK, but some precaution is needed. Normally cops are out to stop bikes in the morning or around noon. I dont see them that often stopping bikes after 3-4 pm, and rarely at night if its not a busy road with clubs etc.
    If the road you 'fly over' is very jammed, then it seems ok for bikes to take the flyover. But heck, when there is a jam, its even ok to ride on the pavement so...
    To me it seems that the shorter the flyover is, the more ok it is for bikes to be on it, avoid the really long ones like the one passing the mall Bang Kapi on Ramkhamhaeng rd.
    I was going to say something more, but now i forgot it, ha...
    Ok have a nice trip in town,
    Tom

    Ps. Roads were fantastic in town during the newyear holidays, we went from Khao San Rd to Seacon Square in 15 min, just after midnight. No traffic at all.
     
  6. mikerust

    mikerust Ol'Timer

    With my limited experience and observations motorcycles are not allowed on 2 lane overpasses where there is no seperate shoulder. Of course this is difficult to judge when approaching at........

    If you look carefully you will find this is the case most of the time. I.e. Rama 4 over Sathorn has a "narrow" shoulder so is OK. But the overpass over Silom does not so is not OK.

    Best advise. "When in Rome........" So do what other motorbikes are doing. All this left lane stuff is BS. ALL traffic must keep to the left except when overtaking. This applies to cars as well.

    I even bought "the book" and can find no reference to motorcycles being restricted to the left lane.

    BTW on BangNa Trat west of the outer ring road there are signs prohibiting motorbikes from entering the "middle" lanes and police often stand opposite Central BangNa. Interestingly there are no signs to tell motorcyclists coming from Chonburi that they should exit the middle lanes and move to the service road.

    As my Thai is not very good/non existent I have started carrying"the Book" then I use it and pantomime Thai to ask what rule/law I have contravened
     
  7. road2dharma

    road2dharma New Member

    True that some are ok (example the ones on Viphavadee Road near Central Ladprao, where there is no other option), but usually where there is a frontage road route, the flyovers will be signposted as not for motorbikes.

    About enforcement, I agree with the previous poster that USUALLY after 4pm (once rush hour hits and at night) there are no checks on the flyovers but this may not be always true. I got stopped near Panthip Plaza after 6pm along with a few other Thai riders a few months back, and once even late at night in the same place (though I was so far right the police couldn't reach me before I went past them).

    Fortunately when stopped I employ the usual routine. Speak as fast as you can, in heavy accent (I usually slip into a North London drawl or occasionally strong Australian or Jamaican just for more fun). Ask lots of useless questions, smile constantly, point at your watch a lot and pretend to understand absolutely nothing the policeman says to you in Thai or English. 95% of the time they get bored and look for an easier target and just wave you on.

    5% of the time they push you to present a license really hard - "YOU .... LICEN... LICEN.... YOU" I won't ever give it to them, as then they'll give you a ticket. Instead I usually show them my Thai Government ID (handy to have one), which normally softens them up. Otherwise just play the dumb farang, just waste their time in a jolly way and most likely they'll wave u on. Just keep smiling, never get angry.

    Best to always employ this technique, even if you speak good Thai it may not help much. If you hand over your licence they invariably write you a ticket, unless you slip a 100 in with the licence.

    Stopped dozens of times (almost always I was at fault for not being on the left etc) but never fined.
     
  8. Rustic Charm

    Rustic Charm Ol'Timer

    What's been the result so far? Let off? Ticketed? Fined?
     
  9. danwhite

    danwhite Ol'Timer

    If you are not allowed that will generally be signposted..... And you will see other bikes staying off the flyover.....

    Bang Na Trat is fine on the highway.... The highway from Nakhon Pathom to Pinklao once in town is not..... Don't know why some highways allow you and others don't.... Again its a question of the signs and looking out for the dreams etc.
     
  10. NDSinBKK

    NDSinBKK Ol'Timer

    If you don't know the territory, you have to assume that ALL flyovers are prohibited to bikes, and that you are ALWAYS expected to be in the left-hand lanes with the scooters. It will take you longer to get where you are going (avoiding the flyovers), or it may get you killed (in the left-hand lanes), but it will reduce to a minimum any contentious discussions with the police.

    There are actually signs--pictograms, really--in front of the flyovers that indicate no bikes allowed.

    In actual practice, which was your question, IF you know the territory and are mindful of timing and traffic conditions you can actually use the flyovers. The police tend to run shakedowns near the end of the month when karaoke with mia noi has given way to eating mama (noodles, not the other meaning...). If it is dark and I can count on speed and low visibility to zip through, I will use the flyovers depending on what's on the other side.

    Some have a traffic signal just at the bottom of the down ramp. If you get caught there at a red light, you are out of luck. Others, such as heading east on Petchaburi going over Phayathai, have no traffic signal and it is easier to blow through.

    I find that I used to get busted all the time on a Fino. I am now doing it on a BMW 1150 that is usually very shiny - the police seem more interested in the bike than in whatever it was I was doing. I've never been stopped once (on flyovers) with the BMW.

    You must ALWAYS be polite and respectful when you are caught. It may or may not help you get through without penalty, but being impolite is a pretty good recipe for a ticket, or getting your license taken away.

    You have to decide how much risk you are comfortable with, and how much knowledge you have to minimize it...

    S.
     
  11. NDSinBKK

    NDSinBKK Ol'Timer

    If you don't know the territory, you have to assume that ALL flyovers are prohibited to bikes, and that you are ALWAYS expected to be in the left-hand lanes with the scooters. It will take you longer to get where you are going (avoiding the flyovers), or it may get you killed (in the left-hand lanes), but it will reduce to a minimum any contentious discussions with the police.

    There are actually signs--pictograms, really--in front of the flyovers that indicate no bikes allowed.

    In actual practice, which was your question, IF you know the territory and are mindful of timing and traffic conditions you can actually use the flyovers. The police tend to run shakedowns near the end of the month when karaoke with mia noi has given way to eating mama (noodles, not the other meaning...). If it is dark and I can count on speed and low visibility to zip through, I will use the flyovers depending on what's on the other side.

    Some have a traffic signal just at the bottom of the down ramp. If you get caught there at a red light, you are out of luck. Others, such as heading east on Petchaburi going over Phayathai, have no traffic signal and it is easier to blow through.

    I find that I used to get busted all the time on a Fino. I am now doing it on a BMW 1150 that is usually very shiny - the police seem more interested in the bike than in whatever it was I was doing. I've never been stopped once (on flyovers) with the BMW.

    You must ALWAYS be polite and respectful when you are caught. It may or may not help you get through without penalty, but being impolite is a pretty good recipe for a ticket, or getting your license taken away.

    You have to decide how much risk you are comfortable with, and how much knowledge you have to minimize it...

    S.
     
  12. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Thanks again for all the useful advice. Looking out for the signs on the flyovers is difficult when you are in Bangkok rarely so watching whats coming up and whats happening behind in mirrors, and trying to compare what the road looks like with the GPS etc, As the time of day for my trips is not too flexible, I will be trying to follow the bulk of advice.
    As many have said, a friendly approach to the boys in brown, works best and if it is only the odd 100 Baht then thats not too bad.
     
  13. Meridian007

    Meridian007 Active Member

    Hey Mike, where'd you get "The Book"? I think the left lane bs is what bugs me the most about riding in BKK, I'd love to have documentation to back myself up with!
     
  14. rdg_john

    rdg_john Active Member

    That's probably true, but when walking past one of these checkpoints not so long ago, I saw one of our friends in brown writing down the registration number of a bike that failed to stop. And, I would imagine you would then be facing something a bit worse than a couple of hundred baht.

    No problem if you have no plate in the first place, of course!
     
  15. road2dharma

    road2dharma New Member

    My friend did this during the day once or twice before. However on one occasion they radioed ahead, and he was hauled in further down the road and subjected to a bit of a shakedown (yes, more than a few hundred baht).

    Could be worse, they use baseball bats on the 2 a.m teen street racers, right?!

    Probably right about the plate, John. I expect you can only get a small fine if your plate is missing!

    This is Thailand tho and things can happen, so best keep left where it is safe and clear (hardly ever, unfortunately), keep the helmet on and learn where the checkpoints are usually at, then decide yourself when and where you wish to drift right to find a bigger gap, or try a flyover out (some offer nice views - perhaps you can tell the cop you just wanted to look at the view?!!!)

    Still, give me a Thai traffic cop over their British or American counterparts any day of the week. They usually treat farang faces considerably better than the poor young local riders who frequently get searched and grilled.
     
  16. Rustic Charm

    Rustic Charm Ol'Timer

    Better even still is to say nothing. Be neutral in your attitude. If some want to kiss ass or cosy up to the uniformed mafia, well up to them.

    'Better'? I would say 'different' is a more appropriate word. 'Different' in the aspect that westerners ('farang', I hate that word. Why do westerners use it?) pay more.
    Finally! Someone who knows what he's talking about.
     
  17. mikerust

    mikerust Ol'Timer

    OT. This is because motorbikes are used to transport illegal drugs. So some roadside checks are to find out if and what locals are carrying.
     
  18. dotcom

    dotcom Ol'Timer

    I agree with this. I look for the pictograph. I also slow down & look to see if little bikes are using the fly-over.
    I have paid my share of 500 baht "spot fines" mostly for not being in the leftmost lane. Cost of doing business.

    I took Rustic into town the other day & clearly pointed to the sign on Rama9 service road heading to Din Daeng which said no motorcycles. It was New years day eve or something so I was pretty sure no fishing operation was working that day. Sure enough we sailed through. I have paid fines there before.
     
  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    500 Baht for being in the wrong lane?! My you are generous. I've yet to be stopped for this particular offense, but if I am I'm sure 100 Baht will suffice. :wink:
     
  20. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    i got summon,when traveller on highway..after mising inside bkk.cop stop us after discuss just pay 500 bath for 4 bikes without paper. :D
     

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