Local Hazards

Discussion in 'Advice For Newbies' started by Kiwi Cruiser, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Songthiews (Pickup Taxis)
    The drivers of these vehicles are notoriously bad for making sudden stops and changes of direction without any warning. They are often cruising in search of fares, focused on the footpaths and not paying any attention to other traffic. On spotting a potential fare, they'll suddenly swerve left without signalling and stop abruptly. God help YOU if you're sneaking down the inside of the lane!

    Aside from that, they are frequently inconsiderate, prone to unsignalled lane changes, cutting in front of other vehicles, making fast right-hand turns across straight-ahead traffic at lights, etc. Watch them carefully!

    Road Marker Posts
    For some inexplicable reason, Thai roading networks use solid CONCRETE marker pegs at close intervals on almost all minor roads. At best these are unforgiving if you hit one, and at worst they are fatal!

    Bear that in mind as you are pushing hard on the corners on a country road... take a hard look at those posts, and think about how hard its going to be to avoid one if you come unglued...
    Many other countries use flexible plastic marker posts that are unlikely to inflick serious damage to a body or a bike. One would think that the plastic posts would be cheaper to produce and easier to install and maintain than the concrete ones...
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  2. I can confirm that those concrete posts hurt.....a lot!

    I took one out up near Pai back in February. Hit it fair and square across my chest and consider myself very lucky to have escaped with a couple of broken ribs.
  3. One of my regular road hazards in the 'Rai. I was heading to the airport to check on my flight.

  4. And the resulting deposited hazards that lurk around corners waiting to unsettle the unwary.

    Photo credit to Captain Slash
  5. Road markings are a significant hazard in the rain - any painted road surface is extremely slippery in wet conditions, and offers far less adhesion than asphalt. If you are cornering, its best to deliberately avoid ANY paint!

    Road Centre Lines, (especially the double-yellow ones) are far thicker than any I've ever seen in New Zealand. In Thailand, there is often a noticeable "bump" as you cross a centre line. These are also rounded, and when crossing the centre line to overtake, you need to consider;
    - the angle of approach to the centre line, especially on a curve
    - easing off the power / acceleration on a big bike as you hit the centre line, to avoid unexpected rear wheel-spin
    - not leaning too hard into the manouver as you are crossing the centre line

    One of the very few times I've gone down on an ashphalt road was due to the painted centre line on a rainy day. Coming off the end of a one-lane bridge, I cut across the centre line on a tight right hander. The rear wheel came unstuck and the resulting low-sider had me on the deck in a heart beat. Before I had time to take a deep breath for the obligatory curse, I was sliding on my butt along the road.

    No damage to the bike or me - other than to my dignity - and no one saw it... But almost 40 years later, the fright it gave me has not gone! :)
  6. CATS EYS & SILENT POLICEMEN come to mind as well.

    Oman, Middle East has the same problem with a bunch of their road markings. They keep adding layer upon layer of paint, as it's easier (read: cheaper) than stripping off the old and keeping the painted surface flush with the roads surface. Mind you road markings and stop sign in the outlying regions of the Middle East are a waste of paint and metal. Take your life in your hands if you trust the locals to abide by the rules.
  7. To continue this thread from Ben may I add a little more

    Bushes and stones on the road

    Whenever a vehicle breaks down here, people do not have warning triangles in their cars as this is not compulsory. Usually they rip out some green bushes from the roadside and place them before the vehicle. Especially in the mountains when their vehicles break down they use big stones under their wheels as their brakes might not function properly to avoid their pick-ups/trucks from rolling away or enabling them a trouble free wheel change. After all's done, most of them just drive off and never remove the rubbish they placed on the tarmac. After tight corners in the hills you'll often be faced with big stones in the middle of your lane. In turns the bushes give you for sure some adrenaline rush into your veins while you struggle to keep the frontwheel on the road.....

    lost rubbish, cans, boxes, slippers, helmets, clothes and aluminium ladders

    Here again, we are guests in a country where the pick-up is the ultimate mode of transport only second to the scooters. So everything carted around is thrown usually on the back of them without any fastening down measures. So then we drive happily with 100 km/h from Nakorn Nowhere to Udon Somewhere and all the way we distribute some of our belongings to the common public. Don't be surprised to find the unexpected suddenly in front of your bike. Once had a pick-up in front of me loosing his aluminium ladder, was lucky that it slid just between my wheels under the car.....Don't also forget the exploding 20 year old very and I mean very very bold trucktyres that then tear to pieces and are distributed over several hundred meters just to make sure you hit one. Market-dwellers are known to loose their pineapples, coconuts,....whatever produce there is on the pick-up's back.....

    oil, tyre residue, soot from forest fires

    Especially during the hot season roads are becoming like skating fields. This can be contributed mainly to
    a) the soot and ashes from forest fires everywhere, especially up North,
    b) all the very old vehicles who have never seen a proper service or never ever a new gasket for any part will when overheating loose a lot of engine or gearoil through every silicone patched cranny.
    c) tyre residue as the asphalt gets very hot. so do the tyres and wear off a shiny coat on the road.
    d) too less coarse aggregate in the asphalt and the bitumina coming on top in the heat.
    Just experienced this in April when I went down in a turn on my way to Mae Hong Son, proof that all that rubbish was involved was my jeans which were not thorn but did not even touch the asphalt. Usually if you go down on asphalt in a jean it may tear or at least you will need petrol to wash the black stuff off, no I did it with a brush and the ordinary Attack powder.....

    Best regards, Franz
  8. I must mention the mossy roads during and just after the rainy season. I went down hard and fast on a back mountain road. It was at a higher elevation where the road was made out of concrete. I just remember sliding...
  9. Just spent 7 days riding around N Thailand for the first time. Have ridden around Malaysia for years and thought Thailand could not be much different. I was wrong. New riders to Thailand beware: Thai car drivers have absolutely no lane discipline! They will come out into your lane even if they see you. Bikes to Thai drivers are invisible. They pass constantly in blind turns at high rates of speed and expect you to get out of their way. I was lucky. Was almost hit heading North on the 118 out of Doi Saket in the hills in my first 20km of riding. From then on adjusted my line in all turns for the morons. Other than that, loved the riding, the people, the food, weather etc...
  10. One thing you have to know when riding in Thailand : Priority goes to the bigger vehicle.

    Meaning a car will have priority over a bike anytime.

    Motorcycle > Car > Pickup > Truck > Bus

    Also most of drivers here wont care for mirrors, they will always take care on whats in front but behind it is not their problem anymore ....

    The only good point is that they drive relativly slow compared to most european countries.
  11. Cars overtake you in the bike lane, then turn left, breaking hard. It happened several times today and it's annoying and potentially dangerous. Brake hard or swerve - or else you may rear end them! They forgot you the second they overtook you!
  12. I sometimes release an "******** of the Trip" video. from a recent visa run to Mae Sot. There are others on my first Nan vid...

    Safe riding everyone!

  13. Good one! Glad you didn't end up a hood ornament. It's amazing how many drivers think it's ok to cross the solid line in blind corners. Had one day before yesterday on steep narrow section of the crappy road from Pai to CM and only because I was on a motorcycle could I hug the shoulder and squeeze past undamaged. Had I been in a car it would have been an unavoidable head on collision.
  14. While I am at it, one can never be too loud or too bright. I installed 2,700 lumens of LED on my bike; I ride with two 35º floods on normally and only bring up the 15º spot when needed. I see a quantifiable difference in terms of drivers not changing lanes infront of me and even getting out of the way on highways... I need to work on my horn...

    Cheers y'all!

  15. great youtube page Simon...
  16. They are X-Vision and well worth it. I have a 4-unit light bar on a truck that works wonders...

  17. Note to bikers coming to Malaysia for the 1st time. The hwys are generally excellent....so good in fact that many of the locals treat them like an Autobahn. Be very aware when travelling in the fast lane. Malaysians often leave the hazard lights on....indicating they themselves are the hazard....and drive at speeds well in excess of the limit. They will also have no qualms in overtaking you INSIDE the same lane you are travelling in. Often sandwiching you between them and a car in the other lane. You cannot relax on a Malaysian road. be aware at all times. Note also; often there is only an armco divider seperating the opposite side of the road. Stones being flicked up at high speed a a major concern here. Cracked car windscreens are incredibly common. Stones in your face are far less pleasant. Try always to ride in the lane furthest away from the barrier. Last but not least, truckies have a very poor regard for there load and how its secured. I recently saw a truck dropping house bricks as it went along the hwy. Dont follow them, particularly any dump trucks or construction site type lorries.

    Hope this helps a little guys. Will add if I think of anything else. Cheers Dave
  18. For a new rider in Asia I consider this topic very useful.
    Thank you.
  19. If you are riding off-road..
    Watch out for Bamboo and vines.

    This was a good whipping at 40 to 50 kph. Going up the mountain to the Thai Burma border.

    You can get some nasty sharp pieces of Bamboo sticking out also. expect the unexpected.
    Plus vines so strong they will pull you off the bike.

    Be especially careful of this if you like to mount your Go Pro on top of your helmet. I stopped mounting the Go Pro there after seeing this happen many times.

    Gloves. I prefer to use road mesh gloves with knuckle protection..
    Still breathe and you are covered on and off the road. Nearly had my knuckles speared by a nasty piece of Bamboo.


    Attached Files:

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  20. Yeah Brian I can relate. I caught a brutally thorny vine on my shoulder once. Thankfully I had a small backpack on as it torn completely thru the strap before ripping shit out of my neck and shoulder.

    Another couple of things I should mention. 1) ANIMALS! Aside from the menace humans cause animals on the road in Asia are very common. Be highly alert in rural areas and villages. Most animals go unrestrained and present significant hazards. 2) OLD PEOPLE, again, particularly in rural areas but cities also have this issue. There are at times old and infirm and mentally unstable individuals who do extremely dangerous things...like the old guy on a bicycle in Thailand who I almost killed when he decided to just do a U Turn for zero reason and even less notice, or the guy in Laos who just decided to step in front of me on a narrow village road. Be vigilant at all times.
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