What does this the word "motorcycle" signify to people around the world? To some, it’s a lifelong passion, be they makers, collectors, racers, or riders. To others, they are traffic—just more wheels on the road that add to the general flood their cities are collectively drowning under. Still, to others, motorcycles are crazy, maddening things that no person in their sane mind should ride considering the risk of injury that always hovers around a two-wheeled rider.
While it's not as if cars keep their drivers and passengers 100% safe, motorcycles are a lot more iffy—especially if being driven by someone who does not understand safe driving, civic sense, or traffic rules. In parts of the world where motorcycles are often the cheapest mode of transport, car drivers have a litany of complaints against riders.
And while this may seem like a rather jaded world or road view, they are more often right than wrong. Motorcyclists often break traffic rules, using their smaller and nimbler vehicles to their advantage. This is why many motorcyclists end up annoying car drivers, as well as the other people on the road. Traffic rules are meant to be followed, not broken. Driving responsibly is not just a thing that car drivers need to do—motorcyclists need to stop behaving like amateur thrill riders on the road and be responsible road citizens, as well.
22 Riding In Beach Wear
Most motorcyclists, when on their sports machines or cruisers, put on proper riding gear with the apropos leather jackets, riding boots, knee pads, and all the rest of their protective equipment. In many countries, you will also spot people commuting to and from office wearing office clothes with the necessary helmet, and optional grip gloves. However, there are some people who eschew the helmet in favor of style and ride their massive machines dressed in nothing more than shorts and a tee. This tells the other people on the road that the motorcyclist is not serious about their riding and that they are better off avoided or kept at a distance.
21 Leaving The Kickstand Extended
This can be downright scary for a car driver who ends up driving alongside a bike like this. Why? Because somehow, it unnerves the car driver who doesn’t want his car to be scratched or be blamed for inadvertently knocking the biker down by being close to the motorcycle. Some motorcyclists genuinely forget to knock their kickstand in once they have mounted, especially if it’s a shorter person riding a tall person's motorcycle. Some choose to keep the side stand out for stunting purposes, which is even scarier. And some amateurs may do it for silly reasons, like comparing it to the support wheels of a bike. Facepalm!
20 Cornering With Zero Skills
There are times when a motorcyclist will zoom past you with nary a horn or a signal, and at Mach speeds, with literally four inches between the car and the bike to spare. It takes nerves of steel to keep the steering wheel straight and the breathing even, especially when all you want to do is roll down the window and let out a string of epithets. Cut to another few miles and when the straight roads are over, you will likely find the same motorcyclist struggling to make the corners without tipping over, hovering between leaning too much and not leaning at all. Seriously, cornering is a skill all motorcyclists should mandatorily master before heading out on the highway.
19 Snaking Through Traffic
Gee whiz, we know that motorcycles can squeeze into tight spaces and weave through traffic much faster than even the smallest and zippiest of cars but that doesn’t mean a motorcyclist should do that on a traffic-heavy road. Not only does it make for dangerous driving but it also makes the traffic around the motorcyclist even more chaotic considering they have to hit the brakes so suddenly that fender-benders become the norm. Also, heavier vehicles may not be able to spot the motorcyclist in time and end up causing a far more serious incident than just a dented bumper. Following traffic rules holds up for bikers, as well, so there really isn’t a way around that.
18 Not Filtering At All
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the bikers who do not filter at all. As Jalopnik puts it, a certain amount of traffic filtering or weaving is allowed for motorcyclists because let’s face it, motorcycles are a lot smaller and more nimble than cars. Not taking advantage of this fact at all and blocking lanes like a stodgy old bull does not make bikers popular or correct. You can filter through moderate traffic, especially if you have your indicators and hand and arm signals down pat, just make sure the car behind you knows that you are about to cut across it, lest the driver ends up standing on the brakes in a bid to save you and your bike.
17 Being A Complete Pile-On
In this case, we mean piling on in the rather literal sense of the word: putting too much on the motorcycle, in terms of people or loads. A motorcycle is best meant to be ridden by one or two; it is not supposed to be carrying any more than a light load if at all you need to ferry something on it. Too much weight on a motorcycle is an incident waiting to happen; the balance and the center of gravity are all off and the rider can no more control the motorcycle than he can the winds of change. It also becomes a drag for the traffic around because they need to swerve around the motorcycle at greater angles lest it topples over and causes problems.
16 Revving Till The Redline
While many modified exhaust pipes are street-legal, and rightly so, motorcyclists will be motorcyclists and find ways to make their revs as loud and irritating as possible. Honestly, having a motorcyclist revving next to you is more annoying than having a screaming baby next to your ear. Why they do it is anyone’s guess because this is not showing off the good side of their motorcycle—nor their skills as a rider. This is only causing auditory discomfort to all who happened to have the misfortune of being near the motorcycle. And it only proves, yet again, why car drivers often find motorcyclists annoying.
15 Dark Glasses At Night
We know bikers feel cool atop their cool rides. In fact, most car drivers feel cool behind the wheel, as well. However, cool does not mean wearing dark-shielded helmets or sunglasses long after the sun has gone down. Of course, it is important for the rider to protect their eyes in the night, so if he chooses to wear clear or night-specific riding goggles, it not only works, its reasonable. But riders who wear dark glasses or helmets with dark shields at night are inviting trouble. Their limited vision will not let them anticipate the road and the driving conditions as well as they could if their eyes were not obscured.
14 Being An Amateur Rider
Not knowing how to ride a motorcycle is perhaps the most annoying thing car drivers find about motorcyclist. If a motorcyclist knows how to ride, is aware of traffic rules, and knows the ins and outs of their machine, being on the road with them is no hassle. But if there is a rider who is nearly wobbly in his nervousness or is weaving unsteadily through traffic, most of the public around is instantly wary. It’s like a red flag on the road, seeing a biker who does not know how to ride and is surely going to land up in a soup later. No other driver around wants to be in that soup, do they?
13 Out Of Gas
We’ve come across many a biker silently trudging along with his bike, clearly out of steam, while his motorcycle is out of gas. This is wrong in so many ways than one. Firstly, if a biker is walking his motorcycle at night, chances are that traffic may not spot him on dark alleys or unlit roads, which means this is yet another incident waiting to happen. Secondly, if the road is rather heavy on traffic, having a guy walking his bike on the side can slow things down. Thirdly, this shows that the biker does not hold his vehicle or his riding in high regard, which means he is a red flag on the road.
12 Unnecessarily Loud Horns
This is a sin that even car drivers fall prey to: replacing their stock-fitted horns with things that could wake up the zombies and other things that are best left sleeping (like road rage, for instance). As if ultra-loud pipes weren’t enough, some motorcyclists take a perverse pleasure in startling the car drivers in the lane next to them out of their skins. Again, there is a certain decorum that every driver on the road should follow without excuse. Being nice is not necessary but people can at least draw the line at being annoying, especially motorcyclists. Of course, this goes for all car drivers, too.
11 Tailgating Cars
The number of times a car driver has been bumped, nudged, or otherwise touched by a motorcyclist is too innumerable to consider. This is why motorcyclists need to stick to riding in their own lane and not tailgate cars in a bid to get the four wheels out of their two-wheeling way. If a car is not giving a motorcyclist space to pass, it likely does not have any road space to spare. Cars don’t hog space on purpose; they are bigger and need to keep a certain safety gap between them and other vehicles on all sides. Being rear-ended by a motorcyclist might not harm the car or the driver but it is akin to being pestered by a fly, minus the advantage of having a swatter.
10 Jumping A Light, Or Two
Most motorcyclists are guilty of this one: jumping a light or two (or more) is no biggie for them. But this is one rule that every piece of traffic on the road must adhere to. Red means stop, after all. And this may sound like a nursery ditzy but it holds true. Even if you think that there is no traffic on the intersection and you can easily pass through, there might a car racing towards its green light at breakneck speed—and a collision can be bad for a motorcyclist. Stopping at a red light makes you a good rider. Checking on all sides when the light turns greens makes you the better rider because there may be someone at the corner who is jumping a light instead.
9 Being A Flashy Rider
There are some riders that deck up their motorcycles with every piece of flashiness they can lay their hands on. Multicolored lights, neon under-glow, too much chrome; name it, and they have it. While to each his own is fair, being a blight on the road isn’t. And being a blight that distracts other drivers (to the point of road blindness) especially isn’t. Again, we come to the same point: road safety is important and all drivers and riders on the road must adhere to simple rules. Do not put anything on yourself or your vehicle that you wouldn’t want driving beside you; it distracts the other drivers.
8 The Crazy Helmets
In the beginning, helmets came in boring and stodgy colors. Then the world of helmets expanded, with every kind of hue and print imaginable. And if that were not enough, next came in the weird shapes, like Halloween spilled over into real life. If ears and noses and faux fur weren’t enough, there are skulls and masks that could put even Mardi Gras to shame. Again, this is not only a huge distraction on the road but is also akin to showing off like crazy, without reason. Or sanity. Sigh. Somewhere down the road, motorcyclists have forgotten that helmets are only about protection, not about fashion or style.
7 Them Vs. Us
Again, this is another point both car drivers and motorcyclists are equally guilty of. According to Drive Tribe, each thinks of themselves as some sort of elite club—and then there are the clubs within the clubs. For motorcyclists, cruiser clubs are different than the BMW club while dirt bikers consider themselves a different breed from sports bike owners, and so on and so forth. The divided road culture only gives rise to unpleasant interactions. So, both motorcyclists and car drivers should acknowledge each other’s presence and right to the road—and be as courteous as they can to each other.
6 Squeezing Through Tight Spaces
Motorcycles are meant to be faster, nimbler, and make the rider reach a lot faster speeds than they would if they were driving a car. Of course, this means some amount of filtering is allowed to two-wheelers and done right, it only makes the traffic move faster. But squeezing between two cars and leaving a few dents and dings in the process is not the way to do it. All of us have been there, right? When a motorcycle squeezed so close to our cars, it took the side view mirror along with it? Or left a long scratch on the side that literally made our veins boil?
5 Driving On Pedestrian Pathways
Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians to walk along in safety, with the traffic and yet away from it. So there is no reason and no reason at all that a motorcyclist should decide to use a sidewalk for a road—unless there's a Hollywood film being shot. It looks fun in the movies but it is dangerous in real life and can cause plenty a spill, not to mention harm to pedestrians. Filtering is allowed on roads, not on sidewalks and pedestrian walkways. Motorcyclists cannot find shortcuts to every kind of traffic situation and pedestrian walkways are off limits to anything on wheels.
4 Not Braking Right
To bring a motorcycle to a complete and smooth halt, minus any hitches and bump, one needs to use both the brakes on the left and the right. Too many times, many bikers end up using only the rear brakes, or worse, only the front ones. The end result is an abrupt wheelie they did not intend to make. Sometimes, they also end up plowing into the vehicle in front. Or if they are lucky enough, all they do is make a clumsy stop. Both brakes need to be used in tandem and basically, all motorcyclists should maintain some distance between themselves and the vehicle in front to be safe at all times.
3 Riding Together In Groups
This is very biker-group reminiscent: riding out in droves, high-fiving, and catcalling each other as they pass, and generally blocking the road. Bikers are hard enough to handle for car drivers when alone. In groups, they become nearly out of control, or at least, that’s what car drivers feel like. There’s a subtle air of menace about having too many bikers all together in one place and, undoubtedly, they affect the pace of traffic behind them in various ways. Most people tend to keep distance in any case, not wanting to stir up any trouble.
2 Using Bald Or Underinflated Tires
What would you say to a motorcyclist riding on bald or underinflated tires? Probably that the rider needs their mind checked, along with their tires. Unlike a car that has four firm points of contact on the ground, a motorcycle has just two. And if either of these two tires is not inflated properly or are too bald to maintain their grip with the road, well, the end result will not be pretty for the biker. Bikers need to make sure they are well-saddled and the tires are in the best of health to avoid any untoward incidents, which always end up worse for the less-protected party.
1 Stunting On The Road
Honestly, this is just about the worst. To the car driver who is braking hard with his heart in his mouth behind a motorcycle that suddenly decided to do a wheelie: we feel you. To the motorcyclist who may have spent hours practicing his dangerously slick moves: please understand that to people who know nothing about stunts, you are scary. And your gravity-defying stuff scares them more than it surprises them. Please refrain from pulling a stunt in the middle of traffic because the people around you have no warning beforehand. It’s up to you whether you do this on empty roads with your crew but taking years of the life from that car driver behind you is pretty uncool.
Sources: Drive Tribe, Bike Republic, and Jalopnik.