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ChiFlyer

Learning to Drive a Motorbike in Jomtien

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ChiFlyer

I obtained a Thai motorbike license a few months back. I had to go through the Thai process as I did not have the corresponding US license.

I communicated through an old thread about obtaining the license and I got a lot of good advice from several BMs. In particular @Rocketboy@Luv2Phuketand @Scuba+were a lot of help.

For anyone who is interested in that info here is the thread.

This thread is more intended to discuss being a good driver, after you have your license, given the environment.

These are my RULES for myself (ala Dexter :) )

  • Give your bike a quick check every time you drive it. Lights, suspension, tires, mirrors (they need to be cleaned every so often), gas level.
  • Operating a motorbike in the greater Pattaya area is dangerous. Pay respect to that, but never forget that the most dangerous thing of all is being too timid.
  • Ride your own ride. Know your skill set and limits. Never be goaded into doing something you are not comfortable with. It is actually ok to stop the bike.

I really like driving my bike around town, despite the fact that it is often a total panic. There is no better way for getting around. I experience a sense of freedom, that even for a newbie makes the risk more than worthwhile. I drive a small bike (125 Yamaha) and I am happy with that for now. 

One thing I am interested in hearing about from more experienced riders, is when do you know that you are ready for passengers. I know I am not for now, but would like to start practicing. Buy a 45 kg bag of sand and put some lipstick on it? :)

 

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davidge

I’ll look out for an ancient farang riding erratically during my next visit to Jomtien. :hello09:

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ChiFlyer
6 minutes ago, davidge said:

I’ll look out for an ancient farang riding erratically during my next visit to Jomtien. :hello09:

And well you should. :)

Also, make time to stop by for a glass of wine or something as well.

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likeaking

A couple of points:

1. Yes, don't be timid The whole Thai driving experience hinges on drivers beening assertive, not aggressive, but taking your right of way or hole in traffic when it presents itself. If you play  "After you, Garson." and wait for the other guy, you put yourself in danger and the whole Thai system of traffic flow comes to a stop.

2. Transporting a passenger safely depends a lot on how the passenger behaves on the bike. On these small bikes, a passenger flopping around on the back of a bike when you do a maneuver, pretty much controls the bike. I find the best way to have the passenger in synch with you when maneuvering the bike is to have them put their hands on your shoulders while riding. This way they lean when you do and don't flop around causing the bike be eratic. The passenger holding onto the seat rail almost assures they will be flopping around. 

Remember, you're not wearing anything but shorts and a T-shirt so if you go down, it's going to cost you some skin. Take a look at many TG's legs and you'll see motorbike scars. It's not worth being in a hurry.  

Edited by likeaking

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Rocketboy
24 minutes ago, likeaking said:

A couple of points:

1. Yes, don't be timid The whole Thai driving experience hinges on drivers beening assertive, not aggressive, but taking your right of way or hole in traffic when it presents itself. If you play  "After you, Garson." and wait for the other guy, you put yourself in danger and the whole Thai system of traffic flow comes to a stop.

2. Transporting a passenger safely depends a lot on how the passenger behaves on the bike. On these small bikes, a passenger flopping around on the back of a bike when you do a maneuver, pretty much controls the bike. I find the best way to have the passenger in synch with you when maneuvering the bike is to have them put their hands on your shoulders while riding. This way they lean when you do and don't flop around causing the bike be eratic. The passenger holding onto the seat rail almost assures they will be flopping around. 

Remember, you're not wearing anything but shorts and a T-shirt so if you go down, it's going to cost you some skin. Take a look at many TG's legs and you'll see motorbike scars. It's not worth being in a hurry.  

Excellent points!! :Clap:

Edited by Rocketboy

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likeaking

Piont 3:

The passenger doesn't get on the bike until you've got it out of the parking position and pointed the direction you want to go. You may even want to have the passenger not get on until you make a U-turn to get pointed the desired direction. The passenger doesn;t get on until you tell them to and then they keep their feet on the pegs at all times (stops, slow turns, etc.) until you tell them to get off. It's best to have them get off before maneuvering the bike into a tight parking space. 

Point 4:

The bike will take longer to slow or come to a stop with the extra weight of the passenger so plan ahead and start slowing earlier than usual. If I'm going to do a U-turn or cross two lanes of oncoming traffic (Third Road), I tell the passenger to hang on so they aren't caught by surprise and not have a firm hold. 

Your passenger may not be comfortable with the same speeds you are so take that into account. When you get off ask him/her if they were okay with the ride. 

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simon46

Great going Chiflyer, just put a TG on the back and go, they are excellent passengers, small and light and understand  they just sit like sack of rice, sidesaddle not only looks cool but means they are vertical to the bike.  No helmet bashing with them.

Inexperienced foreigner more difficult as they can try to keep the bike upright, think straight on 555.

An experienced rider as passenger can help pull the bike down but this is really only applicable for fast and heavy bikes, you already know what the bike wants to do and it is not fall over but stand up and run like an arrow.

No benefit of anything larger than a 125 in Pattaya, all the motocy taxis use them and nothing beats a Thai delivery boy on one, has tax, insurance and especially travel insurance benefits.  Bin a PCX  and if your insurance is up to 125 forget it or lie through your teeth, my insurance claims to cover big bikes but the contract states "if ridden from my home country" 5555.   Also just look at plastic prices for a PCX, think jetski.

Remember there are 2 sorts of bikes, the ones that have been down and the ones going down.

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gazO

Why do you want to risk life and limb driving round in Thailand. Hope you have good accident cover (to use if you lucky to survive).

Driving standard slightly better in Pattaya,  than in the sticks where I live. Where no RULES at all apply.

Pattaya has plenty of options for getting around without risking your life. but as the Thais say UP TO YOU.

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likeaking
1 hour ago, simon46 said:

Great going Chiflyer, just put a TG on the back and go, they are excellent passengers, small and light and understand  they just sit like sack of rice, sidesaddle not only looks cool but means they are vertical to the bike.  No helmet bashing with them.

Inexperienced foreigner more difficult as they can try to keep the bike upright, think straight on 555.

An experienced rider as passenger can help pull the bike down but this is really only applicable for fast and heavy bikes, you already know what the bike wants to do and it is not fall over but stand up and run like an arrow.

No benefit of anything larger than a 125 in Pattaya, all the motocy taxis use them and nothing beats a Thai delivery boy on one, has tax, insurance and especially travel insurance benefits.  Bin a PCX  and if your insurance is up to 125 forget it or lie through your teeth, my insurance claims to cover big bikes but the contract states "if ridden from my home country" 5555.   Also just look at plastic prices for a PCX, think jetski.

Remember there are 2 sorts of bikes, the ones that have been down and the ones going down.

You're right about TGs, they've been riding on the back of motorbikes since their mom took them to grammar school. I'm used to hauling my mates along on crawls and they need some instruction. 

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Mr Wombat
9 hours ago, ChiFlyer said:

 

One thing I am interested in hearing about from more experienced riders, is when do you know that you are ready for passengers. I know I am not for now, but would like to start practicing. Buy a 45 kg bag of sand and put some lipstick on it? :)

 

I hardly even notice when i have a thai girl on the back of the bike. So as long as you are not going fast you should have no problems.

 

The number one killer is weaving through traffic. DONT DO THIS

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ChiFlyer
12 hours ago, Mr Wombat said:

...

The number one killer is weaving through traffic. DONT DO THIS

Really. That is the one of the traffic patterns that I see that concerns me. I just get in line and follow the flow.

The other traffic pattern I see that concerns me at times is other motorbike drivers passing on the left at a high speed. There is clearly nothing that they could do if someone were to open a car door and splat them into me. Always be ready for the unexpected, but as @likeakingcommented one needs to practice assertive, not aggressive, driving.

Edited by ChiFlyer

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ChiFlyer
19 hours ago, likeaking said:

A couple of points:

.......

Remember, you're not wearing anything but shorts and a T-shirt so if you go down, it's going to cost you some skin. Take a look at many TG's legs and you'll see motorbike scars. It's not worth being in a hurry.  

The afterthought I had about this was that patience is not a virtue, it is a requirement. 

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sulu

I've ridden motorcycles off and on for some 40 years.

On Long island, when I was riding to work most days when weather would permit, I often had people in the office ask me how I could stand riding with all that traffic around me.

I told them my basic philosophy was "Ride as if everybody is TRYING to hit you". 

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davidge
19 minutes ago, sulu said:

 

I told them my basic philosophy was "Ride as if everybody is TRYING to hit you". 

In your case that would be understandable :WhoSaw1:

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The Kid Kabugle

I been riding bikes 25+ years and not much I can add only to say keep your wits about you, ride defensively at all times and watch out for man hole covers on wet roads.

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forcebwithu

Taking an experienced rider as a passenger would be a good way to start. Not only will they understand how to move with the bike through turns, but they could also point out any areas you need to improve on as a rider.

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ChiFlyer
14 hours ago, forcebwithu said:

Taking an experienced rider as a passenger would be a good way to start. Not only will they understand how to move with the bike through turns, but they could also point out any areas you need to improve on as a rider.

That is a very good idea. Thanks. I have been looking at this the wrong way.

The GF is a horrible rider and also not a very good passenger. Her younger sister on the other hand is a very good rider, may weigh 45 kgs soaking wet, and is direct enough to provide good feedback. I know her well enough to ask.

 

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Gary Loei

I am retired and never in a hurry. Baht buses serve my needs very well. I did have a motorbike when I was living in Jomtien. Never once did I ride it into Pattaya. After a couple very close calls in Jomtien because of in a hurry moron drivers, I bought a pickup truck and sold the motorbike. I now live upcountry and do have a motorbike here. Still a bit dangerous but not a lot of insane traffic.

For a bit of added safety, I recommend a scooter where you have your feet in front of you. You see a number of people missing a leg. That happens by getting T boned by another vehicle. In addition to that, when you go down, which you eventually will, your leg will not be trapped between the bike and the road.

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ChiFlyer
On 31/12/2019 at 10:18, Gary Loei said:

......

For a bit of added safety, I recommend a scooter where you have your feet in front of you. You see a number of people missing a leg. That happens by getting T boned by another vehicle. In addition to that, when you go down, which you eventually will, your leg will not be trapped between the bike and the road.

I am driving a Yamaha 125 and really like the feel of the bike and it has the feet in front of me style, which feels comfortable in addition to the points you mention. I also have driven and liked Honda Clicks. I do not remember the feet placement on that one. Think it is the same though.

Some of the newer bikes have what I call the Tyrannasurus Rex handlebars. Without every having driven one of those, it just looks weird and I want to stay with the wider handlebars.

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deejayguy

I have a Honda Click 125cc rental scooter right now and it's been an awesome way to get around. Definitely a bit scary at times but once you get comfortable with the bike and the quirks of Thai driving it's not so bad. I also went through the process to get a Thai motorbike license.

I found it was a great help to have a TG on the back as a navigator at times when I was first learning. Don't be too nervous about having a passenger along for the ride. As with all things, sometimes you need to just dive in and give it a go.

The tidiest explanation I've seen of the approach to driving here is to "flow like water" - not sure where I read that but it stuck with me and was very fitting!

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