Posted On 25 May 2024
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This entry is part 1 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#33


…while the smart children are inside,writing apps on their iPads which will make them rich by the time they turn 13.

I was in the US, reading the Californian road rules in a booklet put out by that State’s tourism organisation (yes,sometimes I get a bit obsessive about stuff like that) and came across the explanation of the carpool (HOV – high occupancy vehicle) lanes. These are common on Californian freeways, and permit use by cars with two or more occupants. But that’s not how they are explained.

The booklet pointed out that they are “available to motorcycles and to multi occupancy cars”. Yes, bikes get first mention. Maybe that kind of attitude explains why there are so many bikes on the road in California, and much of the rest of the US. People – including the authorities – actually think of bikes when they make rules.

Compare that with Australia, where a recent publication from the NRMA about the future of our roads and cities doesn’t even mention motorcycles. Fortunately some of the authorities are more switched on; in NSW, at least, bikes can use the bus and transit lanes.

“Are you sure that GPS map is up to date?”


I’ve been thinking of a trip to Taiwan.

Obviously I would want to ride a scooter (like everyone else) when I’m there – or so I thought. Until I asked for advice.

A Japanese friend of mine worked in Taiwan for a large Japanese bank for some years. He blanched when I told him what I was planning to do.

“Taiwanese scooter riders are all insane,” he whispered. “One of them jumped the kerb to get to me once, and the blue trucks chase you all the time!

Don’t do it, Bond san,” he continued in what I have to assume was a genuine Japanese accent, quoting Tiger Tanaka from one of his favourite Ian Fleming movies. “Take my helicopter instead.”

“You don’t have a helicopter. What’s wrong with Taiwanese scooter riders?”

“There are so many of them, and they cannot get anywhere unless they ignore all road rules,” he said. “It’s worse than New town! There are more scooters than people in Taiwan!”

I was unable to verify that, but it does seem as if there are well over a million unregistered scooters alone on the island.

Are there any Taiwanese readers out there who would like to defend their island’s reputation? Or add to it, come to think of it.

“Let’s see anyone try to tailgate us now!”


On that US trip mentioned above (you will read about it here very soon) I performed a spectacular slide when the rear tyre of my Road King encountered a thick patch of tar, formed by layers of those “snakes” of bitumen that road repairers use to cover cracks in the surface. It wasn’t quite as good as the sideways slide I did on a BMW road test on a gravel road in the Southern Highlands, where at one point the bike was at right angles to the front wheel, but it was scary enough.

I have not had such a severe reaction on tar anywhere in Australia, but I have lost traction a few times –in both hot and cold weather, so it’s not just that the heat makes the snakes slippery. Does anyone know why this bitumen (I assume) stuff is used when it’s obviously dangerous?

Has any testing been done? Is anyone in particular responsible for it? Please drop me a line; .

Peter ‘The Bear’ Thoeming

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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