MIKE WAITE served in the Dorset Police for 20 years as a police motorcycle instructor training police officers to the very highest level of high-speed pursuit riding. Now you can buy his expert training DVD on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com.


Visual link aids

The use of buildings as a means to inform the rider or driver of the change of direction of the road ahead can be used anywhere, and is one feature that is universally neglected.

Taking a careful look at buildings you will see that in the vast majority of cases they are facing the road. Looking at the angles, especially the roofs, you will see that as an aid to advanced roadcraft they are second to none. It should be apparent that developing our long-distance viewing by observing buildings at long distances would enhance our overall skill. I call all buildings outstanding features. There is an obvious advantage when approaching any area where the road is not in view, to be informed that the road is either straight, left or righthand bend, and severity of it.

Streetlights are major information points and outstanding links as they are always positioned along the edge of the road. At night a circle of lights usually points to a roundabout. A single lamp- post will probably inform you of a junction.

Telegraph poles are a good source of information but cannot be relied upon as they can go across fields or change from one side of the road to the other.

Hedgerows and fence posts all have something to offer and should be exploited (but not replied upon). A series of hills that you are travelling toward can be useful as a road usually winds around the base of a hill. You have to look far ahead to take advantage of all links, if you do not see them or know how to interpret them they become meaningless.

Another source of information is white lines painted on the road surfaces. A long broken white line means restricted view or junction. These can be very useful at night time and in adverse weather conditions.

Short broken white lines mean unrestricted view and no junctions. Hopefully local authorities keep these lines bang up to date. The problem being these signs may be forgotten about and in their place; none descript lines. At the moment I have faith in the road and bridges departments around this country. There are however discrepancies around the country. When I was in the police traffic department we would if found one report it to the local authority to get it fixed. FAST.

A good example are country roads where the width is not wide enough for white lines to be put down (narrow gauge roads) For junctions you will invariably be confronted with a series of long broken white lines each side and along junctions. The major point here is if you do not look for them you will not use them.

Before any double white line system it has to have at least two arrows before the line. If it has only has one or none it is no longer a traffic sign under the road traffic regulations, as all legally binding signs have to comply strictly with law.

Advanced warning signs are a wealth of information for those who are not familiar with the above. The two triangular signs are so useful, even if you cannot read them because of the distance or light conditions. If you ever see in the distance a triangular sign with the flat and longest edge at the top you will know instantly that it is a junction. If the pointed part of the triangle is pointing up it is all other hazards. This is so useful as one can if it is a junction assume a vehicle will enter or leave on your approach.

A green white and yellow sign it tells us that we are on or approaching a primary route. Not all A roads are primary routes. If you look at any primary route sign on the approach, the actual primary road or roads are always painted in thick white lines, the thin lines (which could be A roads) are painted in thin white lines. This has an obvious advantage to the driver as he can plan in plenty of time which route he will be turning into. This is especially true when approaching roundabouts. You could ignore all the other coloured signs if you were intending to travel on the primary route. This also gives you time to get into the correct position for any eventuality.

None primary route signs (which can be A roads) are painted in white with a black surround.

If you are looking for local direction routes. For example a small village off the main roads. Look for black and white signs with a blue surround. All the above are colour coded.

Have a look in any road map you buy and look at the colours they have for primary none primary and minor roads. You will find a colour code in your maps.

Did you know that if you have a solid white line at any junction you must actually stop? If it is a broken white line the onus is on you to make sure it safe before proceeding. If clear you do not have to stop.

All round signs are enforcement signs and must be complied with. There are other compulsory traffic signs. See your highway code.

My own observations to the highway code which sets out and prints all the signs, does not do it self justice in a lot of the explanations that riders and drivers would find much more useful.

If you found this factsheet useful, remember there is no substitute for one to one tuition and instruction. Go book a course today.

Copyright Mike Waite - Teaching motorcyclists advanced Police riding techniques for faster safer biking!

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