Lane filtering is a necessary skill that motorcyclists need to learn in order to survive the urban jungle. Especially in the Philippines, and to get to where you’re going as efficiently and as quickly as possible on a motorcycle, you need to be able to filter through traffic.
Of course, there are people that will say that it is unsafe to filter, and there are dangers associated with it. However, here are some tips that touch on safety and efficiency with regard to the art of filtering.
Master your low-speed maneuvers
Before you get out on riding in the city, it’s best that you master the art of riding slowly. Anyone can just get up to speed, but making u-turns and tight 90-degree turns require finesse and practice.
Take the time right outside your home to practice your clutch work and your throttle control. Learn to use the rear brake to stabilize yourself as well. Also, try and keep both feet on the pegs and focus on using the rear brake and get good with your clutch and throttle. Remember that putting both feet on the ground may give you a false sense of stability, and an over-reliance on the front brake, which is not ideal when you want to come to a stop without upsetting your balance on the bike.
Use your rear brake
This is so important, that we need to mention it twice. Grabbing too much front brake while leaned over will cause your bike to fall over. Use your rear brake to lengthen the wheelbase of your bike, resulting in more stability at low speed.
Only use your front brake while upright and when you need the stopping power. Don’t forget that there are two levers on a motorcycle, don’t forget to use them both when the situation calls for it.
Watch your speed
There is a difference between lane filtering and lane splitting. Lane splitting is fast and carries a big amount of risk, while lane filtering is more calculated, and done slower. That being said, it’s important to exercise caution when doing either act.
Watch your speed and watch the speed of other cars and motorcyclists on the road. Make sure to give way to other motorcyclists that want to take the lane, and know who has the right of way. Also, pay attention and don’t try and overtake cars when they are lurching forward. The last thing you want is to be clipped in a vehicle’s blind spot because he didn’t see you.
Know your bike’s dimensions
If you’re on a cruiser or an adventure bike, you should know its widest points. If there are panniers attached to the back, or if your mirrors are quite tall, then make the necessary adjustments to how you ride.
Whenever you see a big bike out on the road, you rarely see them filtering along with the other scooters and underbones, simply because they cannot fit. Develop a sixth sense when you ride. Treat the motorcycle as an extension of your body and familiarize yourself with all of its dimensions lest you clip another motorist on the road.
Modify your bike
Now, here is the fun part. You can actually modify your motorcycle to be more efficient at lane filtering. Perhaps log on to your favorite sales website and get a pair of bar-end mirrors. They might not have the same visibility as the stock set, but they are shorter, and they’re closer to your hands.
On top of that, you can also get other modifications like slimmer bar-end weights, or change your handlebars entirely. For city traffic, we advise that you don’t go for a set of clip-ons, as they will compromise your bike’s ease of steering. If you can live with it, however, it’s all a matter of preference.