Show your hand early and always go behind

This blog is particularly to riders touring out of the cities but certainly, at least in part, has significance to city commuters also, so worth the read!
I’ve been offering this advise to our touring customers and my riding mates for years but a situation I found myself in recently has encouraged me to add it here as food for thought to our followers and all riders to help improve safety.
Coming through a sweeper on the Vung Tau side of Ho Tram nearly home from a few days in the Southern Highlands a local sleepy scooter jockey was in the centre of my lane coming head on and with little time for me to react. Usually they are at least at an angle either using the wrong side to leave their starting point or angled into their destination. In these daily situations it’s easy to avoid collision as you simply go behind them in either case. When someone is running dead centre though, clearly half asleep or pissed and you both go the same way that can be final. Thankfully rather than the horn my bike has quite a loud exhaust and dumping the clutch with a big handful of throttle was enough to get his attention and he let me know though in a rather wobbly fashion where he was going and my decision could be made to safely get past him.
SHOWING YOUR HAND EARLY is simply showing other riders, heavier transport, pedestrians or even animals as early as possible your intention. When you are undecided they in turn will be undecided or at the very least feel at risk. Both make the same decision late and bang.
Pedestrians crossing the road, show early your intention to go behind them. It’s a courtesy that shows they aren’t at risk. Riders and drivers coming at you the same applies. Let them know early where you are going. One situation where I will hold my position though and flashing the high beams at the same time is when heavy transport are about to attempt an unrealistic passing maneuver which happens often as they hold at least scooters in little regard. Going off the road or to the edge gives you no options if they use all and some of the space you’ve given them. If they do come out and some will they will stay tighter allowing you to give them enough space but stay on the black top.
ALWAYS GO BEHIND is exactly as it sounds. Cattle, goats, dogs, snakes, chickens, scooters and even dogs have one thing in common, NO REVERSE! Even for heavy transport getting into reverse takes time so is rarely ever their choice either. Passengers as mentioned previously will appreciate the courtesy.
DOGS can turn but if you show your intention early won’t as most have more road sense that many riders. The exception is when they are playing in pairs or a pack with their minds off the job so caution then.
GOATS will stay in the herd and those on the road pretty much live on the road so very predictable. Whilst giving them space and keeping an eye on them also check the other side of the road. The one separated from the herd is more the risk getting back to his mates.
CATTLE are even more predictable. Slow moving targets who will rarely surprise you. Space for those on the side and slowly and quietly through the herd on the road and no issues.
CHICKENS and other poultry you may sometimes have to turn to avoid them and the horn or a blip of the throttle will achieve that almost always.

SNAKES aren’t going to upset your bike but I don’t want to hit or kill anything and let’s face it the bit that hurts is at the front so whenever possible again behind. A King Cobra did strike at me on a slow sandy trail in the Cardomons in Cambodia a few years back. Felt him hit but loose touring pants so no penetration. Shit myself all the same!
In conclusion for most situations with animals and pedestrians actually, leave the horn alone. You certainly don’t need to startle anything.

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