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View Full Version : bikes again, or why do people drive on the wrong side of the road?



jonboy
02-27-2013, 02:31 PM
just a thought.... bikes of the motor kind weren't invented in UK though the industry and world market seemed dominated by them for some years, arguably ...but every bike i've ever had , has a side stand on the left, tilting the bike in left hand drive countries towards the curb (kerb ?) sensible, but in RHD countries into the traffic not a good idea, methinks, what say you ?

Ian McColgin
02-27-2013, 02:38 PM
Most people are right-handed. For that reason it's more convenient to that majority when walking beside and wheeling a bike to stand with the bike on one's right. For that reason, by convention, the chain is on the bike's right where it's more away from the person walking the bike and less likely to tangle or dirty pants legs. Once the chain location is determined, which it had been for almost a century before kick-down bike stands became normal, then the stand must go on the other side.

Paul Pless
02-27-2013, 02:45 PM
bikes of the motor kind weren't invented in UK though the industry and world market seemed dominated by them for some yearsreally?

What came first the left side kickstand or the right side kickstarter? Its easy from a manufacturing standpoint to move the kick stand from one side to the other, but the kick starter not so much. . .

From what side do people mount horses in left hand drive nations?

jonboy
02-27-2013, 02:57 PM
yeah really, UK centric point of view I admit but i also dont agree with the chain on the right arguement ... The only right side drive bike i have ever had has been a harley with a belt ... all (?) (maybe I'm wrong) yurpeen and jap bikes i have ever had apart from the odd competition model, have had left side drive chains,,,,even the old pans and knucks were l h s chain.... and back to the original point, l h s side stands too.... we probably have all heard the argument for driving on the left, started from if you had to mount a horse you didn't want to stand in the middle of the road , and the berm was therefore probably higher and therefore easier on the left than the middle road..

Ian McColgin
02-27-2013, 03:01 PM
Everyone who is civilized mounts from the left but that's nothing to do with left hand or right hand drive.

Most folk are right handed so whether walking or riding it's natural to hang to the left and meet on-coming people with your stronger right side. That became a right-of-way convention, especially for mounted people, through out Europe so as carriages began to dominate roads, rather than riders and pedestrians, the convention just carried on even though it makes no difference to a carriage driver.

In the US, on the other hand, road traffic was dominated by oxen pulling wagons. Teamsters walk beside the wagon just behind the oxen team and it's more convenient to walk to the left so the whip hand is better placed. So our convention grew to travel on the right.

Most of Europe and Asia were converted to right hand drive after WWII with all those US occupation troops. I believe Britian was the last hold out.

Ian McColgin
02-27-2013, 03:02 PM
I can see from jonboy's remarks that I should have been more clear. I was writing of bicycles, which antedate motor cycles by a bit.

wardd
02-27-2013, 03:02 PM
i wonder why the uk drives on the left, seems unnatural to me

wardd
02-27-2013, 03:07 PM
Why do some countries drive on the rightand others on the left ?

http://www.worldstandards.eu/driving%20on%20the%20left.htm

wardd
02-27-2013, 03:08 PM
found it

jonboy
02-27-2013, 03:14 PM
ok ok ok thread point is why do all motor bikes have the side stand -leaning into the traffic ... except for aus, uk, NZ most of Africa, Japan most of indonesia....oh yeah the brits are the only ones who drive on the left....? aybe I answered my own question...

Peerie Maa
02-27-2013, 03:27 PM
Dunno about bikes, but the argument on driving on the left or right has been much discussed here.
The received wisdom is that every one who rode or drove did so on the left, so that they presented right hand to right when meeting oncoming riders. Pedestrians always should walk facing oncoming vehicles, so the poor walked on the right.
This was universal throughout Europe until the French revolution. For them it became politically expedient for the wealthy to behave like the peasants, so they swapped to the same side of the road and drove on the right. The insanity has been spreading like an infection from that time and from that place. We have the channel to protect us from the disease.:D

Paul Pless
02-27-2013, 03:29 PM
Everyone who is civilized mounts from the left but that's nothing to do with left hand or right hand drive. No, but it may have something to with the convention of mounting a motorcycle from the left. . .

Phillip Allen
02-27-2013, 03:30 PM
my horse has his kickstand on the left (but he drives all over the road and in the ditch if I don't watch him)

jonboy
02-27-2013, 04:03 PM
so all the citizens of countries where the bike lent into the traffic just went that's cool as another one got wiped out by a close-to- the -kerbdriver


and then there's jousting of course... on 'the majority are r handed ' theory the tilts were left hand drive...so still, the uk and most of the world except usa are l h d but Bony had a bit of influence including the metric system and unsuccessfully invading vast tracts of the world and apart from a few errors like moscow and iberia ....

wardd
02-27-2013, 04:05 PM
my horse has his kickstand on the left (but he drives all over the road and in the ditch if I don't watch him)

the horses here stand in my way when i'm mowing, especially if they're pregnant, as if saying "you expect me to move?"

PeterSibley
02-27-2013, 04:26 PM
Most people are right-handed. For that reason it's more convenient to that majority when walking beside and wheeling a bike to stand with the bike on one's right. For that reason, by convention, the chain is on the bike's right where it's more away from the person walking the bike and less likely to tangle or dirty pants legs. Once the chain location is determined, which it had been for almost a century before kick-down bike stands became normal, then the stand must go on the other side.

Really? I'm left handed and wheel a bike on my right,to do so on the left seems quite unnatural.

The Bigfella
02-27-2013, 04:52 PM
Everyone who is civilized mounts from the left but that's nothing to do with left hand or right hand drive.

Most folk are right handed so whether walking or riding it's natural to hang to the left and meet on-coming people with your stronger right side. That became a right-of-way convention, especially for mounted people, through out Europe so as carriages began to dominate roads, rather than riders and pedestrians, the convention just carried on even though it makes no difference to a carriage driver.

In the US, on the other hand, road traffic was dominated by oxen pulling wagons. Teamsters walk beside the wagon just behind the oxen team and it's more convenient to walk to the left so the whip hand is better placed. So our convention grew to travel on the right.

Most of Europe and Asia were converted to right hand drive after WWII with all those US occupation troops. I believe Britian was the last hold out.

That last bit simply isn't right. I have ridden or driven in the following countries and all of them drive on the left. New Guinea, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand. You can add Japan to this and others as well.

The Bigfella
02-27-2013, 04:57 PM
As for chains on the left, my BMW's both have the drive on the right. One is shaft drive and the other is chain drive. My East German MZ has the same, the chain on the right.

switters
02-27-2013, 05:02 PM
swords

The Bigfella
02-27-2013, 05:26 PM
Can't get away from the old red vs blue conflict eh?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/Countries_driving_on_the_left_or_right.svg/800px-Countries_driving_on_the_left_or_right.svg.png

Lew Barrett
02-27-2013, 06:54 PM
No, but it may have something to with the convention of mounting a motorcycle from the left. . .



I find it natural to mount from the left. Feels wrong, and harder, doing it on the right. Ian's right about pushing them around for right handed people. Much easier to manage from the left side. As far as motorbikes, the chain and shaft thing seems variable depending on transmission layout, output shafts and other factors. Most but by no means all modern bikes have their chains on the left side.

stevebaby
02-27-2013, 07:11 PM
Everyone who is civilized mounts from the left but that's nothing to do with left hand or right hand drive.

Most folk are right handed so whether walking or riding it's natural to hang to the left and meet on-coming people with your stronger right side. That became a right-of-way convention, especially for mounted people, through out Europe so as carriages began to dominate roads, rather than riders and pedestrians, the convention just carried on even though it makes no difference to a carriage driver.

In the US, on the other hand, road traffic was dominated by oxen pulling wagons. Teamsters walk beside the wagon just behind the oxen team and it's more convenient to walk to the left so the whip hand is better placed. So our convention grew to travel on the right.

Most of Europe and Asia were converted to right hand drive after WWII with all those US occupation troops. I believe Britian was the last hold out.My grandfather was taught by the British Army to mount a horse from either side (something I can't do!) but usually mounted from the left.
Having been taught by the Army to ride a horse in a competent manner, there was no possible excuse for falling off. Falling off was called "dismounting without permission" and was a chargeable offence.

jonboy
02-28-2013, 05:26 AM
As for chains on the left, my BMW's both have the drive on the right. One is shaft drive and the other is chain drive. My East German MZ has the same, the chain on the right.

granted, but where's the sidestand? this came up because of the yam ty being the first bike I have had with the sidestand on the right

Chris Woodward
02-28-2013, 08:27 AM
really?

From what side do people mount horses in left hand drive nations?
The backside:d

Ian McColgin
02-28-2013, 09:56 AM
The habit of mounting from the left again comes from most folk being right-handed. It's natural for men-at-arms to carry long edge weapons on their left for a handy cross-draw. So you mount a horse on that side to avoid having to fling the scabbard across the horse's rump. Horses are creatures of habit and it is in fact easier to train a horse to stand still for mounting from just one side, rather than from both. Easier but not too terribly hard. When I started whipping-in (assisting the Huntsman in managing the pack) I found that I was always getting off and back on as I pulled hounds out of impossible snarls and snags. In deep timber it's nice to have a horse that tolorates mounting or dismounting in any direction so I trained my pony. He actually liked being part of the real action so it went well.

But mostly it's now a convention that once had a reason. Sort of like how halyards are arranged such that the falls for stuff that's behind the mast are to starboard while the falls for stuff ahead of the mast are to port. Think of the convention of a sloop's main halyard vs jib halyard. If you're a right hander, stand at the base of a mast handling each and notice which way just naturally gives you a better view of the sail being raised.

BrianW
02-28-2013, 10:38 AM
At work we have a right hand drive Toyota pickup, but drive on the right side of the road. It's not exactly convenient going around some bends. Visibility sucks as the A pillar is often in the way.

However, I'm ready for driving in Britain, Australia, or any of the other colonies. I've even come to enjoy shifting left handed. Thank God they didn't switch the pedals!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-28-2013, 12:09 PM
Talking of switching pedals, of course, have you considered why the back brake is on the right and the gearchange on the left on a motorbike?

It's to facilitate a right hand drive sidecar.

A proper sidecar rig has a chair brake - the chair brake pedal lies under the rear brake pedal so you can apply both together or, of you want to do a "handbrake turn", just stamp on the chair brake. This means that the brake pedal must be on the same side as the sidecar, and considerations of rig geometry involving toe in and lean and suchlike make it very awkward, and actually dangerous, to have the chair on the up camber side of the bike.

Ancient British motorcycles were the other way round; brake on the left (chair side) gear change originally of course a hand change on the right side but when that became a pedal the pedal was on the right.

Japanese bikes despite coming from a right hand drive country have always been set up for left hand drive and eventually the British did the same - this I suspect is in part because sidecars became less inportant and in part because of the importance of the USA as an export market.

jonboy
02-28-2013, 01:18 PM
I thought Japan drives on the left......?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-28-2013, 01:35 PM
Yes, so their cars are right hand drive, like British cars.

jonboy
02-28-2013, 02:06 PM
Ok see what you mean

purri
03-02-2013, 02:44 AM
Ian McColgin and Andrew C-B are both correct as the convention for cavalry (and "nobles") is that one passes on the left if contemplating self defence/combat. BTW cavalry horses had short or calloused ears due to enthusiastic amateur officers.