Junctions are hazards, especially for motorbike riders. Because motorbikes can travel fast and are smaller than other vehicles, it can be difficult for other road users to see them, until it’s too late. At junctions, you need to be careful that you observe exactly what’s happening around you and that you check that other drivers have seen you.

Different rules apply to different junctions: make sure you know the rules, especially about who has priority, for using

  • T-junctions (where a minor road joins a major road)
  • Y-junctions (where a minor road joins a major road at an angle)
  • staggered junctions (where roads join from the left and right so the path from one side road to another is not a straight line)
  • crossroads
  • roundabouts.

If you’re unsure of the rules, take a look at ‘The Official DVSA Guide to Riding – the essential skills’ and 'The Official Highway Code'.

The Observation – Signal – Manoeuvre routine

Always use the OSM/PSL routine at junctions.

  • Observation: look in your mirrors and all around you so you’re aware of the traffic situation.
  • Signal: signal clearly and in good time.
  • Manoeuvre: use the PSL routine
    Position your motorbike correctly and in good time.
    Speed: adjust it as necessary.
    Look for other traffic.

Just before you make your manoeuvre, use the ‘lifesaver’ check: this is a quick check over your shoulder into the blind spot, to make sure nothing unexpected is happening, before you go ahead with your manoeuvre.

Turning left

When you’re turning left, use the OSM/PSL routine as you approach the junction. Keep to the left side of the road. Slow down and choose the correct gear.

Watch out for

  • vehicles parking or parked just before a left-hand junction or parked just around the corner
  • vehicles approaching in the side road
  • pedestrians already crossing the road – they have priority
  • cyclists coming up on your left – use a quick ‘lifesaver’ glance over your left shoulder
  • loose or slippery road surfaces
  • road users in a cycle or bus lane if you’re crossing it when turning.

Turning right

When you’re turning right, use the OSM/PSL routine as you approach the junction. Move as close to the centre of the road as is safe so vehicles can pass on your left if there’s room. Take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your right shoulder just before you turn.

Watch out for

  • oncoming traffic, especially other motorbikes and bicycles
  • vehicles overtaking oncoming traffic
  • vehicles waiting to emerge from the minor road
  • pedestrians already crossing the road – they have priority
  • anything that could stop you entering the minor road safely, leaving you on the wrong side of the road.

Remember that other road users may use a different road position to you, especially

  • drivers of large vehicles, who may need to move across the road so they can turn their vehicle, eg moving to the left before turning right
  • vulnerable road users such as cyclists and horse riders, who may signal to turn right at a junction or roundabout but stay on the left-hand side of the road for safety.

Emerging into a road

If you’re joining a road from a junction, you’ll need to judge the speed and distance of any traffic on the road.

You may not be able to see much of the road until you actually get to the junction. You’ll then need to look carefully, remembering that your view might be blocked by buildings, hedges, bends, other vehicles or the weather.

Only emerge when you can safely join the road: you may need to wait some time for a suitable gap.

If you’re crossing the path of approaching traffic to turn right into a major road, you’ll need to wait for a gap in both the oncoming traffic and the traffic you’re joining.

When you’ve emerged

  • make sure that you cancel your signal
  • check behind for the speed and position of other traffic
  • accelerate so your speed is correct for the road and conditions
  • keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

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