Saturday, 11 June 2011

Understanding the rules of the road

It is something of a truism to say that motoring in Italy differs much from that in the UK. Now I've been here a week I'm learning slowly how it works.

The Italian motorist abhors a vacuum
If you're riding along and there is a space in front of you, then the motorist behind you will overtake you to fill that space. No aggression here - it's just how they do things here.

Car drivers are generally tolerant of motorcycles.
You might not think so but they are. And it's really cool, because my riding is still a little wobbly at times. Often cars will slow a little to let me in or tolerate me pushing in at short notice.

Lanes and white lines are not for motorcyclists.
Bikes appear to entirely ignore these; nobody appears to worry about it. Mind you I've not yet been spotted by the Vigili Urbani.

Bikes can go - and park - almost anywhere in towns.
Some of the towns I've visited to date have 'historic' centres which are closed to traffic. But bikes go on right through and park bang in the middle. This is very convenient when you're sight-seeing.

Expect to brake or take sudden action at slip roads.
Slip roads are really short on Italian roads so you encounter cars that either:
  - rip from them at high speed causing you to take avoiding action; or
  - creep off them at slow speed forcing you to stop in your tracks.

More to follow . . .


  1. Hello again Mr Lodge ! This is exactly how things work for motorcycles in Greece ! In London car drivers have no respect for riders ! Not to mention westminster's policy for charging parking for motorcycles ! I think that when you get back you will be a valuable source of information for my prospective road trip from Greece to the UK !

    Take care,


  2. Further rules of the road at

  3. When I returned to the French roads on the way back, I missed the accommodation cars extend to motorbikes in Italy. Despite the rush and unruliness of it all, it's comfortable to ride in Italian cities.

    1. A fascinating insight! Just enjoying your blog John. Taking it page by page. I found it from your link on the CB500 forum, and as someone only a little younger than you, have enjoyed your shared experiences tremendously. Only had my CB500S for two days, but with only 5k miles on the clock, it needs to get out and see the world!

    2. Glad you enjoyed reading the blog, Nick. It was fun writing it - but more fun of course touring around on the Honda. Hope you enjoy your new bike too.
      Happy touring,