A recent reader asked if it was legal, safe and wise to switch off the motorcycle when stopped for a long time at roadworks.
Firstly, it is not illegal to switch off your motorcycle when stopped at roadworks or even the traffic lights.
In fact, many modern cars have stop-go technology that automatically switches off the engine when stopped so long as your foot remains on the brake.
It is designed to save fuel and reduce emissions. The car restarts automatically when you release the brake.
Safe and wise?
Whether it is safe and wise is another matter.
When you stop at lights or roadworks, it is always advisable to position your bike in a wheel track and leave it running in case a vehicle behind does not stop.
Then you can choose an escape route, let the clutch out and get out of the way.
Some say it damages your clutch to hold the lever in and leave the engine running.
RACQ technical and road safety officer Steve Spalding says that if it’s a short wait, you will not do any damage to your bike’s clutch.
“The wear point is actually on the linkage that holds the clutch in the disengaged position,” says Steve, who owns a Suzuki Bandit and Triumph Bonneville.
“If you are waiting a long period and your bike has a wet clutch, you might like to switch off or pop the bike into neutral as there will be drag on the clutch pack and driveline,” he says.
Time to switch off
Once traffic behind you has stopped and the rear-end collision danger is mitigated, you may choose to switch off the engine.
This will not only save fuel and emissions but also help reduce the heat on your legs as you wait, often in the hot sun.
Also, you should think about your engine.
Air-cooled bikes don’t like idling for long periods.
While modern liquid-cooled bikes don’t have that problem, they are tuned to burn lean which makes them very hot on your legs when idling.
However, if you have filtered to the front of the roadworks or traffic-light queue, it might be frustrating and annoying for motorists behind you if your bike doesn’t restart quickly!