Boost Visibility Riding Your Motorcycle in the Dark


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Lighten up for Darker Riding Days

A weekend motorcycle tour or even a long daytime motorcycle ride usually means a ride home in the dark. As we head home or to our next destination for our overnight stop we need to ensure attention to the changes which occur not only to our surroundings but as to how we appear within the environment we ride. And often at the change of the season such as shortened autumn days, your motorcycle commute to work and home will be also in the dark.  Being seen and seeing the road in front of you is crucial to your safety and operational ability.

Here Are Six Tips to Boost Visibility for Riding Your Motorcycle in the Dark


Boost your Visibility

Upgrade your headlamp bulb

Upgrade your headlamp bulb  Consider replacing your headlamp bulb with a super brighter DOT approved model. This can greatly increase your view of the road and of course brighten up your presence to oncoming traffic. Some motorcyclists replace their headlight bulb with a non-DOT approved off-road lamp for effects (colour) and brightness. It’s best though to stay away from coloured bulbs (which generally are illegal) as these are more distracting than worthy. In most cases by upgrading to a better quality bulb you’ll be adding sometimes up to 60% increased two-way visibility! *TIP: Be sure to double-check that the bulb you wish to install is compatible with your “electrics”, right size etc. Check with your dealership/mechanic to be sure.

Boost your Visibility

Adjust Headlamp Angle

Upgrade your headlamp bulb Adjust Headlamp Angle
Where applicable inspect the angle of your headlamp. Often these are not in the best position to maximize your view of the road. The angle is a key step towards securing your own safety. Headlights can change position due to a variety of reasons. Naturally on many sport bike models this will not be possible however, do have a look often the inner bulb can shake loose.

Boost your Visibility

Add reflective detailing tape

Upgrade your headlamp bulb Add reflective detailing tape for your rims –  For a small cost you can purchase a roll of reflective pin-strip tape in various colours to stick around the inside edge of your rims. This is a reflective and coloured tape which you can purchase in a range of colours to accent your bike’s colour! So by day it adds a super cool looking accent and by night, reflection which when caught in the headlights of another vehicle illuminates the circumference of your tyres! This is a big bonus and added sideways safety. There are many manufacturers and a roll can be purchased for under $20.00.

Boost your Visibility

Add Reflective Tape to Your Gear & Bike

Upgrade your headlamp bulb Add Reflective Tape to Your Gear & Bike – Similar to the previous item, you can purchase stickers or adhesive or sewn on reflective tape/material to add to your gear and/or helmet. You can also place small pieces around your tail light, rear fender/fairings – or moto panniers/saddlebags. Very inexpensive and can be applied to blend in easily.

Short Motorcycle Lighting –  Often manufacturers’ use undersized brake lighting and often the aim of your headlight is lower to the street than the legal angle allows. Double check your front and rear lighting. If you have a small brake light, consider replacing the light with a larger model. If this is not possible you can add cool lighting to the back of your helmet and of course as suggested in number four, reflective tape.  And perhaps a bit more of #4 to that area.

Boost your Visibility

Wear A High Visibility Vest

Wear A High Visibility Vest –  This is a handy and versatile piece of gear. It can be worn over any motorcycle jacket. High vis vests are relatively inexpensive and offer terrific visibility for the rider. Read more about high visibility vests here.

Shine on!

Vicki GrayBy Vicki Gray
Editor, founder MOTORESS; motorcycle basic, advanced and race instructor certified for over 28 years. Motorcycle On-road and race licensing examiner. Coached, taught, examined riders for European, Caribbean and North American training institutes.