A weekend motorcycle tour or even a long daytime motorcycle ride can often turn into a ride in the dark. As we head home or to our next destination for our overnight stop, we need to adjust our riding technique and prepare for the changes occurring to our surroundings, particularly how we appear within the environment we ride. Being seen and seeing the road in front of you is crucial to your safety and operational ability. With these tips you can boost your visibility when riding your motorcycle in the dark!
Six Tips To Boost Your Visibility!
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 as much as a 6 percent increased two-way visibility! *TIP: Be sure to double-check that the bulb you wish to instal is compatible with your “electrics” ensuring it is the correct size, etc. Check with your dealership or mechanic to be sure.
Adjust Your Headlamp Angle
Inspect the angle of your headlamp. Often these are not in the best position to maximise your view of the road. The angle is a key step towards securing your own safety. Headlamps and bulbs can change position from road vibrations, age, and so forth. Inspect the inner bulb to ensure it is fixed in place and hasn’t become loose.
Short Motorcycle Lighting
Often manufacturers use undersized brake lighting and signal indicators which are difficult to see. And frequently the aim of your headlight is lower to the street than what the legal angle allows. Double check your front and rear lighting and signal indicators. If you have a small brake light, consider replacing the light with a larger model. If this is not possible you try adding lighting to the back of your helmet.
Add Reflective Tape
Purchase a roll of reflective pinstripe tape. This inexpensive tape is available in various colours to match your ride. It is applied to the inside edge of your rims. It is highly reflective and when caught in the headlights of another vehicle illuminates the circumference of your tires. It makes for a nice accent to your rims and provides the added bonus during night rides by being highly reflective. There are many suppliers to choose from and is available for under $20.00.
Add Reflective Tape or Decals to Your Gear
Similar to the previous item, you can purchase stickers or adhesive reflective tape to apply to your gear, helmet or motorbike. It is easy to place small pieces around your tail light, rear fender, fairings and panniers/saddlebags. Very inexpensive and can be applied to blend in easily.
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 highly reflective during the day and even more so at night or even during dark rainy days. They are easy to stow and carry. Truly part of a riders essential gear kit.
With the right management you’ll ensure you’ve done all you can to Boost Your Visibility When Riding In The Dark – and enjoy your night riding even more!
Vicki Gray – Editor