Did you know that most accidents involving a motorcycle are related to the fact that bikes and bikers are undetectable by motorists on the road? Here are 6 tips to improve your safety by simply being visible.
Finally, the nice weather is back! It will soon be time to hit the road on your motorcycle. This is the perfect time to check your machine and review your gear and equipment to start the season safely. Why not take the opportunity to reduce the risks of accidents? As we start the new biking season, here are a few tips to keep you from fatally blending into the scenery!
The statistics speak for themselves
Most importantly, let’s look at the numbers which show how vulnerable motorcyclists are on the roads. Although motorcycles represent less than 3% of the total road fleet (registered vehicles), motorcyclists are over-represented in road user fatalities at 13.9%.
When riding a motorcycle, you are 6.8 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to combined drivers and passengers of all other road vehicles.
Now you know! Vigilance is crucial! Following these tips will significantly reduce your risk of a collision. As the saying goes: Prevention is better than cure...especially as a motorcyclist.
1. Wear bright colors
This is the main rule! And perhaps the most difficult to follow! It's a fact: bright colors make you more visible. If it's your first season, this is the first thing to consider, both in your choice of motorcycle, and your protective gear.
Most collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle occur at junctions. Compared to other motor vehicles, motorcycles are much smaller and more difficult to spot on the road, especially when seen from the front. A study conducted by Kentucky University’s researchers reveals that in accidents where the driver was unable to detect the biker and cut him off, the motorcycle color was a determining factor. In 36% of the cases, the bike was black.
Although attractive and stylish, the Batman-colored black motorcycle is unfortunately not your best ally in terms of visibility. Go for yellow, green, and orange colours. And if you don't like garish colors, remember that white makes you more noticeable at night and during the day.
Everyone knows how important is to wear a helmet to help either avoid or significantly reduce severe injuries to the head and neck in case of an impact or crash. Also, the importance of helmet visibility cannot be underestimated.
When you ride a bike, your helmet is the highest and most visible object, especially in urban traffic. A white or brightly colored helmet will definitely draw more attention in the rear-view mirror of the other motorists. Do plain colors bore you? Helmets are available with highly visible graphics! Get inspired!
Gear is also important for visibility. Specialized motorcycle gear usually features reflective strips that make you visible at night. Wearing a colored jacket also increases your chances of being more noticeable during daylight.
2. Add accessories that improve your visibility
Do you already have all your motorcycle gear? Several accessories can be added to increase your visibility.
You can install self-adhesive reflective tapes on your motorcycle or your gear at nominal cost. Reflective tapes are mandatory in some European countries, and they are sometimes included in helmet packaging. Don’t miss out on this easy way to improve your safety! If you need to carry personal items, look for specialized motorcycle backpacks. Select one with reflective elements. They help make you more visible, depending on the model, and also improve aerodynamics while providing additional certified protection.
Depending on the riding conditions, it may be a good idea to have a highly visible (hi-viz) jersey, jacket, or belt on hand. In case of fog, rain or poorly lit roads, the famous yellow raincoat with reflective stripes will be safer than a black jacket.
It is also suggested to install auxiliary lights on the motorcycle to allow other road users to better detect you and to better evaluate distances. Mount them near the rear-view mirrors and at the bottom of the fork to make the motorcycle look more massive.
3. Stay out of blind spots and follow the Highway Safety Code
Staying visible does not depend only on the equipment. Your behavior on the road is equally important. Respect distances and avoid blind spots, especially those of heavy vehicles. Don’t forget that they need a lot of space to turn. Avoid sudden moves and signal your intentions. Passing on the right and changing lanes without signalling puts you at increased risk. Show good citizenship and follow Highway Safety Codes while being respectful of other drivers and road users.
4. Use your high beams even in broad daylight
Did you know that driving with your high beams on in broad daylight is highly advised? This has been proven to be effective in making motorcycles more visible on roads and at junctions during the day. Don’t worry, this will not blind oncoming drivers; this will draw their attention.
5. Pump your brakes repeatedly in emergency situations
If you must suddenly slow down or come upon heavy traffic, pump your brakes repeatedly. This simple action can be a signal to draw the attention of motorists behind you.
Being heard is a good way of getting yourself noticed. Instead of revving your engine, which is against the law, get in the habit of using your horn! If you think you are not being noticed, make yourself heard. Honk!
Motorcyclists, get yourself seen!
Spring has arrived! It’s time to get on your motorcycle and hit the road! Just remember that other motorists may no longer be used to sharing the road with motorcyclists, so for your own safety, make yourself seen. Whether by using bright colors for your bike, your equipment, and your gear, or adding accessories, keep good driving habits: STAY VISIBLE!
It's a simple way to reduce risk on the road.
Be safe! Be seen!