Finally, good weather is coming 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. It is also the right time to remind you that visibility is a key component of your safety.
Did you know that a majority of accidents involving a motorcycle is due to the fact that the other motorists were unable to detect the presence of bikers on the road?
At the beginning of this new motorcycle-riding season, here a few tips to help you stay more visible to other motorists.
#1 — Wear bright colors
This is the basic rule! The best way to be seen, day or night, is to wear brightly colored clothing.
The majority of crashes occur at junctions. Compared to motor vehicles, motorcycles are much smaller and more difficult to spot on the road, especially when seen from the front. Although attractive and sophisticated, the traditional black motorcycle is not your best ally in terms of visibility. A study conducted by researchers from Kentucky University reveals that in accidents where the driver was unable to detect the motorcyclist and cut him off, the motorcycle color was a determining factor. In 36% of the cases, it was black.
Do you want to be seen? Avoid blending into the landscape! Opt for yellow, green and orange colours. Do you dislike garish colors? Then use white, as this color makes you more visible at night.
Everyone knows the importance of wearing a helmet, to avoid or significantly reduce the severity of injuries to the head and neck in case of accident. Also, do not underestimate its significance in terms of visibility.
When you ride your bike, your helmet is the highest and most visible object, especially when driving in urban traffic. A white or a brightly colored helmet will surely draw more attention in the rear view mirror of the other drivers on the road. Do plain colors bore you? Helmets are available with highly visible graphics! Get inspired!
Besides the bike and helmet, you should wear clothing designed to maximize your visibility. Specialized motorcycle gear usually includes reflective strips to make you more visible at night. Wearing light and bright colored outerwear increases your chances to also be visible by day.
In addition, there is clothing made of light-reflecting fabrics. For example, Macna jackets are designed with the Night-Eye technology. Although they appear to be common garments during the day, they offer high visibility at night.
There is a growing recognition of the value of specialized clothing in providing you with increased protection. When it’s time to get your equipment, make sure to pay more attention to the visibility it provides. Prevention is always better than cure.
#2 — Add accessories that increase your visibility
Do you already have all your equipment? You can increase your visibility by adding or using some accessories.
At little cost, you can add self-adhesive reflective strips onto your clothing, helmet or motorcycle. These strips are mandatory in European countries, and are often included in product packaging. Don’t miss out on this easy to do yourself safety measure!
Your backpack can also be an important high-visibility component. Use a backpack specially designed for bikers; it will offer you additional protection. Choose one with a bright color and reflective strips.
Finally, you can add auxiliary lights to your motorcycle. This makes you more visible to other motorists and helps them better evaluate distance and approach speed.
#3 — Use your high beams even in broad daylight
Did you know that it is recommended to drive with your high beams on in broad daylight? This has been proven to be effective in making motorcycles more visible on the roads and at junctions during the day. Don’t worry about blinding oncoming drivers; be rather certain this will draw their attention.
#4 — 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 used as a signal to draw the attention of motorists behind you.
#5 — Honk!
“Loud pipes save lives!” This popular expression in the motorcycle world, illustrates the matter well: honking is a good way of making yourself be seen and heard. 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 seen, honk!
#6 — Stay out of blind spots and respect the Highway Safety Code
Staying visible is not only a matter of equipment. Your behavior on the road is equally important. Respect distances and avoid remaining in blind spots, especially those of heavy vehicles. Take into consideration 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 respect Highway Safety Codes as well as other drivers on the road.
Motorcyclists, get yourself seen!
Spring has arrived! It’s time to get on your bike and hit the road! Just remember that other motorists may not be used to sharing the road with motorcyclists, so for your own safety, make yourself be seen. Whether by using bright colors for your bike, your equipment and your gear, or keeping good driving habits, make sure to always be visible! These are all simple ways of decreasing your risks of being in a collision that could prove to be fatal.
Also, think of equipping your passenger!
Have a great season of visibility and safety!