If there’s one concern that should top every motorcycle lover’s list when it comes to priorities, it’s definitely safety. Naturally, safety starts with a well-maintained bike, defensive driving, and a watchful eye on other vehicles you’re sharing the road with. However, it’s important to remember how easy it is for other drivers to completely overlook motorcycles as well. Most drivers just don’t have cyclists on the brain when they’re driving, so it’s up to you to remind them you’re out there.
Your best bet is to make sure you and your bike are as visible as possible when you’re out there on the open road. The easier it is for other drivers to see you, even if they’re distracted, the lower your likelihood of winding up in an accident. The following are some stellar tips to keep in mind while you outfit yourself and your bike with safety in mind.
Dress to Be Seen
All drivers have been conditioned to sit up and take notice when they see certain colors, so you’ll want to dress for riding with that knowledge in mind. Think reflective motorcycle helmets, jackets, and accessories in bright colors people associate with caution, such as yellow, orange, or fluorescent green. The eyes of the drivers around you will instinctively be drawn in your direction, meaning they’ll definitely see you and take care. You can also invest in actual high visibility safety gear designed especially with safety in mind.
Drive a Colorful Bike
As sleek and appealing as a jet black bike may sound on paper, it may not be your best option if you’re looking to be as safe as possible. As is the case with your clothing, the more eye-catching the better, so consider choosing a brightly colored motorcycle over some of the lower-key alternatives. Colors like red, orange, yellow, bright green, or bright blue are all great options that can snag a driver’s attention in an instant. The sooner you’re seen, the easier it will be for that driver to avoid any sort of trouble. A fraction of a second may not seem like much, but it can literally mean the difference between a near miss and a horrible, fatal accident.
Be Aware of Blind Spots
While it would be great if every driver out there on the road made it a point to be hyper-vigilant and aware to the max at all times, that’s just not the world we live in. Riding a motorcycle means being aware enough for you and anyone else you might be sharing the road with. Avoid blind spots where you can’t be seen unless the driver turns their head and makes it a point to look around. Pass other vehicles as quickly and safely as possible. Do your best to occupy a spot on the road that allows you to be seen by everyone else riding along with you.
Outfit Your Bike With Reflective Tape
There really isn’t any such thing as too much visibility when it comes to your bike. The more ways you can think of to be seen, the better. Motorcycle reflective tape is a terrific example of a simple, inexpensive way you boost the visibility of your bike in an instant, especially if you like to go riding at night or ever have to be out on the roads under less than ideal conditions. For best results, place some of the tape on any portion of your bike that extends out very far from your lights. Forks, panniers, and the edges of unusually tall windshields are all good places to consider. Many riders also choose to add more tape to the rims of their wheels, especially if fancy bodywork on their bike may make wheels hard to see.
Remember Your Horn
A lot of drivers dislike using their horn for fear of being seen as rude or impatient, but it’s important to remember that it’s there for a reason. You don’t necessarily have to lean on yours or honk at every driver that comes anywhere near you. However, a brisk tap or two is a great way to make sure a distracted driver who may not see you sits up and takes notice the way that he should. Even if they’re the type of hothead to get irritated at any sort of horn usage, better that than a collision that could really hurt you both.
Remember to Tap Your Brakes Too
Brakes are good for more than simply slowing down or stopping as needed. Remember, every tap of your brakes causes your tail lights to flash, meaning it’s a powerful way to communicate with other drivers on the road if they happen to be behind you. Flashing taillights can help jerk a distracted tailgater’s attention away from his cell phone or stereo controls and back to the road where it belongs. If you like to ride in groups with other bikers, brake tapping is a great way to warn buddies behind you of something dangerous you’ve spotted as well.
Install Auxiliary Lights
While reflective tape is a great way to increase your visibility under dark conditions or during foul weather, it won’t do much to help you in bright sunlight. Add auxiliary lights to make up the difference. Not only do they work like a charm to increase visibility under every possible lighting condition, but they make it easier for you to see under weather conditions that are less than ideal. For best results, place lights on both the front and back of your bike and arrange them in a configuration that’s “face-like” to help your bike stand out. You can find additional light kits for sale in just about any style you like at your favorite bike accessories dealer.
When it comes to motorcycles and road safety, there’s really no such thing as too careful when it comes to making sure other drivers can see you. The above suggestions are all wonderful places to start, but definitely feel free to think up more ways of your own to stay safe, visible, and protected on the road as well.