Riding your motorcycle at night can be an exhilarating and enjoyable experience. However, without proper preparation, night riding can be extremely dangerous. This is because it is difficult for motorists sharing the roadway to see you and respond appropriately to avoid hitting your bike. The easiest solution for increasing your safety when riding at night is to maximize your road presence. The illuminating tips below can help you do that.
Some motorcyclists believe it is the drivers responsibility to be more observant. However, because you do not have the power to teach all drivers how to be more responsible, the biggest danger you face on the road at night is the hazard you present to others who cannot see you.
That means it is crucial to dress appropriately and wear a Hi-Vis (high visibility) reflective jacket and gear. Consider placing high visibility fluorescent strips on your helmet, jacket and motorcycle too. The more you increase your visibility the safer your nighttime riding will be.
Maximize Headlight Range
Motorcycle manufacturers sell every bike with the headlight adjusted in a standard position that is likely not your riding position. The owner’s manual that came with your bike will provide information on how to adjust the headlight that will likely need to be pushed up or down to a position that maximizes your viewing area ahead. It is essential to sit on the motorcycle after adjusting the headlight to ensure it is in the correct position. Consider installing dual running headlights to the bike that provide noticeably more illumination compared to a single headlight.
Another way to maximize the range of your headlight beam is to clean the lens to remove dead insects, accumulated road dirt and moisture. Any tiny obstruction can produce a huge shadow that lessens the intensity of the beam.
Maximize Your Visibility
While it is important how well other see you on the roadway, it is also crucial how well you can see in the dark. The best way to maximize your sight includes:
- Make sure to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist.
- Wear your corrective lenses when necessary.
- Always clean your visor before heading out at night to remove dead insects, dirt, grime and oil.
Watch Out for Animals
Animals are the most unexpected obstacle in the roadway. Wild critters are incredibly unpredictable in their behavior, and the night hours tend to be there most active. If the creature strays into your oncoming path, having adequate time to brake or swerve out of the way is crucial to your survival.
Speed is a leading cause of motorcycle fatalities during the day and night. Because of that, you should only travel as fast as you are able to see ahead. Riding your bike at a safe speed can provide you ample time to make a quick adjustment if others are unaware of your presence.
Remember that it is easier for other drivers to spot you when you ride your bike in the primary tire tracks of your lane. Additionally, if you ride on the outside or center of your lane you are more likely to hit unseen debris in the darkness. Also, riding to close to the road’s edge usually blends you and the bike in with the background street lighting. Riding toward the middle of the road is extremely dangerous because it tends to have a more slippery surface and accumulated dirt than the tire tracks of your lane.
The majority of motorcycle accidents with fatalities at night occur because a driver turned left into the pathway of the motorcyclist. However, rear end collisions and intersection accidents are also high on the list of causing biker injuries and death while traveling at night.
Utilizing the best riding techniques can save your life. Avoid racing with other bikers, showing off in front of others or moving around vehicles unexpectedly when waiting for a red light to change. Remaining alert and aware of unseen additional hazards is crucial to your safety because you will likely deal with decreased temperatures, animals in the roadway and drunk drivers. When heading out into the darkness keep the above tips in mind to maximize your safety.