Cars, trucks, and other larger vehicles dominate the road. Motorcycles simply aren’t on their radar, so you have to think of ways on how to make your motorcycle more visible.
Safety should always be your top concern when riding on the road. The more you and your bike can grab the attention of other drivers, the lesser the chance of collision.
If you need help with making your bike more visible, this post is for you. Today, we’ll share 8 easy things you can do to make your motorcycle more visible for your and everyone’s safety.
Why is It Important to Make Your Motorcycle More Visible?
Visibility is always a matter of life and death for motorcycle riders.
According to the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS,) the leading cause of crashes between bikes and cars is visibility. Additionally, the lack of visibility was the main factor of these crashes 65% of the time.
The fog, strong winds, and rain can all contribute to poor visibility. So, whether you ride a sportbike or a naked bike, you always have to be prepared.
8 Tips on How to Make Your Motorcycle More Visible
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 1: Riding Brightly-Colored Motorcycles
Motorcycles already have a lot of disadvantages on the road. For one, they’re smaller and can accelerate and decelerate much faster than car drivers are used to. This makes them more difficult to see and harder to gauge from a distance.
Dark-colored motorcycles can make the problem worse. Darker colors will only make your small rocket ship a lot more difficult to see, especially at faster speeds.
So, picking a brightly-colored motorcycle can increase the chance of other drivers noticing you. It also doesn’t matter if they only see you out of the corner of their eye. This fraction of a second difference in reaction time can be the difference between life and death.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 2: Wearing High-Visibility Motorcycle Gear
When riding a motorcycle, riders take up almost the same amount of visual space as the bike itself. Meaning, you have a big role to play as your motorcycle in terms of being seen.
You’ve probably learned as a kid that high-visibility yellow or orange meant to pay attention or caution. Therefore, wear a high-visibility jacket or helmet when riding to draw others’ eyes instantly to you. This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to make sure you always stay visible.
Some riders, on the other hand, don’t like wearing high-visibility gear at all. This is probably because it detracts from the traditional biker image. But, will you really prioritize your looks over your general safety?
After all, it’s easier and cheaper to own several high-visibility gear than to have several motorcycles, right?
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 3: Using Reflective Tape
Placing reflective tapes helps increase your motorcycle’s visual footprint. We recommend sticking them on the front of your forks and on any piece that sticks from a light source. So, for instance, on top of a tall windscreen or the edges of your panniers.
Reflective tapes won’t do much for you during the day. But, they’ll serve as independent light sources at night and can even help make your bike look bigger.
Sticking them around your rim wheels is another great idea. Aside from making a cool rim stripe, the wheels will stay unobscured once the bike is near a light source.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 4: Staying Out of Blind Spots
Blind spots are called blind spots for a reason. If you put your motorcycle somewhere drivers can’t see you without turning their heads, your fate depends on their vigilance.
Never hang out behind the B-pillar of a vehicle. While you can’t avoid blind spots completely, make your passes swiftly. Plus, get into a lane position that all cars can see and can give a little buffer in case one of them fails to notice you.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 5: Tapping the Brakes
Most people don’t know that their brakes have a secondary function. Tapping your brakes rapidly turns your brake light into a giant blinker. Doing this will, hopefully, signal the driver behind you to be more focused to avoid getting into an accident.
Tapping your brakes also works well for tailgaters or if you want to warn your buddies of dangerous road conditions.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 6: Using High Beams to Make Your Motorcycle More Visible
There may be different opinions on this, but consider riding with your high beams at any time of the day. Most drivers won’t be upset or feel blinded since they won’t be seen in the contrast of nighttime visibility.
Whether you annoy them or they think your headlight is pointed incorrectly, they’ll notice you and that’s what matters.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 7: Adding Auxiliary Lights
Auxiliary lights and reflective tapes pretty much have the same benefits: they add light sources to your motorcycle. However, auxiliary lights are better because they work around the clock and they give additional light so you can see at night.
You can add them to the front or back of your motorcycle and set them to various strobes or intensities.
Plus, a Honda study claims that the lights create a face-like appearance on the front of your bike. This increases your ability to determine a bike’s distance by 10% and its speed by 20%. Put your auxiliary lights high up and spaced out to make facial proportions on your motorcycle.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible Tip # 8: Using Your Horn
Horns are usually referred to as a “middle finger that you can hear.” But, they’re very useful, especially to motorcycle riders.
A quick tap can alert that distracted driver of your presence and that it’s time to get off their phone. Horns are particularly helpful for those cars about to pull out into traffic without even looking in your direction yet. A quick “beep” will make them look at you and make them stop from moving forward as you approach.
How Can Motorists Make the Road Safer for Motorcyclists?
Look for Traffic and Look Again for Motorcyclists When Making Left Turns
Many accidents involving cars and motorcycles happen at intersections when drivers turn left into an oncoming biker. This is because motorcycles are less visible than other vehicles, making it hard to determine their oncoming speed.
So, for motorists, take some extra time at any type of intersection. This will ensure that the way is clear of traffic, especially motorcycles.
Leave Motorcyclists With as Much Space as Possible
Cars and other larger vehicles can easily avoid bumps, potholes, and road debris. If they don’t, they might only cause some slight jarring, which is no big deal.
For motorcyclists, on the other hand, avoiding these hazards is a matter of life and death. This is why motorcyclists swerve within their lane more frequently. Most roads resemble an obstacle course from their perspective, so they need to be aware of their surroundings at all costs.
Therefore, always give motorcyclists enough space to swerve and brake to avoid obstacles on the road. If you’re going to pass a motorcycle, never crowd it and move past it as quickly as possible.
Stay Well Behind Motorcycles
Motorcycles have shorter stopping distances compared to trucks and cars. Meaning, you can’t stop as fast as the motorcycle in front of you.
If you rear-end another car, all the other parts of the car are there to protect the driver. This isn’t the case for a motorcycle rider.
Practice good defensive driving and double the distance you would give if a car were in front of you. The general rule is to leave at least four seconds’ worth of distance when driving behind a motorcycle.
Make a Mental Note
Just as you would remind yourself of your tasks every morning, when driving, remind yourself that there are bikers out there, too.
Some may ride large touring bikes and three-wheelers while others may ride small street-legal bikes. If you always remind yourself that you may encounter the smallest of motorcycles, you’ll be more aware of all motorcycles. You’ll also be a more conscientious driver overall.
Always Signal Your Intentions
Letting motorcyclists know what you’re trying to do isn’t just courtesy: it’s the law. Make sure to signal your intentions when turning, changing lanes, merging with traffic, etc. It can save someone’s life.
Check Your Mirrors and Blind Spots
This is a general tip and more on using your common sense. Always keep an eye on your mirrors and blind spots, especially when switching lanes. A glance into your blind spot is usually enough.
However, that’s not the only time when it’s important to look at your mirror for motorcycles. Check your mirror before opening your car door as well to prevent any accident.
And, most of all, never drive while distracted or drunk!
Motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable in terms of road accidents. This is why you must do everything you can to make your motorcycle more visible. Make sure to keep these tips in mind so you can have more confidence next time you’re on the road.
Happy shopping and always stay safe!