By: KGD Law
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Improve Your Motorcycle’s Visibility to Other Drivers
One of the saddest things we hear from drivers who have struck a motorcycle is that they never even saw the person riding. As a rider, you must remember that the ease and efficiency that comes with a smaller vehicle also presents a large danger to the rider, in that it is more difficult for other drivers to see you while you are riding, especially at high speeds. Luckily, there are many precautions you can take to ensure you are as safe on the road as you can be. Read on to find out how to improve your visibility while riding and stay as safe as possible.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
One of the biggest mistakes a motorcyclist can make on the road is to assume that every other vehicle can see them. It can be easy to get swept up in the joy of riding or the monotony of a daily commute and forget that you are not as visible as larger vehicles. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that you are safe on the road and others will notice you.
As a motorcyclist, you may be used to being more vigilant while driving, but you cannot assume the other cars on the road are doing the same, or even that they have the same viewpoints and visibility as you. Do not rely on others to see you first and be aware that other drivers may not fully understand that what is a minor obstacle for a car can spell out major danger for a bike. Poor weather conditions like rain, or even harsh sunlight, can make it difficult for drivers to see you as well.
Wear Visible Clothing
Putting on a brightly-colored piece of clothing as your top layer can go a long way in increasing your visibility to other drivers. Neon colors stand out to drivers, especially yellow, which is the first color to register in the human brain. You could also consider wearing a reflective vest or other accessories to make you more easily seen in poor conditions or at night.
Choose Your Bike Color Wisely
Black bikes may look sleek and cool and hide dirt and marks well, but this is the least visible color you could choose for your bike. Even in the daytime, this color tends to blend in with its surroundings. Consider choosing a brighter color, like white, red, or yellow, for your bike. Alternatively, you could add bright accessories, decals, or racing stripes. Any bold color on your bike will help create contrast and visibility.
Use Reflectors on Everything
Applying reflective tape and decals to your clothing, accessories, and bike are fundamental to making sure drivers and pedestrians can see you on the road. It is a good idea to put some on your helmet and the back of your boots. Reflectors on your gloves can make it easier for others to see your hand signals.
As for your bike, you want to outline as much of it as possible so cars can tell where you are and better recognize you as a motorcycle. Apply it on the front, sides, and back of your bike, as well as around the rims of your wheels. It is also a best practice to put some reflectors on your forks and any other piece of your bike that sticks out, especially if it is far from a light source. This can help your bike look larger at night, which will make you easier to spot and more likely to get a wider berth.
Take Note of Your Blind Spots
It is important to remember that drivers of other vehicles have blind spots. If you are in the area around the back half of the vehicle and to the side, and you cannot see the driver, there is a very high chance that they cannot see you or your bike either. Try not to spend time in this area for too long. Even if a driver was able to see you approach, if they haven’t been able to see you for a while, they might not remember you are there. Speed up to pass them or slow down to let them stay a healthy distance ahead of you.
Make sure you can see all of the drivers of the vehicles around you. If you can make eye contact with them through their mirrors, you are more likely in their line of sight. Don’t follow too close to vehicles ahead of you, and pass quickly and predictably.
Know Where to Be on the Road
As a motorcycle rider, you may have the luxury of driving anywhere in the lane, but that doesn’t mean you should. If you are on your bike, try your best to stay on the left side of the lane, closest to the center line. This is the most visible place for you to be seen by vehicles in front of or behind you and by oncoming traffic. You will also have more time and room to see onto side streets and around bends.
Use Your High Beams
Even though you may have headlights that are running all the time while riding, you might consider turning on your high beams to make yourself even more obvious. Motorcycles can accelerate and approach fast, and if your lights are not very strong or positioned too low, a driver may not see the beam well. High beams can help with this problem, and they can help you be seen when road glare reduces visibility. If you are riding at night, be sure to turn them down as your approach oncoming traffic if they are blinding other drivers.
Install Auxiliary Lights
If you have an older vehicle without, make sure to install running lights that are on all the time when you are driving. Even new bikes come with far fewer lights than cars, so it can be a great safety measure to add additional aftermarket lights on your motorcycle. This can expand your visible field to other drivers and can help them distinguish you as a motorcycle, rather than a bicycle or something stationary. The right lighting can also help oncoming vehicles better predict the speed at which you are approaching.
Utilize Your Brake Lights
Brake lights are one of the most visible areas on your bike. If you are concerned a car is following you too closely, tap your brakes gently (without braking suddenly). The driver may not have noticed your bike or they may not have realized they were not a safe distance away from you. Turning on your brake lights is a quick and effective way to get their attention.
Despite your best and safest efforts, accidents can still happen. If you took extra measures to ensure you were implementing safety precaution, but you were injured in a motorcycle accident anyway, you may have a solid case for receiving the proper compensation you deserve. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and want to know more about your options or if you have a case, contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz for an initial consultation with no obligation. We will put you in touch directly with one of our talented attorneys.