Continuing our theme of Motorcycle Safety Awareness for the month of May, we’re going to discuss motorcycle rider conspicuity. In other words, making motorcycles and their riders easier to see. Making motorcycles more conspicuous will result in less right of way violations for a motorcycle and its occupants, ultimately reducing crashes and other perilous events. Here’s a few ideas to make sure that a motorcyclist can be seen in a crowd of traffic:
Bright Colors – Obviously easier to see day or night, bright colors are more likely to be noticed than neutral or muted colors.
Reflective Vests – Enhancing a rider’s attire with a reflective vest can help other driver’s notice you. A reflective vest is a great choice if you use your motorcycle to commute, and your workplace has a specific dress code that does not include one piece leather race suits adorned with sponsor patches. Reflective vests are relatively inexpensive and breathe well, a boon to Florida riders.
Reflective Tape/Decals/Patches – These small additions to your riding gear could make all the difference in the wearer’s ability to be seen, especially at night. Your helmet is the highest point on a motorcycle rider adding reflective tape or decals on a helmet may be the best option in terms of long range visibility. Many riders choose to decorate their bikes with decals, why not add a couple that could potentially save a crash?
Headlights – This one is probably the easiest to use, because your motorcycle came with one, and hopefully the operator already possesses the necessary skill to activate the headlight. Many of the newer motorcycles have headlights that activate automatically when the ignition is on, if yours doesn’t, use the low beam. The low beam should provide sufficient lighting even during daytime hours, and will not tax a motorcycle’s delicate charging system.
Headlight Modulator – Federal law allows the use of headlight modulators on motorcycles. What’s a headlight modulator? A headlight modulator makes your headlight appear to flash. It intermittently lowers and raises the intensity of a headlight. So if you’ve ever seen a motorcycle constantly flashing it’s headlamp and wondered what was wrong with the motorcycle, the answer is most likely nothing; It’s equipped with a headlight modulator. Modulators are available in vehicle specific and universal fit applications and are commonly available at motorcycle shops.
Lane position – Let’s not forget lane positioning. As a motorcycle operator, choosing your position in a lane of travel can be very advantageous to your visibility. If multiple lanes are available, avoid the right lane to reduce interaction with traffic entering and leaving the roadway.
Some riders may balk at these tips, but hopefully all will take something positive away from these ideas. In the end, being conspicuous may keep another motorist from attempting to occupy the same space as you while travelling the roadways. Please ride and drive safely. Stay alert, and share the road.