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Top Ten Tips For Riding Your Motorcycle In The Dark

  Posted at 08:00:00 AM
  File under  Tips/How To Safety
  Author: David Wilson
  Location: United Kingdom

This is a guest post by David Wilson from Bikesure Open link in a new window.
The photos were inserted by Mike Werner.
For some people biking at night is the most exciting experience they'll ever have on two wheels and they can hardly wait for the dark.  For others it can be the most worrying part of motorcycling.

Night Motorcycle Riding

The safest bikers are probably those in between, those who know the dangers but don’t let it put them off the excitement.

There are perhaps two main rules for night biking: See, and Be Seen.  More than anything, your safety is likely to depend on how visible you are to other road users, and how quickly you can spot them approaching.  Here are ten top night rider tips:

1. Wear bright, hi-visibility clothes.

If you must wear black leathers, at least put a reflecting fluorescent jacket on top, and make sure the back of your jacket and your helmet have reflectors on them.
Hi Vis Jacket Motorcycle
2. Hand Signals

If you use Hand Signals Open link in a new window, don't forget to ensure your arms or gloves also have hi-vis/reflective strips on them, so motorists and pedestrians alike can see you signalling more easily.
Hand Signal Left
3. Invisible Reflective Tape

If you can't bear the idea of your pride-&-joy being plastered in garish yellow reflective stickers, perhaps consider 'invisible reflective tape'.

This is simply a very reflective tape that can look the color of your bike in daylight but seems to shine bright white at night in car headlights.
4. Proper Headlights

Make sure your own headlights, tail-lights and indicator lights are working properly, and consider upgrading them if necessary. Good bike lighting is a key factor in safety at night, even in built-up areas. Many manufacturers use undersized brake lights, and it's often quite a simple process to upgrade them to good halogen or super-bright LED models.
5. Headlight Setting

Check your bike's headlight setting.  Some manufacturers preset headlights point too far downwards, giving insufficient illumination ahead, even at moderate speeds.  A good rule of thumb is to allow a drop of 10cm every 6 meters, or for the dipped beam to reach the ground 50 meters ahead of you, for mixed city and country driving.
Motorcycle Headlight Path
6. Dual Headlights

If you are doing a lot of night riding, consider adding dual running headlights to your bike. Multiple headlights are more noticeable than a single light.
Dual Headlights.jpg
7. Animals

Beware of animals Open link in a new window. At night they pose an even bigger threat, as many of the ones you are likely to meet on the roads tend to be nocturnal. They can also have difficulty guessing your distance and are more likely to freeze than flee when dazzled.
Deer In Headlights
8. Drive In The Center

Make sure you drive more in the center of the carriageway than at the edge. This will make you stand out more, especially in street lighting. Also, the edge is often the most slippery, wettest and darkest part of the lane.
9. Flash Before Overtaking

If you are about to overtake, it's often a good idea to flash your headlight beforehand, to alert the driver in front.
10. Scratch Free Visor

Ensure your helmet visor is clean and scratch-free before setting off.  Scratched visors can impair visibility quite severely at night.

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