As winter winds down and spring begins to bloom, it becomes the perfect time of year to get on your motorcycle and explore your surroundings. Whether your motorbike is purely used for joyrides or you use it daily for your commute to and from work or school, there are some things you should consider as far as gear goes.
Visibility is so important when riding a motorcycle. Other drivers on the road are far larger and more protected overall than motorcyclists.
According to motor vehicle accident lawyers at Henry Carus & Associates, while less than 4% of registered vehicles in Victoria are motorcycle, motorbike fatalities accounted for 17% of all traffic fatalities in 2013.
The Motorcycle Accidents in Depth Study points out that the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is because another driver failed to see the motorcyclist. So what can you do to make yourself more visible to other drivers on the road?
Wear Visible Safety Gear
Consider wearing bright white or fluorescent clothing while riding. Your goal is to catch the eye of other drivers. Keep in mind that you’re probably about the size of the bike you’re riding, so make yourself as bold and bright as possible.
Put Reflective Tape on Your Motorcycle
It can help if your bike is already brightly colored, but if not definitely think about adding some reflective tape to your ride.
Be Aware of Other Drivers’ Blind Spots
Think about how often you’re in someone’s blind spot while you’re driving a car or truck. Relatively often, right? Now think about how much more deadly it can be to get stuck in someone’s blind spot when you’re less than half the size of a vehicle. Pass quickly if you need to in order to get into their field of vision.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tap Your Brakes
If the person behind you has glanced down or it’s dark outside and they simply don’t see you in front of them, tap on your brakes. The bright red flash will hopefully get their attention. It’s a good idea to do this occasionally just so you can feel comfortable knowing the people around you know you’re there.
Use Your High Beams
Use them at night as well as during the day. While it could make some motorists mad at night, at least they’ll know you’re there.
Honk Your Horn
If a distracted driver is nearby, don’t hesitate to give your horn a little nudge. It’s also a good idea to do this if you notice you’re in someone’s blind spot. If you’re not able to get around them quickly enough or if you think they’re starting to move over into your lane, this is the best way to notify them you’re there.