Every biker knows that the biggest threat out on the road is the automobile, which unfortunately is operated by unaware, or day dreaming drivers; who can blame them, driving can be pretty boring compared to riding! The majority of collisions or crashes are caused by drivers simply not being aware of, or seeing us motorcyclists, whether they are pulling out at a junction or changing lane it can end pretty badly if they haven't noticed you. This is why being seen and making you and your bike as visible as possible out on the road is important in keeping you out of harms way as much as possible!
1. Wear High Visibility Riding Gear
Wearing some good protective motorcycle gear is a priority whenever you ride, and becomes your best-friend if you do hit the tarmac at some point! But, wearing good High Visibility motorcycle clothing can be the difference between being forced to test out your new jackets CE armour, or keeping you and the jacket in one piece and riding away from a potential incident. While you are out on the road, your body makes up nearly 100% of what a car driver will see through their windscreen at eye level. So wearing a high-vis bib, or simply a jacket that features some high visibility piping will draw a drivers attention to you and make them more alert to any movements, or changes in direction you make.
2. Consider Your Road Positioning
Yes, although drivers should always be aware of what is behind, infront, and to the side of them, that doesn't mean they actually are. Which is why it is important to consider where you and your bike are position on the road while you ride, overtake, or approach a junction. If you are preparing to make an overtake, think about whether the car infront knows that you are behind them; sitting tight behind them and behind their rear pillar will make you nearly invisible in their mirrors, meaning when you do pull out to go past they will not think twice to pull out to overtake the car infront of them, which won't end well. A huge part of being a good motorcyclist is riding defensively, so you should always be thinking about danger areas around your bike, but by checking considering whether the cars drivers around you can see you easily is probably the most important factor to avoiding a collision.
Applying some good quality reflective tape to the rims of your motorcycle can increase your visibility hugely at night time, providing an independent source of light which will catch the attention of any driver, even from hundreds of feet away. Reflective tape will not be of much help during the day, however once the sun goes down and visibility drops, high quality tapes will be one of the most useful and least expensive ways of enhancing the visibility of your and your motorcycle. It is recommended to add reflective tapes to any part of the motorcycle that sticks out from the body, as this will give drivers and idea of width; adding them to your wheel rims is a huge help, as your rims are never covered by any part of your body!
4. Flash Hazards or Brake Lights
Although not all motorcycles are fitted with a Hazard light function that flashes both indicators at the same time, it can be a handy tool for those riders who do have this option; it can be used to alert drivers behind you that there is a hazard on the road ahead, or simply to make them think twice with a subtle hint, that they are following a bit closely for your liking. Alternatively, your brake light can be used for the same purpose, however this has to be used with a bit caution, because applying the brake suddenly could cause the car behind to rear-end your bike, which nobody wants! Make sure you only give it a light tap so that your brake light flashes, which could be enough to bring their attention away from a daydream and back on to the road.
5. Add Extra Lighting
Some extra light sources placed properly on your motorcycle or body can make you a much more noticeable object on the road; such as day time running lights, LED side lights etc. 'A study conducted by Honda found that using lights to create a human face-like appearance on the front of your motorcycle increased driver's ability to accurately determine a motorcycle's distance by 10 percent and its speed by 20 percent'. A quite recent invention in the area of motorcycle safety and visibility, is the release of LightMode Helmet Light Kits, made up of Electroluminescent Wires which can be applied to your helmet in any shape or design and are illuminated by a small battery pack, also attached to your helmet!
6. Use Your Horn
We understand that the title is about being visible on the road, but being heard is enough to make you visible in some situations, and could be the only way to make a driver notice you on the road. Although it seems like most road users see their horn as an audio alternative to a middle finger, it is actually there to make people aware of your presence (who would've known!) Giving your horn when your in a sticky situation or you see a situation unfolding as you approach it could save you from coming in to contact with another vehicle, or vice versa. Even giving your horn two quick presses as you approach a junction with cars at it could make drivers think again, before they decide to pull out before you have passed.