Be Seen, Be Safe: Visibility and Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Motorcycle Accident Avoidance Through Better Visibility

It comes as no surprise that there are plenty of risks associated with driving a motorcycle amidst so many other, larger vehicles. One of the biggest contributing factors is lower visibility; motorcycles are smaller and can change direction and speed much more suddenly than cars do, so it’s important to make sure you do everything you can to be noticeable on the road. Increasing your visibility using the following methods will help other drivers see where you are and pay closer attention to what you’re doing, decreasing the risk factor for everyone involved and helping to avoid a motorcycle accident. The Dallas Fort Worth area is a great place to ride a motorcycle and staying visible to other drivers on the road can make sure you enjoy your ride and arrive home safely. Here are some tips to help you stay visible.

Use LED lights and Reflective Tape

LED lights are more compact and shine far brighter than filament bulbs do. This makes them great for increasing your motorcycle’s visibility. Your headlights will shine much more brightly, increasing the likelihood that you’ll stand out in traffic. They also make for a much more dramatic turn signal that will give you a far better chance of getting other drivers’ attention to let them know where you’re going.

Use the lights of others to your benefit as well—reflective tape is another great way to increase your visibility. There are a wide variety of colored reflective tapes to choose from, and you can apply the tape to both your motorcycle and your clothing (such as your biking jacket) to give yourself the best possible chance of being noticed and considered.

Some motorcyclists have also started integrating LED lighting, EL Wire and EL Tape into their clothing or on their vehicles. As long as this isn’t done in a distracting manner, it can help to improve visibility. There are kits that add brake lights to the back of a riders helmet that use accelerometers to detect when the rider is slowing down, causing the light to automatically activate.

Flash Your Brake Lights

If the drivers behind you seem to be lacking in vigilance or are riding too close behind you, then tapping your brakes is a good option as long as you can perform this safely. It is not recommended that you aggressively brake as this could cause you to be rear-ended. A light push on the brakes will cause your brake lights to flash as rapidly as you tap, grabbing the attention of nearby drivers. Giving them this heads-up will prompt them to pay attention and look for the reason you might be flashing lights. At the very least, they will have noticed you and will likely pay more attention to where you are.  An even easier solution is to use a device wired into your brake light wire that will cause your brake light to pulse such as the BackOFF modulator.

Avoid Blinding Other Drivers

While bright lights, headlamps, and LED bulbs can greatly assist your visibility, they can be a double-edged sword. Keeping your high beams on during the daytime, especially during overcast days, can do wonders to make you more visible to other drivers. However, the contrast in light level during nighttime driving can pose its own threat—you can blind other drivers with your motorcycle’s high beams just as badly as you could while driving a car or any other vehicle. It’s important to avoid compromising other drivers’ vision, since this in and of itself could cause accidents.

Move Within Your Lane and Avoid Blind Spots

Blind spots are a very real concern when you’re driving any vehicle, let alone one as compact as a motorcycle. Many car accidents have been caused by someone shifting lanes without checking to make sure there’s no one in the way, and this is an especially big concern for motorcyclists. The simplest solution to this is to make sure you avoid hanging around the back corners of the vehicle in front of you. In addition, make sure you change lanes quickly but safely to avoid hanging out in anyone’s blind spot.

It’s also a good idea to remain generally mobile within your lane. When following a vehicle, try to move to an area in the lane so that the drivers of vehicles around you can easily take notice of where you are. Try to position your motorcycle in such a way that drivers ahead of you can see you in their mirrors. Never assume that a driver sees you however, and always be vigilant and cautious when moving through traffic.

To Recap

Visibility on the road is of critical importance to motorcyclists. Taking steps to increase your visibility to other drivers by opting for LED lights and reflective tape is a great preventive measure. While on the road, take advantage of lightly tapping your brake lights and positioning yourself wisely within your lane as ways to actively engage with other drivers around you and make sure they’re paying attention. Above all, stay vigilant!

Unfortunately even if you do everything right to minimize your risks and ride safely, an accident can still occur if other drivers are texting or not paying attention. If you or someone you know are involved in a motorcycle accident, you will most likely require legal assistance. The Law Offices of David Kohm have years of experience in all manner of vehicle accidents. We provide free legal consultation to help you determine if you have a case. Call our Dallas office today at (972) 362-6848 or our Arlington location at (817) 522-4451. You can also send us a message by using our online contact form.

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