5 Motorcycle Riding Tips for Night time Riding
There’s no doubt that if you’ve got a motorcycle, then you love to ride, right? Whether you ride year-round or long for the warmer weather, the twilight or darkened sky may take up some of your riding time. On a warm summer’s night, the brightly shining moon can be so inviting—calling you to go for a moonlight drive; riding under the light of the moon can be a remarkable ride!
Alas, there are different dangers in low-light and night riding and dealing with them demands precise procedures. Obviously, the first plan of action is to use your motorcycle lights—and you do every time you ride. Yet, in low-light and night riding conditions, there are a few things that you can do for riding more safely. So let us delve into these five riding tips to help you ride in low-light and during the night.
Have the Proper Riding Helmet or Glasses – There are a lot more fatal motorcycle crashes with animals than there are with cars and animal crashes; this is why it’s crucial to stay safe and have the correct shield or sunglasses on hand during low-light or night rides.
It can be tough seeing dangers such as coyotes, deer, raccoons or dogs ready to leap out into the road during daylight hours. But attempting to see them at dusk or after dark is next to impossible and you need to provide yourself with all the possible advantages. There are numerous critters that come out after the sun goes down and wearing your dark helmet shield or your dark, wrap-around sunglasses at that time could prove to be disastrous. What you really need for nighttime driving is a transparent helmet shield or unbreakable, clear glasses to optimize your view. Another great idea is to choose a photochromatic shield; this helmet shield darkens during the bright daytime hours and as it grows darker, the shield transitions to clear.
If you’re motorcycle is equipped with a windshield and you’re one of those riders that really uses it rather than peers over it, you must maintain a clean windshield. As you’re riding down the road, a medium-sized bug splatter on your windshield can cause an obstructed view of several square feet.
Be Visible – For nighttime riding or fading light conditions, putting on dark colors is a bad idea. You need to be seen by other drivers and riders! This is why fluorescent-colored jackets are best for these times of day. The fluorescent color can be combined with retroreflective material in stripes, piping or logos which will greatly improve your visibility at a long distance in other driver’s headlights. Fluorescent colors appear to glow in foggy or low-light situations. How? Short-wavelength light, which can’t be seen by our eyes, is absorbed and extended into long-wavelength light that we can see. You’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing gloves, boots, eye protection, heavy riding pants, some impact protection and a helmet.
Check the Lights – Mashed bugs, dirt and road salt during the winter can become a crusty layer on your bike’s headlights which will cause your headlights to shine less light while you’re riding. Therefore, it’s vital that you be certain that your lights are aimed right, working correctly and the lenses are clean and unbroken.
Likewise, it’s also essential that you inspect your turn signals and brake lights—you don’t want to get into an accident due to a non-working brake light or turn signal. Stay safe after dark by checking that your bike’s side-facing reflectors will be seen by other drivers. If you’d like to enhance the visibility of your motorcycle, try adding some reflective tape.
In your pack, make sure you have the right lighting circuit fuses and extra bulbs. It’ll be difficult obtaining these items if you’re on a country road or after store hours. If you have an older motorcycle, you might think about getting a bulb lighting system upgrade. It’ll depend on the year and make of your old bike, but you might be able to purchase LEDs, halogens or other bulb alternatives. These lights will give off much more light than the incandescent unit or sealed beam that older motorcycles have.
Always Ride Sober – Operating any kind of vehicle after dark while you’re intoxicated isn’t smart, but riding a motorcycle while you’re drunk is just flirting with death. Unfortunately, it does happen. In 2012, 29% of motorcyclists in lethal crashes had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. Every year, almost half of intoxicated riders that die in a crash are 40 years old or over; forty-four percent of bike riders that die in these crashes each year with blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher are 40-44 years of age. So, when you’re riding your bike, use your head and don’t drink and drive!
Don’t Lose Control, Lower Your Speed – Keep a safe distance when you’re following other vehicles at night or in fading light conditions; remember, those other drivers on the road are having a hard time seeing too. Things that emerge suddenly into their headlights could make them stop quickly. If you’re on a strange road, following at a safe distance is a vital element. It may be fun carving a harmless, little corner on that country road during the day, yet at night you could very easily end up past the fog line, off the road and in the trees.
It doesn’t matter what you drive at night, highway speed is definitely more hazardous than during the daytime. However, no matter what you do, on a motorcycle traveling at high speeds can undo any safety benefits. Whether you’re just out for a cruise or on a long journey home, maintain a low speed on the roads—especially going around those corners!
So, whether you go for a short ride or are on a long road trip, you now have the knowledge you need to remain safe riding in low-light or after dark. Following these important tips will ensure that you’re able to enjoy wonderful rides during the day as well! For more great tips from industry professionals, come check out the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver, CO!