Be A Safer Night Rider
A riders risk factors increase once the sun goes down. To avoid an accident, it’s important to see and be seen.
Here are some tips for avoiding road hazards at night.
Keep a clear view: In low light conditions, wearing sunglasses or having a tinted shield on your helmet further diminishes your already restricted ability to spot road hazards.
Check Headlight Adjustment: Changing load conditions on a motorcycle can alter where the bike’s headlight falls on the road. Make sure the headlight on your loaded bike is adjusted properly before it gets dark.
Upgrade Your Headlight Bulb: If your bike’s headlight puts out a relatively weak beam, upgrade it with a more powerful bulb. Always carry an extra one and know how to install it.
Add Auxiliary Lights: There’s a reason why most bikes set up for round -the-clock Iron Butt events have additional lights mounted on them: They are riding long hours, often at high speeds, in the dark, and must have more illumination than is provided by just a headlight.
Use your High Beam: Whenever there’s no oncoming traffic, shift to your high beam. This will help you spot hazards farther down the road and peripherally.
Don’t Deer Me: If your route leads you through wooded or rural areas, assume that deer will be present and ride accordingly: slow down, ride in the left one third of your lane (when there is no on coming traffic), keep fingers resting on the front brake handle and clutch, and be alert to potential hazards materializing suddenly from the roadside.
I personally like to follow a Car/SUV/Truck when riding in a deer zone. I let them be my blocker incase of hazards.
Protect Your Night Vision: If you stare at the lights of an oncoming vehicle, your pupils will constrict and dramatically reduce your night vision. Focus instead on the white line on the shoulder until the vehicle passes.
Position Your Bike Defensively: If you’re following a four – wheeled vehicle at night, Your ability to spot and react to road hazards is reduced. If you are riding in the middle of your lane and the vehicle ahead straddles something in the road, you’ll be lucky to spot it in time to take evasive action. However, if you follow that vehicles left rear tail light, you’ll know if there’s a road hazard in your path, because the vehicle will likely swerve to miss it.
Be Reflective: Aside from just your reflectors that come with your bike, it’s good idea to add reflective material.
Add Auxiliary Lights: In addition to helping riders see better, auxiliary lights also make it easier for them to be spotted by others, including pedestrians, who other wise may step into your path.
Avoid Blind Spots: Staying out of a car or truck’s blind spots is critical at night. Position your bike so you and your lights are clearly visible in their mirrors of other vehicles. Don’t use your high beam though while behind a vehicle.
Signal Your Intent: As a rider you should always use your turn signals for turns and switching lanes.
Add More Red More Brake Lights: It is always good to add another brake light more LED to the back of your bike. And another good tip when at a stop is to keep your brake on to have your brake light lit up. I always have my foot on my brake pedal when I come to a complete stop. Just added safety here.
Do a Once-Over: It doesn’t do much good to have headlights,tail lights,turn signals, and auxiliary lights if they’re not all working. It is always a good Idea to check them.
I leave you this one last note. Night riding is much more dangerous but can be enjoyed when you slow it all down and Light it all up. I enjoy riding at night. Once again keep the contact patch between the lines.
National Road Captain
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ASR Ohio District Coordinator and National Road Captain at Azusa StreetRiders Motorcycle Ministry
Michael Theodore is married to Laureen, and both are devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Michael serves the Azusa StreetRiders Motorcycle Ministry as both National Road Captain and as Ohio District Coordinator. He is passionate not only about riding, but also using motorcycles as a witnessing tool to affect souls for the Lord Jesus.