It’s Spring and it’s a great time to get on 2 wheels and explore! Whether riding in town or across the country, on a scooter or a motorcycle, being visible is key to coming home safely. Here are two important facts to consider:
1. There are far fewer motorcycles on the road as compared with cars, trucks and busses.
2. Two-wheeled vehicles are, by nature, smaller than all other motorized vehicles on the road.
Why are these two facts so important? First, with considerably fewer 2-wheeled vehicles on the road as compared with other motorized vehicles, other drivers are not as used to seeing 2-wheeled vehicles as they are the many other larger vehicles on the road. As a result, most drivers are conditioned to pay attention to the many larger vehicles on the road and often completely overlook the smaller two-wheeled vehicles.
Add to this Fact #2 and motorcycles and scooters have a major visibility problem. You might say that Fact #1 and Fact #2 are really the same. Actually, they’re not. Let’s take, for example, a military tank. Tanks are even less common on our roads (thankfully!) than two-wheeled vehicles, so most drivers are not conditioned to watch out for them. Does it matter? Not really. If a tank was ever on the road, other drivers wouldn’t miss it due to its shear size. While this may be an exaggerated example, it is to make a point. And the point is this: Most drivers aren’t watching out for motorcycles as they are other vehicles on the road. Given this fact, when you add the fact that motorcycles are so much smaller than other vehicles on the road, this can spell danger for motorcycle riders.
There are many things that a motorcycle rider can do to increase their safety on the road including: completing approved motorcycle training courses, wearing appropriate safety clothing, making sure your motorcycle is in top operating condition, and adding additional passive and active lighting solutions.
What is passive lighting you say? The most common type of passive lighting is a reflective decal. High quality reflective decals are manufactured with materials that make them look like lights when a vehicle’s lights shine on them. Passive lighting is important when your bike is parked but can also bring greater visibility to you and your bike as you’re riding down the road. Reflective decals can also be applied to the sides of the motorcycle so that vehicles coming towards the motorcycle from the side are more likely to see you.
Most of us are pretty familiar with the concept of adding active lighting to a motorcycle but most often motorcycle riders focus on adding lighting to the front of the motorcycle. Adding active lighting to the rear of the motorcycle is equally important (if not more so!). With so many distractions in vehicles today (cell phones, entertainment systems, GPS units, etc.) too many drivers are driving distracted. Adding additional lighting (e.g. a light that adds brake light and turn signals) to the motorcycle’s standard lighting is more likely to make the driver behind sit up and pay attention (maybe even put down that cell phone?).
Riding a motorcycle or scooter is exhilarating. Make sure that you have many exhilarating days ahead of you – be safe out there and make sure that you’re seen!