Riding a motorcycle always involves managing all kinds of risks to stay safe all year round. Night rides may be thrilling for adrenaline junkies, but most of us try to avoid going out with our bikes when it gets dark.
According to the IIHS database, riding a motorcycle at night accounts for over 20% of motorcycle fatalities. While we can’t always avoid riding at night, there are ways to avoid the usual dangers that come with it.
Here are several crucial things to consider and be aware of when riding your bike in the nighttime.
The Dangers of Riding a Motorcycle at Night
More than anything else, you need to be visible when riding at night. However, there are additional dangers you may not be aware of when it comes to night rides.
Let’s list the most usual ones.
Lack of visibility is the probable cause of fatalities during night rides, whether it’s the rider not being seen or him not seeing potential dangers. You must be visible to other riders and drivers out there, but you should also be aware of your own limited visibility and pay close attention to your surroundings. During nighttime rides, a biker has to be far more careful than when riding in daylight.
Riding at night poses elevated risks of running into drunk car drivers or even other motorcycle riders. Hopefully, this is not the case with you, but you should be aware that fellow drivers are more likely to have a couple of drinks before getting into their vehicle at nighttime. Nearly half of all fatal accidents that involve motorcycle riders and drunk drivers occur between 9 pm and 3 am, according to statistics.
The road always has the same obstacles regardless of the time of day you go out riding. There will be debris, loose gravel, potholes of various sizes, maintenance holes, and many other things we see daily. However, they all become far less visible at nighttime. In addition to being less visible, they are also more challenging to get around and maneuvering your bike won’t be as easy as it is in daylight. While moving your motorcycle may be easy, you may risk a collision with something you didn’t see hidden in the dark.
Many animals tend to freeze under pressure when they look at headlights. Moreover, many of them only come out at night to avoid predators lurking during the daytime, and many of them are merely nocturnal creatures by nature. Luckily, most animal eyes reflect light and will glow to signal their presence if you come across them at night. You just need to be careful to catch that spark.
How to Make Yourself Visible and Heard
With visibility being the primary contributor to accidents during night rides, you should make sure you do your best always to be seen. Here are several ways to increase safety during night rides:
High Visibility Clothing and Gear
You have your whole body entirely exposed to other drivers while you’re riding your bike, so make sure they can see it in low light conditions. According to studies, motorcycle riders are 37% less likely to be involved in a crash if they wear fluorescent or high-visibility clothing.
Wear fluorescent colors to increase your chances of being seen and save your cool all-black gear and clothes for daytime. You don’t need to invest in high visibility clothing because any fluorescent color would do the trick. A simple yellow or orange vest over your clothes may save your life.
Moreover, always make sure your bike gear has retro-reflective panels that glow when the light from your headlights hits them.
Many bikers choose to stylize their motorcycles with reflective tape for added security. They catch the attention of other drivers and fellow bikers. It’s not a significant investment – you can purchase a roll of tape in literally any color and use it on your gear. Nothing stops you from using your creativity and styling your bike so it looks fantastic in addition to being safer. You may also get reflective decals to additionally spice up your bike, your helmet, or your armor.
Loud Pipes Save Lives
The expression doesn’t come out of thin air. Loud pipes do save lives, especially at night. Use your exhaust to announce to other motorists that you’re getting near them. However, always assume that they may not see you, even if they can hear you, so stay cautious of your surroundings and alert.
Focus on Your Night Vision
Avid looking at oncoming headlights as they can be blinding – especially for you since you will be riding a little higher than most cars. A good option is to keep your eyes on the far-right lane at the very edge on your side of the road. It will help you go in the right direction and also reduce the shining in your eyes. Also, don’t look away or down as it may affect your riding straight in the lane.
Use the Lights Around You
Your view will be limited during nighttime rides, no matter how bright your bike’s lights may be. Regardless of their luminescence, they only extend so far in front of you. Always reduce speed when riding at night, and if you realize you’re out-riding your light, make sure to slow down.
Use the lights of other vehicles as an extension of your night vision. If you’re riding behind a car, use their lights to spot debris or potholes on the road.
Stay Safe and Enjoy the Ride
Night riding may open an entirely new world for you to explore. You can ride the same road for years during the daytime, and then one night ride completely changes your perspective. However, keep in mind that changed surroundings also bring changed dangers. All it takes for you to be safe are minor changes in your riding gear and small upgrades for your bike, and slight modifications in your riding habits.
Stay safe and good luck!