Make Yourself More Noticeable
Sometimes it’s good to be noticed particularly if you are riding a motorcycle. Too often motorists pull out in front of motorcycles, usually to make a left turn, causing deadly crashes – just because they don’t see them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle occur when another vehicle turns left while the motorcycle is going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle.
Keeping the roadway safe for all users is the responsibility of both motorists and motorcyclists – everyone can do their part.
Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Motorcyclists should make sure they can be seen in the crowd because riders who are visible, or “conspicuous,” are less likely to have their right of way violated. There are easy ways to make yourself and your ride visible.
Following are some tips that will keep you safe on the road:
- Use reflective stickers on helmets which makes the highest part on your bike—your head—more conspicuous and helps ensure that other motorists will spot you. Flames, stripes, thunder bolts, flags, skull and cross bones; whatever your taste, there are reflective stickers and tapes that look cool during the day and glow at night.
- Consider wearing a brightly colored helmet. From white to red to silver stripes and safety orange, helmets are available in a variety of colors and styles that make your head, and you, easier to see.
- Wear a reflective vest. Reflective vests now come in many styles in addition to the standard orange and yellow mesh vests familiar to most riders.
- Wear clothing on your upper torso that is visible such as light- or bright- colored shirts that are more easily seen than grays, browns, or black.
- Wear a jacket with reflective patches or tape. Many jackets now come with stripes and patches that become reflective at night to increase the wearer’s visibility.
- Add reflective patches to dark colored jackets. Embroidered patches come in a variety of styles to help bikers be seen at night. If your jacket is solid black or another dark color, consider adding reflective patches.
Make Your Motorcycle More Visible
- Make sure daytime running lights are operational and turned on not only because this will make you safer – it is also the law in Florida. Most motorcycles now come with automatic daytime running lights, but if you are riding an older model, always ride with your low beams on during the day.
- Equip your bike with a DOT-approved headlight modulator. Modulators draw attention by altering the frequency of your headlight beam, which makes it appear to get intermittently brighter and dimmer.
- Add reflectors or reflective tape to your bike. Custom reflectors are available for most motorcycles and can be added without sacrificing appearance. Reflective tape on saddlebags and panniers glows bright white when hit by headlights. Some “stealth” tapes are designed to be almost invisible during the day yet appear white at night.
- If there is more than one lane, pick a lane where you do not have to change lanes often and can see ahead while being visible to others.
- Maintain a space cushion all around, and ride at the speed of traffic in your lane to help reduce potential conflicts. Consider shoulders and medians as possible escape paths.
- On freeways with two lanes, keep right except to pass. On freeways with more than two lanes, avoid the right lane to reduce conflicts at entrance and exit points. When you change lanes, be sure someone does not want the same space you do.
- As a motorcyclist, you can divide your lane into thirds: left, middle, and right. Your best lane position (LP) within a lane changes with conditions.
- Consider what is going on ahead, behind, and to the sides. Leaving room ahead for others helps you have space for yourself.
- Change lane positions to avoid hazards, to avoid bad road conditions, and to see and be seen.
- Presentation is a term that means to use a lane position where others have a better chance to see you, especially as you approach a line of oncoming cars.
- Make sure there is plenty of room between you and all the vehicles around you.
- Stay out of vehicle blind spots.
- Assume that vehicles pulling out of side streets do not see you and they might pull out in front of you.
Source: http://msf-usa.org/downloads/BRCHandbook.pdf (PDF) 22MB