animated image of motorcycle lights for better visibility
animated image of motorcycle lights for mobile

Motorcycling and Visibility

Last Update: May 2020

There’s nothing more important than safety when it comes to riding a motorcycle. It usually depends on wearing a helmet and other riding equipment. However, visibility plays a significant role, as well.

 

Car drivers look out for other drivers, but most of them often don’t see motorcyclists. The best way to enhance your safety is to make yourself as visible as possible.

 

There are several ways in which you can fix the issue of motorcycling and visibility. Take a few minutes to discover how to make your motorcycle more noticeable and why that’s so important.

How to Make Your Motorcycle More Visible

#1

Wear Highly Visible Safety Gears

You should try to make yourself as visible as possible. This means wearing special biking clothes such as orange or yellow reflective clothing.

 

Opt for highly visible helmets and jackets to draw as much attention as possible when riding. This is especially important if you’re usually riding at night or in low-light conditions.

 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go too crazy with this. Just a few reflective details are usually enough to make you visible on the road.

illustration of reflective clothing highly visible for the road

#2

Choose a Brightly Colored Motorcycle

Although people are usually drawn to riding black and white motorcycles, you may want to consider a more colorful one. Bikes are smaller than cars and are often not seen by car drivers. For this reason, you should choose a bike that’s bright and visible.

 

Dark motorbikes make things worse and are less visible than other bikes. If you do go for a dark motorcycle, make sure to add some reflective stickers and stripes.

#3

Use Your High Beams

Not everyone likes using high beams, but they definitely make you more visible on the road. You should try using them at least during the day.

 

In most cases, drivers won’t be as blinded by high beams during the day because there’s no contrast as much as during nighttime. While you don’t want to annoy other people on the road, you want them to notice you, which is a bit more vital.

 

View a selection of headlights here.

#4

Avoid Blind Spots

Motorcycles are already problematic when it comes to being seen. For this reason, you should avoid placing your bike where drivers can’t see you. If they move their heads, they may fail to see you, which could lead to a disaster.

 

If you can’t avoid a blind spot, make sure to pass quickly before getting into a position where they can see you. This way, you’re not taking any chances, improving your safety altogether.

illustration of a motorcycle passing through blind spot

#5

Put Reflective Tapes

The reflective tape makes your bike more visible. Experts suggest you place it on the front of your forks and other similar areas of your motorcycle that stick out.

 

While a tape won’t make any difference during the day, it helps a great deal during low-light and nighttime conditions.
Be creative and place these tapes on each side of your vehicle so that everyone can notice you. The more tapes you add, the more likely it is that other drivers will see you on the road.

#6

Make Use of Your Brake Lights

Tapping your brakes is highly useful when in dense traffic. It helps to draw the attention of the person behind you in case you notice they maybe didn’t see you. It’s a great way of warning other riders of a dangerous road condition as well.

 

Car drivers have been using this with other lights on their vehicles, so it’s a signal they’ll recognize even if they don’t have any experience in riding a motorcycle.

#7

Put Auxiliary Lights

Auxiliary lights act as another light source on your bike. You can add these lights to the back and front of your vehicle, setting them to different intensity levels.

 

In a study conducted by Honda, experts proved that a human-face like an appearance on the front of your vehicle helps other drivers determine your distance. Use these lights to make a facial proportion on your vehicle.

 

Make sure to place them high on the bike to ensure visibility. 

illustration of a motorcycle with and without auxiliary lights

#8

Beep Your Horns

People avoid using horns because they often seem rude and unnecessary. However, they can be quite useful at times.

 

A quick tap can draw the attention of a distracted driver. In most cases, motorcyclists use them when other drivers try to pull out into traffic. This is a dangerous situation that often ends in a collision.

 

Use your horn to quickly “beep”, helping your fellow rider notice you. Also, you can use it when someone is too close to you regardless of whether they see you or not.

#9

Keep Distance

Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front ahead. By keeping distance, you allow yourself enough time and space to react in case something happens.

 

Make sure to keep the distance between the drivers behind you as well. Either speed up to get ahead or slow down so that they can pass next to you.

 

Distance is critical when it comes to safety, especially if you’re riding during low-light conditions.

#10

Buy Lighting Strikes

Lighting strikes are specifically designed lighting systems designed to make bikers more visible. It’s among the best solutions when trying to fix the issue of not being visible enough on the road.

 

These systems are often tricky to install and require some experience, but you can get your local mechanic to finish the installation for you. Although it would cost you additional money, the entire thing is definitely worth it.

Importance of Wearing High-visibility Clothing When Riding

Most motorcycle accidents involve a passenger car and are caused by failure to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic. It’s a staggering fact that shows how big of issue visibility is when it comes to motorcycling.

 

By making yourself more visible, you’re making it easier for other drivers to notice you. On top of that, you make it easier for them to tell your position and how fast you’re approaching.

 

Highly visible clothing often includes jackets, helmets, and gloves. However, you can also modify your vehicle to make it more visible.

Crash of the Motorcycle and Car

Importance of Visibility for Motorcycle Riders

As we mentioned, motorcycles are smaller than cars and are often less visible as well. More often than not, bikers find themselves in a blind spot, which makes it even more difficult for other drivers to spot them.

 

You shouldn’t rely on your headlight alone because a single light source is easy to overlook. Visibility is an even bigger issue for drivers who ride at night. For this reason, you should make yourself as noticeable as possible while still respecting other drivers and the law.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most visible motorcycle color?

The most visible color is neon yellow, although neon orange is equally as popular. These two colors are often used by all kinds of people and workers who have to be more visible for whatever reason.

Are white motorcycle helmets highly visible?

The key is in choosing bright colors. They don’t always have to be neon, although neon is usually a better option at night.

With that said, white helmets are a good choice since they’re bright. They’re often reflective enough and can make you a bit more visible during nighttime. Plus, you can always add a few reflective tapes and stickers to enhance your visibility.

Can you put reflective tapes on your motorcycle jackets?

You can place reflective tape on pretty much any piece of your riding gear. However, you may need several different types of tape for various surfaces.


In other words, you can’t use the same tape on your helmet and jacket. Soft surfaces like your riding jacket require a different type of tape.

Conclusion

Visibility is something you should take seriously since your safety and wellbeing depends on it. While choosing a bright bike and equipment does a lot to improve it, you may want to make a few other steps as well.

 

Add some tape and stickers, and make sure to use your horn and brake lights from time to time. Stay away from blind spots because it’s unlike that another driver can see you while you’re there.

 

Hopefully, our list of things you can do helped you a little. You don’t have to implement all of these methods, but whatever you do, make sure that you’re not breaking the law.

Road Racerz