Illuminating Advice

Safety Tip of the Week
Shining the light on safety

This week’s blog concentrates on ways to make yourself more visible to drivers of other vehicles when riding in low-light conditions. This safety tip is about what you can do to ride more safely.

First, consider your visor. Be sure it’s clean. Use soap and a microfiber or cotton cloth, which will prevent those nasty little scratches that eventually make your visor hard to see through.

It seems obvious that you don’t want to wear dark-tinted glasses or visors in dim light. However, yellow tint can still work at dusk and dawn. You can carry an extra visor so you can swap clear for tinted, or you can get a photochromic visor, which will adjust to the light conditions through the day. Those are especially useful when you have no intention of riding at dusk but find that the days cloud over after you’ve left home. You could also bring a pair of clear goggles or glasses and lift the tinted visor when the light diminishes.

As it gets darker, oncoming headlights become more glaring. To avoid being blinded by them, try looking at the far-right edge of the road. This should keep you going straight and in your lane. Be sure not to look down and away; you’ll have a hard time keeping straight.

Don’t overrun your lights. Slow down until you can stop before you hit a deer (or anything else) that is suddenly illuminated by your headlight. It’s a good idea to find out what that speed is by practicing in an empty place, like a mall parking lot, before you ride at night.

Take advantage of other vehicles. Headlights ahead of you can reveal road hazards and give you enough time to avoid them. Don’t wait for a car to stop or swerve; cars can straddle potholes and debris that a motorcycle cannot.

Be ready to attract attention. If a vehicle behind you seems unaware of your presence, tap your brake lights. A quick beep or two on the horn can also announce your presence.