All motorcyclists want to stay safe while riding their bikes, and you are no different. You don’t want to suffer from severe injuries, experience long hospital stays, or see your bike suffer major damage. The leading cause of motorcycle accidents focuses on visibility, so the key to prevent an accident is to ensure that you are more visible to other motorists.
The truth of the matter is while other motorists may not see you on your bike, it really involves how the human eyes and brain work together. While it is usually chalked up as “human error,” it is how visibility, attention, and memory come into play in regards to accidents. Human eyes don’t see as much as one would think. Eyes have considerable limitations, and there is a blind spot near the middle.
While eyes are constantly in motion, sending several pictures to the brain every second. There are things, however, that move fast enough or that are small enough we will not always perceive them even when they are right in front of us. Motorcycles do fall into that category.
A motorcycle that is approaching a driver directly head-on from a distance is going to take up a very small part of anyone’s vision. If your motorcycle is traveling fast, the driver may not even see you enough to get the image to imbed into their brain before you get to their immediate vicinity.
In order for your image on your bike to imbed into the brain of drivers and reduce the risks of an accident, there are several things you can do to make yourself and your motorcycle more visible and reduce your risks of being in an accident.
Here are some tips for making sure you and your motorcycle are seen by drivers:
- A brightly colored motorcycle is going to get you noticed on the road. Even if you just catch the driver’s attention at the last minute, it can make a significant difference. A dark colored motorcycle is not going to get the attention of a driver, but bikes that are orange, yellow, bright green, red, or even white are going to be seen much more quickly.
- Wear safety gear to make you visible. Notice how people working in high-traffic areas wear bright orange or yellow gear to make them more visible. You should do the same on a motorcycle. Invest in a helmet (most states require them) and vest or jacket that are brightly colored so you will get attention out on the road. Easily seen colors include orange, bright green, yellow, red, and white.
- Make good use of reflective tape. Put reflective tape on wheel rims and forks to make your bike easily noticed at night. Add reflective tape to your helmet and jacket as well.
- Blind spots are just as the name implies. These are spots where drivers won’t see. If a driver has to turn his head to see you before changing lanes, you don’t need to stay there any longer than necessary. Make passes quickly and get into a visible spot on the road.
- Tap your brakes so your bike will be seen from behind. Tap the brake a few times before decelerating so drivers will have time to slow down.
- Use your high beams during the day to get noticed by other drivers.
- Use your horn. It can be a great tool to let drivers know that you are there. It is especially great to use when you are in a blind spot and a driver is about to make a lane change. Two or three beeps can prevent an accident.
You are the key to ensuring visibility of yourself and your motorcycle while on the road. Take the right precautions to make yourself more visible so your risks of being in an accident can be greatly reduced.
By Bryan Mac Murray