"I didn't see him."
That's what first responders here most often after responding to accidents involving motorcycles.
That's part of an unfortunate truth of riding a motorcycle; it's easy for the rider to slip under the radar.
In a world of 18-wheelers, oversize pick-up trucks, mini-vans, and sedans, the motorcycle is often lost in the scramble.
People drive motorcycles for various reasons.
Among them are camaraderie, fuel efficiency, eco-friendly qualities, a sense of adventure, ease of parking, the ability to move through traffic and the image and feelings it creates.
As a motorcycle rider, you have as much right to the road as everyone else.
And, you have the right to be safe.
Unfortunately, most of the time you need to take your safety into your own hands.
One of the most proactive things you can do to ensure your safety on a bike is making sure you are visible on the road.
If you do everything you can to keep yourself visible, the "I didn't see him" excuse isn't going to fly.
Below we will talk about eight things you can do to increase your visibility and ensure your safety on a motorcycle.
- Reflective Tape
- Headlight Modulator
- Use Your Hands
- High Visibility Safety Gear
- Drive A Colorful Motorcycle
- Running Lamps
- Use Your Horn
- Avoid All Blind Spots
- Stay Safe
Reflective tape will increase the visual footprint of your motorcycle.
The best place to put the tape is on the front of your forks or on any piece of your motorcycle that sticks out a reasonable distance from a light source.
Reflective tape won't do much during the day, but it'll be an independent light source at night and make your bike seem much larger.
Putting the tape around your wheel rims will make a cool rim stripe, and your wheels remain mostly unobscured when the bike is side-on, providing an excellent light source.
A headlight modulator is an electronic device that allows your headlight to pulse or flicker in intensity.
They've been known to be annoying to fellow riders and other motorists, but they do improve your invisibility.
The flickering of your headlight attracts attention, making it obvious to the other vehicles that you are there.
Modulators are legal in every state as long as they comply with certain specifications.
Check your local laws for its specifications.
When we started learning to ride a bicycle, we learned that we should use specific hand signals.
Signals that will tell other people or motorists what our intentions were, like turning right or left.
Those same signals apply to your motorcycle.
Extending or flexing your arm effectively raises your visual profile in addition to signaling your intention.
Be sure you can adequately control your motorcycle while you signal, and be sure to get both hands back on the handlebars when you start your turn.
Typically the motorcycle rider takes up as much visual space as the bike itself.
That means the rider should be just as visible as the bike.
It's been ingrained in our brains that bright colors like yellow or orange means to caution or watch out, so wearing a high visibility jacket or helmet instantly draws attention.
Out of all of the options, this is probably the cheapest and easiest way to gain instant visibility.
Some guys don't want to wear bright colors, and that's fair enough.
You can own your black jacket as well as a bright jacket. There is a time and a place for both jackets.
It's also cheaper to own a bright jacket and a black jacket, instead of owning a black bike and a colorful bike.
Speaking of colorful motorcycles, it will be easier for other motorists to see a bright yellow bike than it will be to see a black bike.
Motorcycles are already at a disadvantage because of their size and speed and having a dark motorcycle only exacerbates the issue.
A small, fast, dark motorcycle is hard to see, hard to gauge distance from, and hard to recognize in general.
Riding a brightly colored motorcycle can increase the chance you'll be noticed, even if it's just out of the corner of an eye.
Even a fraction of a second difference in reaction time can be the difference between life and death.
Research has shown that it's easier for drivers to estimate the speed of a vehicle if it has two lights spaced apart.
The perspective shift helps with depth perception.
Using and installing running lamps will make your bike more visible, and it will allow oncoming traffic to estimate your speed.
That makes left turns much safer.
When we use our horns, nine times out of ten, it's out of anger.
However, the horn has a very practical use as well.
A quick double tap on your horn can alert a distracted driver to your presence, and remind them they need to look up from their cell phone.
Horns should also be used for cars pulling into traffic that haven't looked in your direction yet as they inch forward while you approach.
A quick honk of the horn attracts their attention and lets them know that you are close by.
The easiest way to stay visible is to avoid as many blind spots as possible.
The best ways to avoid blind spots are:
Make sure you can see all the drivers around you. If you can't see them, they likely can't see you.
Create a safety buffer by leaving adequate space in front of you and giving yourself space to maneuver away from trouble.
Be careful when passing. Passing is a dangerous maneuver, so be very aware when overtaking another motorist.
When you ride in groups, keep a safe distance around you, and ride in a staggered formation to increase visibility.
Following these eight tips will help keep you visible to the other motorists while on your bike, thus increasing your safety.
Motorcycle riders should be able to enjoy their bikes and make it from point A to point B without having to worry about accidents caused by other motorists.
Unfortunately, that's not always the case.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, the lawyers at Helping The Hurt are here to help.
There are thousands of things that need to be taken care of after your accident, and Help The Hurt can help you take care of all of it.
Short of stitching you up themselves, there's not much their lawyers won't do for you.
If you'd like them to review your case, click the button below.