More often than not, motorcyclists are the “invisible” motorists on our roadways and as a result thousands of preventable accidents occur each year. Motorcycle related accidents occur for any number of reasons including mechanical failures and road conditions, but the most common cause is related to other drivers on the road. “It should come as no surprise to any biker,” says Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Lawyers, “that a large percentage of motorcycle accidents are caused by the inability or failure of an automobile driver to actually see the motorcyclist.”
Does all the responsibility of being more visible rest in the hands of the motorcyclists? No, but motorcyclists are the only ones who can truly control being seen.
Be Visible, Not a Statistic
Although there are substantially fewer motorcycles on the road than other types of vehicles, the statistics surrounding motorcycle accidents are grim. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, 4,668 people died in motorcycle crashes and 88,000 motorcyclists were injured; a majority of reported accidents involved another motorist. Unfortunately, even the most visible motorcyclist can be involved in an accident, boosting your visibility could end up saving your life.
- Helmets: Long gone are the days of feeling the wind flow through your hair; save that for driving with the car window down. Helmets are a must, no matter what the age or experience. In 2013, 1,630 lives were saved because of a motorcycle helmet and even if you live in a state that doesn’t require its use, wear one anyway. Consider trading in your black helmet for a bright colored neon one. Bright colors will make you more visible to other drivers.
- Jackets & Other Clothing: Nothing defines “cool” like a black leather jacket, but it’s not all that practical or safe for riding on a motorcycle. Invest in riding gear with air vents, that fits well, and has suitable padding. Choose a bright color that will make you more visible to drivers. Wanna be even more visible? Get decked out in full gear in the shade of neon. You may find some loud colors, but it will be harder to miss.
- Make Your Motorcycle More Visible: Motorcycles are a huge financial investment and even the biggest motorcycle enthusiasts only have one bike. If you are shopping for a motorcycle, look for one that you like that is a color other than black, such as red or yellow. Even though you may be passing traffic or barely noticeable in a side mirror, a bright color is more likely to be seen than a darker colored motorcycle.
If you already have a motorcycle you love, consider a paint job with some bright accents or at least add reflective tape to your windscreen, wheel rims, or panniers.
- Use Your Lights: Think of your motorcycle as your vehicle. In your car, you use headlights to see and for visibility and your brake lights indicate your intentions to stop soon after you tap them. Motorcyclists should use headlights for visibility in the daytime, not just at night. Additionally, tap your brake lights as a “warning” to your following motorist that you will be stopping soon; it may keep motorists off your back.
While brightly colored gear and equipment can make motorcyclists more visible, it’s vital that motorcyclists remember to keep their distance from vehicles, stay out of blind spots, and ride as if no one actually sees them. Extra care in riding can be lifesaving.