Riding a motorcycle at night can be a risky proposition due to reduced visibility for both you and other motorists. According to the National Safety Council, 50% of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2021 happened at night. Thankfully, you can do several things to protect yourself and make riding at night safer.
The JLF Firm’s experienced Riverside motorcycle accident attorneys are available when you need help after a crash. Contact us to begin your case.
Safe Practices for Riding at Night
Safety on a bike starts with the right riding practices. Riding at night is no exception to that rule. Use the following tips from The JLF Firm to keep yourself safe.
Increase your distance
With the reduced visibility of night driving, it’s important to increase the distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you. You want at least a three-second following distance and give yourself more time to pass or for other drivers to pass you.
Be aware of wildlife
Many animals are more active at night, and they often cross roadways in search of food or water. Be alert for animals of all sizes, from squirrels to deer and even bears. Hitting an animal of any size while riding a bike can be disastrous.
Riding a motorcycle at night comes with significantly increased risks, mostly due to the lack of visibility. Slow down. This will help you avoid speed-related accidents, whether you’re traveling a new road or riding in familiar territory. Reducing your speed gives you more time to react to situations and avoid potential hazards.
Use the car ahead to aid you
Riding behind another car doesn’t have to be a drag. At night, it can give you valuable clues about what lies ahead. Bouncing tail lights? Chances are good there’s rough pavement ahead. You can even use the leading car’s headlights to see what’s on the road ahead of you.
Be alert to other drivers
The single largest risk motorcyclists face is other drivers. At night, that risk is compounded. More drivers are likely to be tired and not paying as much attention. More of them are likely to be driving under the influence, too. Night-time drivers also tend to speed more than in the day since there are fewer cars on the road. Drive defensively and be alert to other vehicles on the road.
Stick close to the center line
Be aware of where you ride. Keep your bike closer to the center line than to the side. Other drivers are more likely to see you if you’re closer to the middle of the road than if you’re riding close to the shoulder.
Make Sure You Have the Right Gear for Riding at Night
It’s not all about the right behaviors and practices, either. You also need the right gear to protect yourself and increase your visibility when riding at night.
Explore the list below so you can reduce your risk while still enjoying those nighttime rides.
Skip the dark clothing
The classic black motorcycle jacket is always a stylish choice. It’s also almost invisible at night. Skip dark-colored clothing when riding at night. A highly visible, brightly colored jacket or vest can make the difference between arriving home safe and being involved in a potentially disastrous motorcycle accident.
You don’t have to go overboard with the colors, either. You’ll find plenty of options out there with reflective piping that looks stylish while still providing the reflectivity necessary to make you more visible to other drivers at night.
Add reflective tape
Adding reflective tape or stickers to your bike helps make it more visible to other drivers. You can also add them to your gear if it doesn’t have reflective piping. For instance, reflective tape along the crash bars and the edges of your windscreen (if equipped) can make a big difference in visibility. Consider adding reflective tape or stickers to your helmet, too.
You can also add reflective tape to your forks, panniers, saddlebags, and even your wheel rims. If you’re not wild about changing the look of your bike, consider using colored tape or stickers that match your bike but deliver increased reflectivity at night.
Think about your lighting
Your bike is equipped with a headlight, tail light, brake lights, and turn signals. However, if the lights are dim, you’re immediately harder to see on the road. Higher-wattage bulbs may help make you more visible. You can also add more lights depending on your bike’s setup, including dual running lights, larger tail lights, and more.
Contact Us If You’ve Been Involved in a Motorcycle Accident at Night
If you or a loved one in California were injured in an accident while riding at night, it’s important to get the medical care necessary first. Call 911 and accept medical help from first responders. If you’re able, gather evidence to support what happened during the accident, and then call a trusted, local motorcycle accident lawyer.