ABR’s expert of all things two- wheeled answers your questions
I recently had a near miss when I was riding home from work. I didn’t get hit, but it shook me up and made me think I could be doing more to be seen. What would you recommend?
Good question Scott. Let’s start with your riding gear. It may sound simple, but wearing bright coloured motorcycle clothing, featuring reflective material as part of its design, will help you be seen in the saddle. All black helmets, jackets, and trousers may look cool when you’re cruising along in the sunshine, but they don’t make you particularly obvious to fellow road users when you ride.
Starting with helmets, there are plenty of hi-vis colour-ways available these days, usually bright yellow. They don’t look particularly stylish but they’ll make you stand out on the road. However, keep in mind you’ll need to add some reflective stickers to any lid, including a hi-vis one, if you want to light up at night. Personally, a white helmet does the job for me because they are nice and visible during the day and I like the way they look.
A hi-vis jacket or waistcoat is a good item to invest in for day and night riding because they are made from bright colours and feature reflective stripes. I tend to use a waistcoat because it slips on and off over my riding jacket quickly and can be taken off and stowed in a top box when daylight comes. After all, we do get the odd sunny day, even in winter.
You can also buy hi-vis gloves and boot covers to get the full effect. How far you go with this will depend on how vulnerable you feel on the road, and how keen you are on the hi-vis look.
But, what about your bike? Lights have been compulsory when the ignition is switched on for some years now, so at least we can’t forget to switch them on. And, newer bikes often come with some fantastic LED lights as standard which are very bright and very noticeable, while also giving you plenty of vision of the road ahead at night.
Plenty of people add to their lighting set up by purchasing a set of auxiliary lights for their motorcycle. This is particularly popular among bikers looking for the adventure look. Manufacturers spotlights can be retrofitted by main dealerships at a not unsubstantial price. There are many kits available from aftermarket suppliers that do the job just as well at less cost. Fitting can be tricky and may be best left to the professionals unless you’re handy with electrics. Most are LED again and give great road presence.
It’s also worth thinking about fitting a secondary brake light, sometimes seen on a top box, to help you been seen from behind, particularly if you’re commuting through busy traffic. Most other vehicles on the road have a high-density rear light, or fog light, for when light levels drop and visibility is poor, but not bikes. Why not? These again can be retro fitted to help you become less vulnerable from traffic behind.
I hope this has been some help, and remember, the most important thing is to stay alert and enjoy the ride.
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