Posted by Howard Trott on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Under: Motorcycle Riding Skills
Riding your motorcycle at night is completely different than riding it during the day. Some motorcyclists enjoy the isolation of riding at night. Others hate it for the loss of visibility and vision, and will avoid it at all costs. Sooner or later, you’re bound to find yourself on your bike during the night time, so its important to know what unique hazards you must deal with when the sun goes down.
Riding a motorcycle after dark can be an great experience for some. You can focus on the ride and enjoy things like the night sky, city lights and empty streets. It also lets you avoid the chaos that is daytime traffic, which can be stressful. For many riders, riding at night takes the fun out of motorcycling. They don’t like the fact that their visibility is dangerously reduced, and being able to see and be seen is crucial on your bike. When the sun is out, you can judge corners better and distinguish road hazards a lot faster. The weather also changes at night. The temperature drops, and affects your tire traction. Certain animals also become more active during this time period. Whether you live in the country or city, these animals will dash across roads unexpectedly, which can put even the most experienced rider on the pavement instantaneously.
Night time comes with its own set of hazards. This is the time when drunks think they can get away with driving, especially on weekends after pub hours. Be extra cautious if you see vehicles speeding or swerving because they’re probably not paying attention to their surroundings, regardless if they are sober or not.
People also naturally become sleepy at night. It is possible to doze off on your motorcycle. If you are feeling exhausted, it’s not the best idea to be on your bike since your reaction time needs to be at its best.
Badgers, foxes, rabbits and more creatures come alive in the night time, and can jump in your path when you least expect it. These animals are hard to spot with limited light so be award of your surroundings. If you manage to spot something about to jump out on the road with time to spare, watch your speed and do your best to avoid it without putting yourself and anyone else on the road in danger.
Potholes are also a concern at night. If you pay attention to other vehicles on the road, and notice their lights bouncing up and down, you can get an idea of where potholes are.
Sometimes you may find yourself riding when the sun is out, and continue to while it goes down. You will most likely have your dark, tinted visor attached to your helmet, which will reduce your perception in the dark. If you find yourself in a situation like this often, bring your clear visor along with you, or use an adaptive one. Keeping your visors clear of smudges, dead insects and scratches, will also help you see clearer. Bring wet wipes or a microfiber cloth with you to clean it to improve your vision.
Every street legal motorcycle has a headlight. Some are great, while others need some serious help. Upgrading your own with an HID lighting kit, LED headlamp or brighter bulbs will improve your own ability to see at night, and allow others on the road to see your bike better. And don’t forget to make sure they are properly working and adjusted correctly. You can also make use of your high beams, more so on country roads. Just make sure there is no oncoming traffic. It’s also a good idea to keep your headlights clean, because even an invisible layer of dust can cut light transmission by up to 25%.
Make sure to wear the proper protective gear to help keep you out of trouble at night. To increase your visibility for others on the road, you should wear a high-viz jacket and pants with reflective stripes. Use reflective tape to line your wheel rims as well, as it’s barely visible during the day, but highly visible at night.
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