Anyone who rides a motorcycle often, whether it be a main form of transportation or as a hobby, knows that they are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to being treated properly on the road—or so it seems. What is it about riding a motorcycle that makes other drivers on the road unable to spot you?
There are many explanations for this, and many of them come down to the simple fact that motorcyclists just aren’t making themselves visible enough to the other vehicles on the road. Road visibility is extremely important to understand, and knowing how to make yourself visible to other drivers will undoubtedly increase your road safety.
Here are a few of the most successful ways to make your presence known on the road.
Match Your Speed to the Conditions Presented
Many of the motorcycle crashes that occur happen because the motorcyclist is unable to slow down quickly enough to match the speed of road conditions. Road conditions may mean many things, including:
Not only will adjusting your speed for the appropriate setting help keep you safer on the road, but it will also allow for you to become more visible to other drivers on the road.
The 3 L’s
Make yourself observable, but be aware that you still may not be seen! The 3 L’s are Legal, Lights, and Lighted, which mean:
Legal – Be sure to always operate your motorcycle following legal guidelines (no speeding, no illegal lane changes, etc.)
Lights – Make sure that your motorcycle’s lights are properly functioning before you ride anywhere and remember to use your turn signals.
Lighted – Ensure you are visible to others through things like retro-reflective riding gear and by having the proper reflectors on your bike.
Know Your Place
Your location in a lane is just as important as the other safety tips stated earlier. Lane position is something that is often overlooked! You want to be sure to position yourself in the lane similar to how you would in a car. The unpredictability of motorcycles (accelerating/decelerating quickly, hiding in blind spots, unexpected lane placement) is one of the leading causes of accidents, and acting more like a car can help avoid this. Next time you’re out on the road, make a note of where you typically sit in the lane and try to adjust your positioning to be more like a car.