They’re already driving like you don’t exist, messing with their cell phones and paying zero attention to what’s in the lanes around them. It’s about to get worse, with the holidays and bad weather right around the corner.
No one is going to look out for your safety except you, and at Dallas H-D®, we like seeing you around. So let’s talk about ways you can make yourself more visible when you ride this fall (and every day of the year, because we like seeing you around during summer too. Gosh, holidays must be making us mushy.)
#1 Safety Secret
Ride like you’re invisible. Just get in the habit of assuming no one sees you, because most drivers don’t. It doesn’t matter how big, loud or fast your bike is, or how tough you are, if it’s you against a passenger or commercial vehicle, you don’t have a chance.
Be especially aware of riding in blind spots. They’re a little different on every vehicle, but you can make some generalizations. Basically, find the portion of the car or truck frame right behind the driver’s shoulder. Stay out of the space from there to the back of the vehicle.
If you have to ride beside them in traffic, position your bike in front of that point where the driver sees you looking right out their window. Try to make eye contact, so you know they register your presence.
With big trucks, there’s an even bigger potential for problems, and not just because they’re so massive. The typical 18-wheeler has more moving parts that can come off. You’ve seen the tire segments that peel off on the side of the highway – if one of those comes loose when you’re riding alongside, it could strike you at whatever speed you’re traveling.
Make Your Bike More Visible
Here’s a great reason to get a new bike or accessorize your old one – brightly colored Harley®s are more visible than dull-colored ones. So tell your significant other if he or she wants you to come home safely, you actually do need that new custom paint job, chrome accessories and new rims. A striking new helmet wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Some experts say add reflective tape to your ride to improve visibility, but we’re not crazy about the idea of adding cheap, residue-leaving adhesive to beautiful machinery. Not when it’s just as eye-catching and considerably more badass to add Harley-Davidson® driving lights or spotlights.
Think about a Spectra Glo kit, LED lighting (available in-store) made of flexible pods you can place individually or chain together. They’re easy to attach with adhesive backing and you can change colors at will to fit your mood.
Speaking of lights, you can also improve visibility by using your high beams during the day. No one will complain you’re blinding them as long as the sun is out, and you’ll be more visible in oncoming traffic. And if it does annoy them but they don’t hit you, who cares?
Improving Visibility in Traffic
When everything is going predictably, drivers tune out. Use your bike and lights to get their attention by being less predictable.
When you’re coming to a stop, tap several times to create a blinking brake light. Before you change lanes or slow to a stop, weave a little in your lane to make your headlight and other lights move unpredictably and draw attention. Use hand signals, not just your turn signal when you’re changing lanes so it’s harder for motorists to ignore.
Make Yourself More Visible
We don’t sell a lot of orange traffic vests here at Dallas Harley-Davidson®. We ride back and forth to the dealership every day, and most of us don’t wear them. We get it, really.
Some people will flat out tell you wearing an orange vest covered in reflective tape defeats the purpose of riding a motorcycle that looks like a beast. Others say who cares, nobody looks good in a full-body cast. Which way you choose is up to you, but we do have options that improve visibility without requiring you sacrifice style.
Choose a jacket, helmet, pants and boots with reflective strips. Opt for bright clothing over black when the weather is bad, you’ll be out past dark or you’re riding in heavy traffic.
Wash Your Bike
Shiny gets peoples’ attention. Dirt dulls shine.
Pay Attention to Bags
If you add anything to your bike that improves your carrying capacity, make sure it doesn’t obstruct your lights. Luggage is a great place to apply reflective tape for improved visibility. If you’re choosing a new bag or backpack for motorcycle road trips, pick a bright color for an instant visibility boost.
Get Personalized Tips
Harley has way too many great products and motorcycle customization options for us to list them here. But we can help you find the perfect accessories to help you be more visible riding around Dallas or across the nation. And it doesn’t get more eye-catching than the 2020 Harley-Davidson models, why not book a test ride today?