Safety: 8 Ways to Make Your Motorcycle More Visible

How To -

By

BE-SEEN

In a world of cars, drivers are used to driving defensively and, for most, that usually means looking out for other cars and trucks on the road. Often times, motorcycles simply are not on their radar. That is why visibility is critical when it comes to your safety. The more you and your motorcycle are able to grab the attention of automotive drivers, the more you lessen the chance of collision. Here are eight easy ways to make your motorcycle more visible.

1. Ride A Brightly Colored Motorcycle

Motorcycles are already at a disadvantage on the road because they are far smaller and can accelerate and decelerate far faster than car drivers are accustomed to. This makes them both harder to see and harder to gauge the distance from. Darkly colored motorcycles only exacerbate the issue, making our tiny little rocket ships that much more difficult to recognize on the road. Riding a brightly colored motorcycle can exponentially increase the chance you’ll be noticed, even if only seen out of the corner a driver’s eye; a fraction of a second difference in reaction time can be the difference between life and death.

2. Wear High Visibility Safety Gear

On most motorcycles the rider takes up about as much visual space as the bike itself. This means we have as big a role to play as the motorcycles we ride when it comes to being seen. We’ve learned since we were young that high visibility yellow or orange means caution or to pay attention, so wearing a high visibility jacket or helmet draws driver’s eyes instantly to them. This is probably the cheapest and easiest way to make sure you’re visually distinct. It also brings the added benefit of decreasing your commitment to the high visibility lifestyle, should you decide you don’t want to be that bright all the time, as it’s easier to own multiple jackets than multiple motorcycles.

3. Use Reflective Tape
Motorcycle Rim Tape
Using reflective tape increases the visual footprint of your motorcycle. We recommend putting pieces on the front of your forks and on any piece of your motorcycle that sticks out a good distance from a light source (top of a tall windscreen or the edges of your panniers). Reflective tape won’t do much for you during the daytime, but will act as independent light sources at night and make your motorcycle look like a much larger object. Bonus Points for applying it around your wheel rims, not only does reflective tape make a cool rim stripe, but wheels remain largely unobscured by bodywork or rider when the bike is side-on to a light source, such as at a 90-degree intersection at night.

4. Stay Out Of Blind Spots

They’re called blind spots for a reason. If you position your motorcycle in a place where drivers can’t see you without moving their heads and looking for you, you’re leaving your fate to their vigilance. Hanging out behind the b-pillar of a four-door sedan is not where you want to ride. Obviously we can’t avoid blind spots completely, but make your passes swiftly and then get into a lane position that a) can be seen by all cars on the road and b) gives you a little buffer should one of them still not see you.

5. Tap Your Brakes

Many people don’t know that their brakes have a secondary function I like to call “Hey you behind me, make sure you’re paying attention to what’s happening up here.” Tapping your brakes rapidly turns your brake light into a giant blinker, hopefully taking the attention of the driver behind you from his burrito to the massive traffic jam he will slam into should he not drop his lunch and act quickly. Tapping your brakes also works great for tailgaters or to warn your riding buddies of a dangerous road condition.

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  • KevinB

    I’ve always been on the fence about hi-viz gear and being seen in general. Sure, it makes you more visible and probably less likely to have someone turn in front of you or something, but it also makes you more visible and likely to get hit in a panic situation where target fixation sets in. Also, police.

    • Stuki

      Very anecdotally, I would suggest that many cops think of you as more mature and responsible, and less squidly; hence giving you more leeway; when you ride a HiViz stitch than black leathers.

      In my experience, the biggest bummer about HIviz vs black in high traffic areas like Silicon Valley and LA, is that the black roadgrime just won’t come off, sticks out like sore thumb against bright yellow, and makes you look positively dirty when arriving at your destination. Which is less than ideal when your destination is a client you are billing hundreds an hour. Even covered in tar, an all black suit, even a ‘Stitch, still looks like something you chose to wear for it’s Pradaness, not something so dirty your clients feel they need to clean up after sharing an elevator with you…..

      • BryonCLewis

        Sorry but your reference to charging clients “hundreds an hour” and cleaning up after meeting with you and the reference to Prada makes me think of a “Pretty Woman” profession.

        • AHA

          I can see why you think that but I typically get only two reactions when I turn up to a business meeting on my bike and ATGATT. Instant recognition & ensuing fraternal chat or sniffy disdain. The latter is mitigated by the styling of your gear. Stuki is right. Sometimes you need to dress to impress – or at least get a stay of execution.

        • Stuki

          :)

          • Stuki

            You know, judging by how drivers behave around pretty women, perhaps the ideal riderwear from a be seen perspective, is a big chested naked woman suit…….

            Still not appropriate for charging downtown law partners and bankers their own rates for consulting gigs, though….

  • gravit8ed

    good points, all, but I still can’t shake the feeling that guys in bright leathers on bright bikes are complete d-bags. You know, the ones with the Repsol-liveried bikes covered in stickers. Maybe I’m just jealous. But it’s a very distant ‘maybe’.

    That said, my kz1100 is painted bright-kawasaki green, rims and all, bought that way. It definitely gets noticed.

  • kentaro

    Best to get into the habit of tapping the rear brake several times right before you start to slow down with the front brakes.

  • LS650

    I would agree with all the tips except using high beam. I get why other riders do it, but when I’m in commuting traffic putting along at only 20 or 30 mph in broad daylight, I find an oncoming rider stabbing me in the retinas to be highly obnoxious.

    Yes, yes, I see you – but at this speed and in these conditions I would have seen you and your low beams just fine anyhow.

    Use high beams where appropriate….

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      You’re probably a better driver than most. With all due respect, I’d rather annoy you and get the idiot next to you to finally check his rear view than have him hit me.

      • Jasiek Wrobel

        It is not only about annoying. High beams on bikes really irritate my eyes, and I feel like I am doing distracted driving each time I have one within my field of vision. Yes, even in daylight. Please do not do it.

        • Bret Prins

          Again you probably aren’t the one tweeting on his phone and drinking a skinny latte with extra whipped cream. It may annoy you, but for a good portion of the population its completely necessary.

          • AHA

            Discussed pros & cons of this chestnut with the cops at Bikesafe (UK). The verdict was don’t do Hi-beam in daylight. It annoys many of the car drivers that it alerts & therefore contributes to anti-bike prejudice. Also when filtering it catches the eye & makes drivers look in their side mirrors (shock). This should be a good thing but unfortunately they steer towards where they look & so they inadvertently close up the gap on you. Try it next time you’re filtering between two lanes of traffic travelling the same way. It’s the opposite of parting the Red Sea.

          • Guy

            I’ve heard this argument before and I too HATE distracted motorists. The truth is that these people aren’t going to know any better unless they learn to focus on the task at hand. Going beyond what is necessary and running your high-beam to get their attention isn’t a reliable way of helping yourself. I’ve seen target-fixation occur, startled reactions leading to swerving, misjudging distance before making a turn in front of approaching riders, and road rage responses due to this tactic. Yea, you’ll get their attention, but not necessarily in a good way. I’m not arguing this point because I simply disagree or want to be right, keep in mind that I genuinely care a TON for my fellow biker. What a good portion of the population needs is a lesson, and why not rally for a public education programme instead of trying to solve this on your own as the brightest blaring star on the road?

        • Rice Pudding

          The CHP officially recommends riding with your high beams on while splitting.

          “Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored protective gear and using high beams during daylight.”

          http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I flick on my high beams any time I start filtering. It’s a warzone out there and I don’t intend to lose.

  • uberbox

    Brake Tap is one I use a lot. Also, when stopped on a multi-lane road in a state outside of CA, I generally point my bike to where I could easily slip between the two stopped cars in front of me. That way I can pull ahead to avoid being rear-ended rather than become a moto-sandwich.

    • Piglet2010

      Yes, I always try to have an “escape route”, and watch for someone coming up too fast from behind.

      • Joe Bielski

        Same here. I actually never put my bike in neutral at a red light just in case I have to boot outta there. And ALWAYS tap the brakes.

        And someone said prairie dog……..giggles…

  • Guy

    Negative on the high beams. Use the high beams when you’re on an un-lit road and dip them with oncoming traffic. High beams aren’t designed to NOT blind oncoming traffic, they’re designed to throw as much light forward as far forward as possible. Even during the day they can be a dangerous distraction and more hazardous on than off. My biker wave usually turns into a bike middle finger when I see high-beams heading towards me ANY time of day.

  • Pat Gamueda

    Argh, bike is black, jacket black, helmet black gloves black, boots black.. i just defeated the article..

    I use brake tap alot though and as well as passing light, if traffic is so bad i keep my headlight on and on high

  • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

    Reflective tape is great, but why stop there? Get active side lighting tape (UV reactive tape with a tiny UV light) for that Tron look and better nighttime visibility.

    • Chris McAlevy

      Any idea on where I can find this stuff? I’ve looked around, but haven’t been able to.

      • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

        Lunasee makes a kit, it’s something like $150.

      • Aurelia Monk

        Looking at all the conversations, this is the answer. Its not reflective, is integrated with the bike, no wires or lights on the wheels. One small LED charges the special photoluminescent rim tape and makes it glow SUPER bright. You will be seen ahead of time and from the side. http://shop.lunasee.com/

  • Guillaume Béliveau

    And that’s why Wes only wears black on black gear lol ! (just kidding Wes !)

    • Mitchel Durnell

      Fashion bro! Seriously, I love the rubatone black helmets but they’re so stealth :(

  • Felipe Ruas

    I love Hi-Viz! I wear AGV-K3 Rossi’s Face and Alpinestars Textile Jacket Lucerne (Hi-Viz). Love it!

    • Mark D

      I also just picked up a Lucerne jacket, and I’m really enjoying it. A true 4-season jacket for not much money. The hi-viz is low-key, if that makes sense; it looks more like a technical ski jacket, or something from REI, than an in-your-face hi-viz moto jacket.

  • Miles Prower

    The first thing I do when I get a new motorcycle is install a brake light modulator. A modulator rapidly blinks the brake light for a second or two (before going to steady on) when the brake is applied.

    My current motorcycles are both white & black. On the black portions of the bikes, I strategically applied black 3M reflective tape. The tape is available in many widths. (Search Amazon.) When light hits it, it reflects light back to the source — just like regular reflectors or reflective tape do. But if you look at it during the day, as long as the sun is not directly behind your head, the tape looks black.

    • Raph

      Two thumbs up. Huge believer in the flashing brake light, I should’ve installed one right away as I swear people are coming up more cautiously when I’m approaching stop lights at night. Actually, same thing with my frame sliders but for a different reason. These two things should be the first items installed on a new bike.

      I’ve also coated a backpack with reflective spray paint that is only visible at night, that thing is hilarious.

    • jonoabq

      As I commented in the “riding in the rain” thread. I put a Hyperlights on everything. Inexpensive, easy install. Makes your motorcycle look like a F1 open wheel trail braking into a corner, general traffic, or sitting at a light. They can be set up to flash for five seconds then shift to constant on.

  • PracticalBatman

    I have denali d2 driving lights on my ex250 (and several other bikes) and a pair of bikevis bullets. Triangle lighting does a *great* job of getting people’s attention. Since I added a lighting triangle to almost every one of my bikes there’s a tangible difference in the number of people that either cut me off or pull out without seeing me.

  • karlInSanDiego

    If traffic stops suddenly (expectantly) and I’m not panic braking because I managed to maintain a good following distance, I throw my left hand in the air to get the attention (in addition to my brake light) of car(s) behind me. I also do that in my convertibles, and have noticed a marked difference in how many fewer close calls I’ve had since I started doing that. Even partially distracted tools look up from their partial burrito gaze if their minds tell them that fool on the motorcycle appears to be chucking a burrito back to you.

    +1 on the rim tape, especially if like me, you pull stocker reflectors when tidying a new bike’s looks. Got called on lack of side reflectors by moto CHP and he relented when I told him about my reflective rim tape. He said, technically, tape should have been amber front, red rear, but he appreciated my effort and only fix-it ed me on the rear. I corrected that with reflective button license plate screws.

    My high vis from the rear is actually my REI backpack in dayglow orange, that I commute with religiously. Noticed last night how pathetic single rear red marker light is on most bikes making it REALLY hard to gauge distance of bike. On my 675, I went with a full set of ebay florescent lights (any color in the rainbow), and I’ve never been pulled over with them on. I even set two on fairing bubble shining down and it lights up my tank and torso well.
    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3571/3290856864_b67ee7e02f_b.jpg

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Excellent advice on holding your left hand up. Works best if you have brightly-colored gloves.

  • HoldenL

    When I’m approaching someone facing the opposite direction, waiting for a break in traffic to turn left, I do something to grab their attention. Sometimes I stand on the pegs for a second and sit down — a quick, up-and-down motion like a prairie dog. It helps that I have a white helmet.

    Another thing I do is wiggle the bike — a slight push on the left bar and a slight push of the right bar, just enough to make the headlight jiggle. Mostly, I do this on a boulevard that I ride on my commute, where it’s two lanes in one direction, then a 150-foot-wide grassy/water catchment area, then two lanes in the other direction. When drivers cross this boulevard, they stop at the stop signs but they just don’t seem to look carefully for oncoming traffic.

    As far as colors, I’d like someone to study whether hi-viz works any better than white. For catching drivers’ attention, I have a hunch that white is just as good as hi-viz during the day, and better than hi-viz at night.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’s definitely a good idea to try and grab a turning driver’s attention ahead of time, but maybe think about staying ready to emergency brake if necessary. Standing up or taking our hands off the bars will delay any braking. I always cover the brake through intersection and when passing a car that looks like it may pull out.

      • runnermatt

        Wouldn’t this somewhat depend on the bike. Dual sports and ADV bikes should be easier to brake while standing than a sport bike would. Could you even brake while standing on a cruiser? Can you stand on a cruiser?

        • Piglet2010

          Well, if the cruiser has mid-mount foot pegs one can stand; I see the students in BRC class standing during the “run over 2×4″ drills on the 250cc mini-cruisers. With “forward controls” maybe not, but then anyone who rides a cruiser with those is beyond the pale.

      • Michael Howard

        You’d do the “prairie dog move” before you get to the intersection, then be in your normal “ready for anything” position as you go through it.

    • runnermatt

      I like the idea of the slight headlight wiggle because it creates motion. I learned in Marine Combat Training back in 2002 that our eyes are very sensitive to picking up motion, especially in our peripheral vision. The point in MCT was that if you use slow motions a person (i.e. the enemy) will be less likely to see you than if you use fast motions (i.e. picking up a weapon, closing a door, low crawling across a grassy field, etc).

    • Michael Howard

      Yeah, the headlight wiggle is extremely effective. The point is to add some horizontal, side-to-side movement of yourself against what’s behind you. As you approach an intersection, one of the reasons you’re hard to see is because you’re basically blending in to the background. If you weave the bike side to side a bit, it “breaks” you out of the background and makes you a lot more visible.

  • Cameron Evans

    White helmets are very effective for being noticed, in my experience.

    • Piglet2010

      People tell me my yellow Bell Revolver EVO and yellow-green Fly Tracker lids really stand out.

  • AHA

    Great piece. I’m greeting me some rim tape. Never liked the contrasting colour stuff but a few minutes of web research taught me I could get reflective black = invisible on black wheels but reflective white when lit at night. Excellent! Who knew? Well Wes actually…

    Ok so please RideApart: a follow up piece on reflective clothing that looks cool. And please, any hi-viz colour you like except yellow. Way too common, defeats the purpose and is the default for highway professionals. .respro.com were first movers but nothing much new since then. Why do cyclists get all the cool stuff ( like Rapha)?

    • Piglet2010

      Every ANSI Class II or III vest I have seen is either orange or yellow-green – not canary yellow like a ‘Stich.

  • engageit

    Red is actually a terrible colour for visibility. Most people believe the opposite, but it’s true. I couldn’t tell whether the red Ducati was there to say “This is a very visible motorcycle” or “This is a very hard to see motorcycle”. Anyway, people should know it’s a very bad colour for a bike.
    Also, I agree with the people who are against high beams. They are not mean for shining at other vehicles, in fact quite the opposite. Add some daytime LED running lights to your bike if you want to be visible. These are very obvious in the daytime, even more so at night, and still won’t blind anyone or make them look away.

    • Cory McNair

      Agreed. Red is an emotionally striking color, but not a bright one and on a tree lined road with leaves in full autumn blaze, your bike may as well be painted in camouflage . Case in point: Red fire trucks are a rarity these days. Most have switched to white or hi-vis yellow.

  • Martin

    I don’t ride with high beams on, but I do flash them.

    If I am about to cross an intersection where is any chance of someone making an oncoming left hand turn across my path, turning right into or across my path, or crossing my path through the intersection, I flash my brights a few times. It gets attention.

    • runnermatt

      In the MSF course they said not to flash your highbeams as the driver may think you are signalling the driver to go ahead and go. That said if I think that is driver may pull out I switch to the high beam and leave it until I am past them.

      • Martin

        Yikes… That is a very valid point. I like your last bit of advice about leaving the beam on until just through the intersection. I’ll probably do that in the future instead. Thanks!

        • runnermatt

          Glad to be able to help.

  • Piglet2010

    So when I repaint my silver Honda Dullsville, should I chose fire-truck yellow-green, canary yellow to match my Roadcrafter, or “DOT Highway Orange”?

  • zombarian

    Helmets seem like a great place to shove some reflective tape, might be less likely to blend in with the backside of the rig infront of you.

    • jonoabq

      SOLAS (safety of life at sea) reflective tape, not cheap but better than your average 3m strips. Can’t miss it, looks like a silver honeycomb print.

    • Khali

      Discreet on the day, reflective on the night:

  • Mitchel Durnell

    I don’t have one yet, but when I street ride again I’m gonna try out one of these LED belts – seems like a smart piece of gear. http://www.halobelt.com/

  • mid40s

    A headlight modulator will help get you noticed during daylight–A big cause of car / motorcycle accidents is drivers turning left in front of motorcyclists. Also pulling out from parked on the right– then doing an illegal u-turn is another killer. The headlight modulator will get their attention if they are looking in your direction. First thing I did to my bike.

  • James Herrick

    Some simple tips: (1) Buy a Skene Design LED modulator for front and rear. I recommend the one that allows one to flash and alert cars with a brake touch. (2) Buy a cheap reflective vest. (3) Consider repainting your helmet in hi-vis. (4) Do use you high beams in the day; it doesn’t affect the eyes in daytime. (5) Wear All The Gear All The Time: protective pants, jacket, boots, gloves, helmet.

  • Kr Tong

    Rizoma Turn Signals

    • Mitchel Durnell

      I don’t like LED signals because they’re so darn dim, but Rizoma uses the good stuff that’s nice and bright.

  • Stuki

    Do you have reference to any studies indicating this?

    The HiViz champions do at least have something more than conjecture backing them up, in the form of the work that preceded road crews starting to wear HiViz. Motorists did see HiViz clad road workers better than dudes in jeans. Aerostitch, one of the earliest and most vocal HiViz bikewear champions, at least used to have a link to some studies on their website, unless I’m having a senior moment.

  • TraderJoesSecrets

    Really want to be noticed? Get a white BMW and dress like a cop. Seriously.

    • Robert Horn

      You get so noticed that everyone around you does the speed limit, follows with proper spacing, slows down for stops and signal for turns looooong before they need to, and are otherwise such “perfect” drivers that it is hard to actually get anywhere. Sometimes other people’s bad driving justifies more agressive riding.

      How did I find out? I used to do the maintenance contracts for several police departments a few decades ago – part of the fun was doing the test rides. It was a very good experience.

  • Piglet2010

    So these guys are badly prepared for riding in traffic due to their jackets and color schemes on their bikes?

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3538/5694097879_8554daa716.jpg

    • LS650

      “Ahhgg! My eyes! The goggles, they do nothing..!”

    • ben

      i only see a bunch of buses… what are we looking at here?

      • Piglet2010

        Garda Síochána undercover unit. :)

  • Malandro

    Ask any police motorcyclist and they’ll all tell you that they deal with the same sh*t you do – day in day out. Despite the fact that they ride around on massive BMWs (or whatever depending on where you are) with reflective stuff and flashing lights everywhere.

    In most countries, when a driver (or anyone else) pulls up to a junction they check both sides for cars and, if ttheir brain doesn’t register the presence of an approaching car/larger vehicle then they proceed. A car consists of large shapes – big reflective windshield, large bonnet etc. while a bike’s just a collection of tiny parts. It just blends in and all the dayglo kit in the world won’t change that. It’s a complete waste of time and money. I’m sure, if I was the kind of guy that cared about backing up my definitive statements with actual facts, I could find a study which proved this.

    This vid, if you can get past the 1989 production values, explains it very well and will give you a bit of sympathy for the drivers that pull out on you after appearing to look you dead in the eye.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqQBubilSXU

    I’m lucky enough to live in a city where motorcycle are very much up there with cars in terms of numbers. Drivers just don’t pull out on me so much here (Barcelona) as they do in the UK, for example. It happens, sometimes intentionally, but it’s not so frequent as they’re very conscious of the presence of bikes.

    • james

      Thank you sir you are very correct. All the time emergency services vehicles are cut off, involved in smidsy style accidents when they have to run red lights and other drivers dont notice, or are simply blocked in traffic.

      Yet some people think a car driver will notice a bright yellow vest better than they can notice a 150 decibel siren and a bunch of super bright flashing lights.

      Seriously you people need to get your heads read if you think that hi vis does much at all.

      • Stuki

        There is still the studies that demonstrated rather clearly that drivers did see road workers wearing HiViz better than those wearing something else. It’s not just fantasy.

        I can also pretty much guarantee you that if you ride around with a real bright flash strobe your bike, you will be seen MUCH more often than if you don’t (did that on a bicycle for awhile in SF, until told only emergency vehicles can use “real strobes”, as opposed to those measly pulsating leds.) So at some level of visual obnoxiousness, drivers will pay noticeably more attention.

        It’s probably a bit like loud pipes. HiViz may be the equivalent of a less restrictive, but still road legal, can; which will cause SOME drivers, SOME time, to notice whee they otherwise would not. While the strobe experiment is more akin to riding down the road firing a machine gun up in the air. Which I’m also pretty certain would get you noticed….

        • james

          Yes thats because when highway workers were first made to wear hi vis, nothing else was hi vis, now EVERYTHING is hi vis, or reflective, or padded, or whatever. The entire world has been painted dayglo and now it does nothing but blend in.

          You can ride how you like, i have had one serious near smidsy accident (didnt actually crash just had to brake very hard) in 3 years riding, And the driver was a police man in an undercover car….

          Even the best drivers are not looking out for you.

    • runnermatt

      Dude, awesome video thanks for sharing. I’ve wondered if the sheer fact that a bike doesn’t block as much of the background as a car contributes to drivers not seeing bikes. You can see a great portion of road behind the bike that a car would otherwise block. Seemingly, people are not looking for cars or bikes, they are looking for an empty road.

  • Robert Horn

    Same bullshit arguments were used by the anti-helmet sorts 30+ years ago.

    I know the curated blogs preach otherwise, but “Classic” riding gear is crap. Sorry. Someone had to say it.

    • Stuki

      Don’t say that. Next thing you know some taxfeeder will decide to gain some tv time notoriety by attempting to mandate HiViz..

    • Piglet2010

      When I started riding in the pre-Roadcrafter era, a denim jacket, jeans, engineer’s boots, and leather work gloves was considered decent riding gear. Thankfully, I never crashed at speed back then.

  • DucMan

    I have a Kissan “Trailblazer” headlight modulator on my Ducati Monster, My Honda RC51, and my Suzuki V-Strom. I see drivers “seeing” me all the time. It works. I also wear a hi-viz Arai Signet-Q and a hi-viz Scuberth C3 Pro and those seem to make a difference as well.

    One side benefit to the headlight modulator is that many cagers think I’m a LEO and pull over when I come up behind them. Nice.

  • Mitchel Durnell

    Other people acting poorly is NO EXCUSE for you to do the same.

  • susannaschick

    better than just reflective tape are reflective stickers from http://rydesafe.com/ I put them on my matte black bike and they really pop. I’m also a fan of bright jackets & helmets, as they’re more in the line of sight than the bike. Riding an electric motorcycle, I’ve found more cars move aside as I approach while lanesplitting. I think it’s because my headlight is higher than on my R1, so more likely to catch their eye.

    my bike emits butterflies (and yes, I invited Marie to sit on it!): http://instagram.com/p/ZrqZzQIWBi/
    Loud Colors Save Lives: http://instagram.com/p/aAaPgeoWGm/

  • gregory

    Wear a reflective vest. You can’t get on base without one, anyway.

    Wear a white helmet. Or a yellow one, as suggested.

    Blinky LEDs along the side work, as well.

    Like David Hough writes, the visible bit needs to be high-up (helmet, upper torso) and toward the front (face, chest). Brake lights are fun to improve, and make the rider feel better, but the Hurt Report and the various Euro reports don’t show rear-enders (car hitting back of motorcycle) to be a common accident. It’s the bike-hitting-a-car that’s most common, ’cause we’re (we motorcycles are) small and fast. Car drivers often say, “I didn’t see him,” or, “He came out of nowhere.” So… fix something visible high-up and toward the front. It just might help.

    -g

    • ben

      You’re wrong actually, you can’t get on base wearing a reflective vest. That’s the problem with it.

  • LightsBaby

    Loudest (i.e. safest) method is installing LED lights. I live in South Korea where it’s considered fairly dangerous to drive, even more for motorcyclists. Basically all motorcycles here have some sort of aftermarket LED installed to improve visibility to drivers. Blue, white, red, blinking – they come in all varieties and shapes, and can be mounted anywhere. Living in America there is the ignorant stigmas that LEDs are only for certain types of riders / social riding environments, but after living in Asia, I’ll never NOT have them on my bikes. Saftey is always first.

    • LightsBaby

      you can get LED strips installed here all day for about $20-30 per foot. I have a rear white LED strip always on, and a rear blinking red LED strip that activates during any braking.

  • Colin Lowe

    While there’s a ton of great information in this article (and website) I would really recommend not telling people to flash brake lights at tailgaters. From what I was taught in my MSF class by a former CHP, that’s a good method to incite road rage. While it’s dumb to take your eyes off the road, I usually like the good old quick death stare (or two) at the driver who is following too close. Just my opinion though, ride safe everyone!

  • Kyle Gerfen

    I just got a product from a new company called Vololights (vololights.com). They recently got funded through kickstarter and also had a booth at the Long Beach motorcycle show. It’s a brake light that uses an accelerometer so it will go on when you start to slow down at a certain rate and you can set it to flash or stay solid.

    http://youtu.be/BlkdwpHd_io

  • Trevor

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen anything about loud pipes on here. Granted, there is a line between loud, and ungodly obnoxious, but loud pipes in my experience seems to be a helping factor