Safely Ride a Motorcycle at Night

Night riding is one of the most enjoyable experiences you will encounter on your motorcycle. However, night motorcycle riding can also be an extremely dangerous activity as it is difficult for some motorist to see you and respond by avoiding you. This article includes helpful hints that can make your night motorcycle riding safer and more enjoyable.


  1. Understand the importance of being seen. Safety comes through increased road presence. While your bike is 1/12 the size of a typical SUV, there are some steps you can take to increase your visual road presence to something much larger. It's a fact that larger vehicles are easier to see and avoid. With the steps here, you can greatly improve your road presence and help avoid an accident with another motor vehicle. The most common cause of accidents and death for motorcyclists is a motorist turning left and into the pathway of the biker. Other types of common accidents are at intersections and rear end collisions. The techniques here are designed to improve your day and night presence and help other motorist see you.
  2. Wear bright clothing. Those black leather jackets look good in the day, but for the night, you might want to consider wearing something that reflects light. Consider adding a fluorescent highlights on the back of your jacket, a smart message maybe. Your helmet is also a nice place for the same.
  3. Motorcycle Lighting: Good lighting is a crucial factor in your safety. In the quest for stylish lighting, many manufacturers use undersized brake lighting and most will aim the headlight lower to the street than the legal angle allows. Your first step is to examine your front and rear lighting. If you have a tiny brake light, consider replacing the light with a larger model. If this is not possible, J.C. Whitney sells a halogen brake lamp for about $10.00 that is 30% brighter than stock bulbs. You can also buy super bright LED lighting that is much brighter than the typical automotive bulb. However, this lighting should be purchased from a specialty company and not the "garden variety" LED arrays you can find at some stores for $15.00 or less. Ultra Bright LEDs are expensive when using true Ultra Bright LED (light emitting diodes). Expect to pay more if you want a truly bright LED system. Custom Dynamics is one such supplier of premium LED lighting.
  4. Check your headlight aiming angle. Check your state regulation on aiming. Raise the beam to the maximum angle allowed by your state. You can do this without special tools by up-righting your bike and casting the headlight on the wall of your garage. Measure from the ground to the exact center of your headlight, then adjust the beam projected on the wall (high beam). A rule of thumb is to drop 2" for every 10 feet (5 cm every 3 metres), but you should check with your state to conform with their regulations.
  5. Add dual running headlights to your motorcycle. Three properly aimed headlights are much more noticeable than a single headlight.
  6. Consider replacing your headlamp bulb with a super bright DOT approved model. Some bikers have been known to replace their headlight bulb with a non-DOT approved off-road lamp which is 40-50% brighter than the brightest legal lamp.
  7. Add reflective tape to your bike. You can also purchase reflective decals and add reflective flame decals to your helmet.
  8. Consider your driving technique: Are you speeding so fast you will not be able to stop in time? Are you driving between vehicles waiting at a red light to get in front of the traffic? Are you racing with other motorcyclists? Are you trying to show off in front of a large group of people?


  • Stay near the center of the lane when practical. This is where you are best seen. Riding on the edge of the road causes you to blend in with street lighting. Riding on the center of the lane is also dangerous, as this usually is the dirtiest and most slippery part of the road. However always give yourself plenty of room when passing other vehicles traveling in the next lane in case they decide to change lanes while you're passing. This will give you more time to react. And never stay in their blind spot.

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