According to a declaration by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, 27% of motorcycle fatalities occur between 9 pm and 6 am. The night is not the best time to ride a motorcycle.
So, what do you do when the motorbike is your only way of getting around? How about if your job involves riding in the dark?
If so, we recommend you observe the tips on how to ride your motorcycle at night that we’ll share in this post. But first, let’s talk about the hidden risks or dangers of riding your motorcycle at night.
The Risks of Motorcycle Night Riding
Here are the risks of riding a motorcycle at night.
1. Poor Visibility
It’s hard to see clearly at night, and if you cannot see clearly, you can easily suffer a puncture or even crash. It even gets complicated when the darkness combines with fog or rain as the roads become almost impassable.
2. Stray Animals
It’s often at night that wild animals cross the road, and unlike you, they do not understand what road safety is. Not only can you knock them over, but they could also cause you to lose control, and it could end fatally for you and the animal.
3. Drunk Drivers
The NHTSA estimates that more than three-fourths of nighttime motorists’ deaths are related to alcohol impairment. In most cases, it’s the drivers who are drunk.
4. Hidden Hazardous Objects
Since there is poor visibility, it’s hard to notice obstacles such as debris, fallen trees, potholes, and loose gravel on the road. These obstacles pose an immense challenge on the road and could easily cause you to crash if you are not careful.
5. On-Coming Vehicle Headlights
It’s easy to get distracted by the headlights of oncoming vehicles and lose control of your motorcycle at night. Often, the flickering light makes it appear like the car is far when it’s just near. You may not have enough time to prevent a head-on collision.
6. Nighttime Temperatures
Ordinarily, especially in mountainous regions, the nights get colder than the day. It sometimes freezes at night, which means you could easily suffer hypothermia (where your body loses more heat than it produces).
Hypothermia can easily happen if you ride your motorcycle unsafely in winter. What’s even trickier is riding in the wind, which makes you feel cold and may induce hypothermia.
How to Ride Your Motorcycle at Night the Safe Way
Now that you understand the risks of riding a motorcycle at night, let’s talk about how you can avoid them and stay safe. Here are the top tips.
1. Wear The Right Gear
While some motorcycle crashes are unavoidable, you can survive them, and that’s where this tip comes in. You should wear the right gear to keep yourself safe, and they include the following:
- Motorcycle Helmet – Preferably, get a full-face motorcycle helmet with a clear visor to protect your head and face if you crash.
- Motorcycle Jacket – You need a motorcycle jacket to keep you warm at night. It should preferably be leather as the material is warmer and waterproof.
- Riding Boots – The right riding boots will protect your feet and keep them warm. Additionally, they’ll offer you sufficient grip for riding your motorcycle.
- Riding Gloves – Since it’s likely to feel cold at night, you need thick riding gloves just as much as you need a motorcycle jacket.
- Earplugs – Consider blocking off the noisy wind by wearing earplugs.
- Knee and Elbow Guards – Though these pieces of gear may not make you appear cool, they’ll offer your knees and elbows sufficient cushioning if you fall.
2. Become Visible
Other motorists and even passengers must see you. You have to make yourself and your motorcycle visible.
You can make yourself visible at night by wearing reflective clothing, preferably a fluorescent vest or jacket. Even studies support this, as one study shows that the risks of crashing while wearing reflective clothing are 37% lower.
The obvious choices for your reflective clothing are orange, yellow, or green. And remember, if your helmet is not reflective, consider tying a reflective strap around it to make you more visible.
Your motorcycle should also be as visible as you or even more. One way to ensure that is by tying reflective tape around it. You can also use reflective decals, as they serve the same purpose.
The other tip is to make use of your motorcycle lights, which include the following:
- Brake Lights – You quickly alert the motorists behind you by flashing the brake lights multiple times.
- Headlamp – You can alert oncoming motorists using your motorcycle’s headlamp.
- High Beam – This allows you to show other motorists your immediate intention.
3. Be Heard
It’s not just about becoming visible but also being heard. That’s where the exhaust comes in handy.
By sounding your loud exhaust, drivers and passengers recognize you from a distance, so you don’t get them by surprise. Even though some may not see you, they’ll expect you since they can hear you.
4. Ensure You Have Good Night Vision
Remember, the difference between riding during the day and doing it at night is that you can see better during the day. To match daytime safety, you should have excellent night vision.
That includes doing the following:
- Clean your bike – You’ll see the road better if your motorcycle’s headlamp, taillight, windscreen, and turn signals are clean. They shouldn’t be dusty or muddy when riding at night. Ensure you clean them thoroughly.
- Clean your helmet’s visor – You also have to ensure the helmet’s visor is free of dust, mud, and anything else that may block your visibility.
- Illuminate your path – You must keep your headlamp shining bright if it doesn’t do it automatically. That’ll ensure you can see the roads ahead.
- Use other motorists’ lights – You can get a lot of information about the road’s layout from the lights of other vehicles.
For example, if they sweep their headlights when turning, that shows you a sharp bend. If they indicate their backlight, that shows you that you should slow down.
Other Safety Tips on How to Ride a Motorbike at Night
Here are some other safety tips for riding a motorcycle in the dark.
- Slow down for better reaction – It’s hard to respond to danger if you are riding at full speed. Learn to slow down. It keeps you safe.
- Keep a safe riding distance – It’s dangerous to follow motorists closely behind. If they pull an emergency brake, then you may end up bumping into them.
- Stay away from blind spots – Don’t ride into places you cannot see. It’s too risky, as you could crash.
- Stay alert – You should always scan your eyes around to identify potential dangers and react to them accordingly. Just ensure you are not too distracted to lose control of your motorcycle.
- Use road markings – Road markings can give you a proper road layout at night. Use them to the maximum. For example, road marker posts indicate the direction of the road curve even before you can get to it. The white markers show an off-side curve, while the red markers show a nearside curve.
- Check the bike’s condition beforehand – Ensure your motorbike is in good condition. Check the brakes, tires, gears, and every other part to ensure they are working well.
- Fuel up – This applies to you and your motorcycle. Ensure you eat well and hydrate before jumping onto the bike for a nighttime ride. As for your motorbike, ensure you’ve enough gas to last you the trip.
- Stay sober – Don’t go riding your motorcycle if you are under the influence. This doesn’t just apply to nighttime but to every other time. Not only does intoxication impair your judgment and lead to injuries or deaths, but it could get you arrested once the traffic marshals pull you over.
Above are highly beneficial tips on how to ride your motorcycle at night. Hopefully, you can implement them on your next nighttime riding adventure. They’ll keep you safe and, more importantly, alive.
People Also Ask
While we’ve explored the basics of how to ride a motorbike at night, we cannot resist answering a few top questions that most motorcycle riders ask.
Is It Good Riding a Motorcycle at Night?
The night can be the worst time to ride a motorcycle if you cannot see well. In such a case, you depend on your bike’s lights, street lights, and lights from other vehicles. Sadly, all of them can fail, putting you in jeopardy.
How Can I Make My Motorcycle Visible at Night?
You can make your motorcycle visible at night by:
- Wearing a reflective helmet
- Wearing reflective clothing, such as a fluorescent vest
- Making use of the headlamp, brake lights, and signal lights
- Staying clear of blind spots
Is It Safe to Ride at Night?
There are many unseen dangers at night, such as stray animals, freezing temperatures, drunk drivers, and hidden obstacles, making night motorcycle riding quite risky.
However, if you can improve your motorbike’s lighting, stay away from blind spots, and be fully alert, you can ride safely at night.