Why Go High-Viz?
Ask any rider, and they will probably tell you their biggest safety concern is being cut off, run over, or otherwise violated by another driver in traffic. It’s a constant, serious threat.
However, as a rider, you can take control of the situation by making yourself as highly visible (conspicuous) as possible. Doing so will reduce the number of surprises you face every day and help you avoid getting blindsided by someone else’s last-minute decision.
10 High-Viz tips :
1. Fluorescent/Reflective Safety Vest
The most effective tool that a rider can use to increase visibility is a simple, reflective safety vest. The fluorescent color and retroreflective taping are hard to miss, both day and night. If you're serious about standing out in traffic, a vest will net you the most visibility with the least amount of effort.
2. White Helmet
Another solid tool for making yourself visible to others is to wear a white helmet. A recent study in New Zealand found that riders who wore a white helmet were 24 percent less likely to be involved in a multi-vehicle crash than riders who wore a black helmet.
3. Brightly Colored Jacket
For a rider's protection and visibility, a good jacket in a bright color such as red, orange, green, or yellow is a very smart choice. A fluorescent color is even better, and if it has reflective material, you’ll be much, much easier to see in traffic both day and night.
4. Strategic Lane Positioning
If you choose not to wear brightly colored riding gear, or if you already do wear the gear and are looking for more ways to stand out in traffic, careful positioning in traffic will do as much for your visibility as a high-viz jacket.
Motorcycles can disappear in traffic because they’re smaller and harder to spot among other, larger vehicles. Whether you wear brightly colored gear or not, smart positioning is critical in making your presence known to other drivers. Understanding blind spots, commercial vehicles, following distance, positioning for intersections, and positioning for merge areas are the keys to proper positioning.
5. Headlight Modulation
An easy motorcycle modification to boost your frontal visibility—the area from 11:00 to 1:00 where most of your accident hazards come from—is to add a headlight modulator to your bike. A headlight modulator "pulses" the headlight’s intensity during the daytime, rapidly alternating between high and low to draw attention to the motorcycle.
6. Flash Your Taillight
An easy way to make yourself more visible to traffic from the rear is to flash your taillight. Instead of just braking to slow or to stop, squeeze the brake lever several times to alert other drivers before you begin to slow. This will raise awareness of both your presence and your intentions and allow other drivers time to adjust.
7. Reflective Materials
Here is a great tip anyone who rides after dark: a cheap, easy, and fun way to dramatically increase your visibility is to use reflective materials on your helmet and/or bike to stand out at night. You can buy pre-designed kits with skulls, flames, or other designs, or you can create your own custom set for your helmet or bike.
A moving object is more likely to draw another driver’s attention than a stationary one. But when you’re riding towards or away from another driver, because you stay in the same general place in their field of vision, you may eventually "disappear" from view, even though you are in plain sight.
9. Auxiliary Driving Lights
Most riders add auxiliary driving lights or fog lights to their motorcycle to help them see the road and shoulders at night or in bad weather. But a terrific fringe benefit is that auxiliary lights can make you more noticeable to other drivers. The relatively unique triangular light setup is very rare (except near railroad tracks!) and may help get you noticed.
10. Hand Signals
One simple, cheap way to make yourself more visible to other drivers is to use hand signals in addition to your bike’s turn signals. Because traditional hand signals are so rare in traffic, they tend to get noticed by other drivers.