Night Rider: 11 Tips for Biking in the Dark
Some motorcyclists love the freedom riding at night brings. To these individuals, there is nothing quite like feeling the cool breeze and listening to the quiet solitude found on most open roads after the sun goes down. Other riders prefer to avoid night riding when possible. These more cautious bikers fear the decrease in visibility and the increased dangers found on a dimly lit road.
No matter which category you fall into, you will likely need to ride at night at some point in your biking career whether you like it or not. When this day comes, it is always best to be well prepared with the knowledge of how to keep yourself safe while riding in the dark.
For this reason, we have collected a list of the 11 most important tips and tricks to keep in mind before and during your late-night ride in order to stay as safe as possible while still enjoying the lovely solitude those dark rides can bring.
1. Replace, Adjust, and Clean Your Headlight
Motorcycles do not typically come equipped with the best headlight possible. Because a nice, bright headlamp is so important for ensuring you are seen during your ride, many motorcyclists choose to replace their factory headlight with something more powerful. We recommend doing this if you have any plans to ride at night.
After switching out your headlamp with the more powerful option of your choice, be sure to adjust it in order to get the most visibility possible. It is best to do this in a large, flat area while sitting in front of a wall. Check both the high beam and the low beam, and adjust them until you are happy with the results.
As you ride, you will likely pick up dust, dirt and other debris that will stick to the outside of your headlight. Therefore, it is important to wipe your light down on a regular basis in order to ensure you are getting the brightest light possible.
2. Go With LED
In addition to switching out your headlight, you may also want to consider changing your tail light for something brighter and longer-lasting. For instance, many bikers are making the switch to LED tail lights. These lights are brighter, draw less power, and last longer than more traditional options.
3. Get Reflective
In order to make yourself as visible as possible, add reflective accessories to every side of your bike. Additionally, be sure your helmet and other attire are also reflective. After all, a driver won’t be able to avoid you if he or she can’t see you.
4. Install Mirrors
Most, but not all, motorcycles come from the factory equipped with at least one high-quality mirror. If your bike does not include this accessory, the time to install one is now. Mirrors increase your safety levels in both daytime and nighttime situations by increasing your ability to see the drivers around you. Therefore, every motorcycle should include at least one—if not two—good mirrors.
5. Ride in the Tracks
Riding at night increases the risk that your bike could hit unseen debris, causing damage to your bike and even injury to you. In order to avoid as much debris as possible, try to ride on the tire tracks made by the vehicles before you. Because this is where most cars and trucks tend to drive, they will clear the way in front of you, brushing or smashing potential hazards.
6. Slow Down
One obvious way to ride more safely at night is to slow down. As mentioned before, visibility decreases at night. This makes it more difficult to see what lies ahead, meaning if you are moving too quickly, you may not have time to stop before meeting a hazardous situation. Riding more slowly will give you a bit more reaction time so you can stop before reaching animals, gravel patches, oil spills, and other dangers you may come across during your ride.
7. Pack Weather-Appropriate Riding Gear
In many areas, the weather changes dramatically once the sun goes down. If you will be riding in an area with much lower nighttime temperatures, be sure to pack the proper gear for riding in chilly weather. This will decrease distractions caused by freezing fingers, making it easier to focus on driving.
8. Avoid the “Danger Hour”
Be aware of when your local bars close and make sure you aren’t on the road for the hour or so after this time. The increase of drunk drivers on the road during this period of time makes riding incredibly dangerous.
9. Watch for Drunk and Drowsy Drivers
Even if you aren’t riding during the “danger hour” mentioned above, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for drunk or drowsy drivers and keep your distance if you believe you have found one. Riding at night increases the likelihood that you will come across these individuals, and because their judgment is impaired, riding near a drunk or drowsy driver could have serious consequences for you.
10. Get Familiar with the Wildlife
As odd as it may sound, getting familiar with the local wildlife can help you avoid danger. If you know what kinds of animals are likely to jump in front of you as you ride and where they might jump from, you can slow down and watch for them as you pass their likely hiding places. This can make all the difference in keeping you safe.
11. Invest in Proper Eye Protection
Finally, you will want to make sure you have the proper eye protection for night riding. During the day, you want your goggles or glasses to offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays. However, at night, that same sun protection can put you in danger by hindering your vision. Therefore, you will want to make sure you replace those glasses or goggles with something more nighttime friendly.
If you are looking for the perfect nighttime riding eyewear, you have come to the right place. We have a wide variety of options, and we know we have just what you need. Have a look around and let us know if you have questions!