A motorcycle accident can have devastating physical and financial consequences. Unfortunately, it's usually the motorcyclist who bears the brunt of the damage, simply because a motorcycle doesn't protect its rider the way that a car does. Finding ways to avoid motorcycle accidents in the first place is far preferable to figuring out how to recover after the fact. As a motorcyclist, one of the biggest things that you can do to keep yourself safe is make sure that you're visible on the road. If a driver can't see you, then they're going to have a hard time avoiding you. Take a look at a few visibility tips that will help you stay safer on the road.
Choose Bright Colors
A jet black motorcycle and a black leather riding outfit topped off with a black helmet may look cool in commercials, in the parking lot, or in the motorcycle parade during Bike Week. The problem is, out on the road with normal traffic – especially at night – this combination doesn't look like much of anything at all. Sure, your headlights might be visible to the car in front of you, but to a car beside you, you'll pretty much blend into the night. This can be a problem when the car beside you wants to move into your lane.
The truth is that basic black can be a very unsafe color for a motorcyclist. Choosing a bright red bike, a black jacket with visible white patches or designs, and a neon yellow helmet will give you a lot more visibility on the road. Consider nighttime visibility when choosing your motorcycle colors and your riding gear, and make sure that you're making an effort to choose colors that will stand out.
Add Extra Lights
Adding additional lighting to your bike is a simple way to make sure that your bike remains visible. There are a variety of different types of auxiliary lights that you can add to your motorcycle in the front, back, or undersides of the bike, all of which can serve to draw attention to your motorcycle and make it more visible to surrounding vehicles.
One popular source of auxiliary lights is LED strips that strobe or change color and can be added to the underside of your bike to achieve what's called "underglow." Check your state laws before adding these lights to your motorcycle. In some states, these LED lights are not allowed, due to fears that they will distract drivers. In other states, only certain colors are allowed. Texas, for example, changed their laws in 2015 to allow LEDs, but only in white or amber, and the LEDs aren't allowed to flash.
Use Your Brake Lights
The last thing that you want to do when a car is following you too closely is to stop suddenly, so it may not occur to you that your brakes could be useful when you're worried that the driver behind you may not realize that they're too close. But the fact is, your brake lights can serve as a useful warning.
Try tapping your brakes when the car behind you is tailgating or doesn't seem to be slowing down even though traffic has slowed. This causes your brake lights to blink rapidly, and it can be an effective way of attracting the attention of a driver who may not be paying attention the way that they should. When you're traveling in a group of other motorcycles, tapping your brakes is also a useful way to warn the riders behind you of dangerous road conditions ahead.
Upgrade Your Horn
Sure, a horn is an audible cue to other drivers, not a visual cue. But honking your horn is definitely a good way to get other drivers to look in your direction – that is, assuming that they can hear you. However, the horns that come standard with most motorcycles don't always command the attention that you might wish they did.
Fortunately, you can always upgrade your existing horn for a louder option. There are even aftermarket horns that leave your existing horn in place while offering a louder option when it's called for. That way, you still have the regular horn that you might use to alert a driver in front of you that the red light has changed to green, as well as a high-volume horn that can function as something of an alarm in an emergency – say, when a careless driver is trying to change lanes without noticing that you're in their way.
Unfortunately, all the proactive measures in the world can't prevent every motorcycle accident. If you are unable to avoid an accident and you end up being injured in a collision, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney in your area for help. A good attorney can help you recover the funds you need to pay your medical bills and recoup your losses.