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Safe winter motorcycle riding means making sure you’re seen by other drivers

Added January 10, 2019
Riding on a motorcycle

From late spring all the way through fall foliage season, motorcycles are everywhere on America’s roads. Once winter arrives, three-season riders store their bikes, leaving fewer on the road. That means winter motorcycle riders have to be even more aware of the need to be seen by other drivers.

Strive to be seen

If there’s any time of the year when you need to be visible on the road, it’s during winter. Riders need to punch through the visual monotony of the gray winter landscape and get drivers’ attention. Here are some tips to make you and your motorcycle more noticeable in traffic:

  • Wear a bright safety vest: Vests come in blaze orange, fluorescent yellow, and even shocking pink. These bright colors stand out against the gray of winter.
  • Choose riding gear with reflective panels or trim: Patterns of reflective lines that outline a rider make you more prominent and humanize the motorcycle.
  • Apply reflective tape to the sides and rear of your motorcycle: Reflective tape increases your visibility, which is especially important with shorter daylight hours in winter.
  • Consider a headlight/brake light modulator: Flashing lights are attention getters—but check local laws to see if they’re allowed.
  • Use your high beam during daylight hours: The headlight’s brightness can be seen from a greater distance.
  • Use your driving lights or fog lamps day and night: More lights make your motorcycle more visible.
  • Honk your horn: If you doubt a driver sees you, honk. A friendly wave when they look at you can make them wonder if they know you. Nobody wants to be rude to friends on the road.

Increase your safety margin

Always ride with the thought you might not be seen and apply defensive riding techniques to increase your margin of safety. Consider these techniques:

  • Increase your space cushion
  • Slow down
  • Allow for more braking distance
  • Use lane position to be visible
  • Keep an eye on tailgaters
  • Flash the brake light
  • Change lanes
  • Turn off the road 

At Dairyland, we love riders who take safety seriously. We even offer a Rider Course Discount for those who’ve taken and passed a motorcycle safety course in the last five years.

Winter motorcycle rides can be invigorating and a refreshing relief from being cooped up indoors this winter. Being seen is being safe—and you just might inspire others to ride motorcycles!

Till next time, ride safe!

Related links

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