Should YOU ride your motorcycle at night?- The short answer is …..YES! Absolutely!
Before we buttress this and ADD our own take, we want our Motosquirrelfriends to know that we are not going to take on the typical caveats. You are aware of the continuous, ubiquitous and constant “Safety Culture” we are barraged with everyday! In the area of motorcycles alone, there is an endless stream of safety classes, equipment, digital rider aids, smartphone GPS applications, inertial motion sensing engine management and on and on and ON!
We absolutely REFUSE to be your Safety Susan friend (Apologies to all the great Susans out there!) who is here to make you believe that, as a rider, you can be ALL SAFE by using these certain cutting edge products. Not here. Nope, not gonna happen!
Motosquirrel understands that at any given moment there are literally millions of riders (And Billions throughout history) who take on the challenge of riding in all sorts of conditions throughout the world and at all times of the twenty four hour slice of pie! India, Columbia, Phillipines, Malaysia, China, Thailand and so many others still have many intricate, beat-up, pot holed, ruined and otherwise barely navigable roads. Add in millions of people, hectic byways, terrible weather systems and you have the makes of challenges to those who would most likely not even COMPLAIN about their commute.
Here in the west, many of us are sitting by and sucking our thumbs!
If you are a weekend, sunny day rider or someone who has had tragic happenings at night- we understand. But, if you are someone who is on the fence about riding, or is considering riding more after the sun goes down, we are are giving you the full thumbs up!
Before you go, here are a few things to consider:
1. Are all your signal, headlights AND speedo equipment in full functioning order?
a. If so, CAN you read them? (Do you need to purchase an L.E.D. turn signal kit?)
b. Did you know that if your headlight is TOO bright, you can blind oncoming drivers? Scope it out first!
2. KNOW where you are going BEFORE you get there- NO EXCUSES and DON’T rely on GPS only!
a. At night everything happens, seemingly, quicker than at any other time. Be ready, travel slower AND don’t be distracted by extra displays or phones- Use these as supplemental only!
3. DON’T over do it with crazy reflection add-ons or Super Flourescent brights! Remember to dress as to be seen BUT – don’t be ridiculous. If you have a million Mirror Ball reflectors all over your helmet and a Giant Reflective light-up phrase on your Rider jacket- there is the danger of TWO things:
a. Target Fixation: Humans have a tendency to guide, walk or drive towards something unfamiliar, overly attractive or bright. Most of the time this is completely unconscious on the part of the driver.
b. Target Fascination: (Especially in today’s climate of Video Everything) If you have a strangely written or bright phrase on your jacket back (Not talking Harley Club names here)- there is a good chance that this will ATTRACT drivers to get close in order to read what it says. Especially in poor or wet weather. The last thing you want as a night rider (Yep Said IT) is to have a bunch of youths in THEIR first ride at night on the highway trying to film your crazy phrase done in reflective glitter and homemade……only to get run over for them to read it!
4. For the WEST: If you have the opportunity (This can be difficult), ride with others at night. If there is another person at your work or school who rides a motorcycle, but doesn’t commute- there could be a good reason. Or, they are apprehensive about traveling alone. The chance that this person would be more willing to ride to work with another is high. (Of course this depends on where and when you work etc.).
a. You can always approach another rider on the road (Forego the snobbery if they don’t RIDE YOUR RIDE) that you see who also travels your way to work or the events or places that you go to. Strike up the conversation. Ride together DAMMIT! (Motorcyclists should LOVE other Motorcyclists!)
5. Dress for the cold. Duh. But also bring along in your pack a few extra mini lights along with your tool kit as well as a few snacks. You would be amazed at how much better you will feel about a break down at night if you have a few of these small but essential things.
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY: RIDE AT NIGHT. The more you do it, the more you will figure out what you need, where and how you will use it and ……wait for it…….HOW MUCH FUN IT IS!
Note: We will be reviewing (Showing off) some of the mods we have made to our night ride helmet, for better night riding, in the future…….see you then!