Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A good friend of mine posed a question about motorcycles to me the other day. He asked if I had seen bikes that had headlights that alternated between high beam and low beam, back and forth, in an apparent effort to be seen better by passing motorists. While I had not, it doesn't surprise me that a motorcyclist would want to be seen better. Unlike cars, headlights on all street motorcycles come on when you start the engine. You have the option to flip to high beam, but that is your choice based on preference or need due to your driving conditions. Many motorcyclists choose to run their high beams in the daytime, in an effort to be seen better by cars and inattentive drivers. Since my bike is a touring model with a full fairing and 3 headlights (one primary and two optional), I choose to remain in low beam during the daytime. If I feel like an approaching car is not paying attention and drifting out of his lane, I will flash my high beam at him just to make sure he sees me. Driving at night is a different story. It's a fact that more accidents happen at night versus the daylight. The statistics are even worse for motorcycles. Motorcycles aren't seen as easily by motorists due to their lower profile. You probably won't miss that Mack truck or semi tractor trailer chugging past you, but how many times have you not seen a motorcycle in the lane you were about to change in to? Motorcyclists must be even more cautious and defensive when driving in the dark than they are in the daylight hours. In addition to watching out for inattentive drivers, motorcyclists must carefully watch the road for potholes and debris not easily seen in the dark as in the daytime. Hitting an object or a big hole in the road could mean dumping your bike and possibly being struck by oncoming vehicles following you. Even with lights on, it's not as easy to pick up bumps in the road, so be careful. If you are in a car or truck and see a motorcycle, give him some room and pay attention to the road. Everyone wants to get home and eat dinner. Don't ruin someone's day by not paying attention when you're driving. Be careful out there!