How to ride a motorbike at night

Riding your motorbike at night
Riding your motorbike at night

With warm, drawn-out summer evenings it’s the ideal excuse to maximise your time on the bike. Riding a motorcycle at night can be very satisfying, with the roads less crowded and distractions swallowed up in the dark, but you have got to take some extra precautions to make it safe as well as satisfying.

These are our top tips for riding once the sun’s gone down.

Can you see clearly?

Obviously you need a clear visor but make sure it’s free from scratches and clean.

It's important to keep your helmet visor clear when riding at night

Scratches will distort your vision at night, especially with oncoming headlights.

The eyes have it

Cat’s eyes are your friends: they help guide you at night and give you some indication of what is ahead.

They can not only indicate which way the road twists and turns but if it’s legal to overtake, as double white lines have a heavier concentration of cat’s eyes. Don’t forget that motorways have different coloured reflectors, red on the hard shoulder, amber on the outside lane and green on slip roads.

Make yourself known

It still might not be perceived as being fashionable, but it’s important to be seen; fluorescent or reflective clothing really makes a difference.

High-vis detailing on your leathers could make the difference when riding in darkness

Some kit has built in reflective strips – even gloves and boots, but we’d still advise a reflective vest or waistcoat.

Beaming marvellous

Keep your headlight clean, for obvious reasons. It might be a pain in winter but it’s worth doing before you set off on a night-time ride. Most garages have a simple sponge and bucket of water near the pumps – and don’t forget to clean your indicators and brake lights at the same time. It makes a surprising difference.

Proper bobby dazzler

It’s difficult but try to avoid looking directly into oncoming headlights.

Ensure you're doing everything you can to avoid being dazzled

If you think oncoming headlights are on full beam, don’t flash back as you may dazzle them and cause momentary blindness; simply reduce your pace to a safe speed and avoid looking directly at the oncoming vehicle.

Don’t miss a thing

It’s more difficult to spot potential danger at night so use all your senses to look out for clues. You can usually smell diesel before you can see it. If you can smell freshly cut grass or a recently fertilised field be aware of mud on the road or slow moving farm traffic.

Guessing is stressing

At night it’s tempting to ‘link the dots’. For example just because you can see a car in the distance it doesn’t mean the road is straight, there may be a hidden dip or turn. Always assume the worst.

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By MCN News