How to Safely Ride a Motorcycle at Night
Motorcyclists are always at risk when they share the roadway with other drivers, but the risk increases when riding at night. In 2020, 1,303 motorcyclists died in accidents after dark, between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. If you must ride at night, taking measures to improve your safety and visibility is crucial.
Familiarize yourself with how to safely ride a motorcycle at night to prevent an accident. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer with Cofman Townsley to help you with your case.
Riding a motorcycle at night is significantly more dangerous than riding during the day. As a result, it is best to avoid riding at night whenever possible; however, this is not feasible for some riders, particularly those who use their motorcycle as their primary mode of transportation.
For those who must ride at night, keep an eye out for the following night-riding dangers:
- Drunk Drivers
One of the most dangerous aspects of riding at night is the increased risk of encountering an impaired driver. According to Forbes, nearly one-third of fatal nighttime crashes involved a drunk driver in 2017. A 2019 report from the NHTSA shows that 65% of fatal crashes that happened between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. involved a driver with a BAC between .01% and .08%.
- Hidden Obstacles
While obstacles on the road are always a relevant hazard for motorcyclists, hidden roadway obstacles are significantly more dangerous at night due to the lack of visibility. If an obstacle, such as a pothole or road debris, goes unnoticed, you may collide with it. You might also swerve to avoid it, leading to an accident with a nearby vehicle.
Another risk night riders face is animals crossing the roadway. In Missouri, nocturnal animals like deer, possums, and raccoons cross the road after dark. If you collide with a deer, you may be thrown off your bike and suffer injuries. A crossing animal may also cause you to swerve, putting yourself in another car’s lane.
- Limited Visibility
The limited visibility at night puts riders at risk of collisions with other vehicles. Since motorcycles are small, they are more challenging to spot at night than cars. Additionally, most motorcyclists wear dark-colored clothing like black leather, making them difficult for motorists to spot in poor lighting. It is also more difficult to see the road and road signs at night, compounding your risk.
With night riders facing so many risks, it is vital to use the following pieces of protective equipment to keep yourself safe after dark:
- Full-Face, DOT-Certified Helmet
Missouri requires helmets for riders under 25, allowing riders 26 and older with proof of medical insurance to ride helmet-free. Despite this new law, enacted in 2020, wearing a DOT-approved helmet can help protect your head and face in an accident.
Choose a helmet that meets the safety standards set by the Department of Transportation. To determine if a helmet is DOT-certified, look for a DOT sticker on the bottom rear of the device.
- Protective Jacket
Motorcycle jackets protect your body from falls. They are typically made of leather or a Kevlar blend to provide abrasion resistance. Look for a jacket that provides padding to vulnerable points, such as your elbows, shoulders, and back.
- Protective Pants
Protective pants protect the rider’s lower body during falls or accidents. The best motorcycle pants are abrasion-resistant with padded inserts to protect your knees and hips.
- Riding Gloves
Motorcycle gloves protect riders in a few ways. Since they are usually designed with abrasion-resistant leather, they protect the hands in the case of a fall or collision. They also protect your hands from fatigue, numbness, and blisters during long rides. They even increase your handlebar grip, allowing for more control over the vehicle.
- Protective Footwear
Another important yet often overlooked component of motorcycle safety gear is protective footwear. Many types of protective footwear are available to motorcyclists, but the most useful are motorcycle riding boots. These thick leather boots protect your feet and lower legs during an accident. They also protect you from exhaust pipe burns.
- Visibility Gear
While protective gear can help protect you each time you ride, it is often dark-colored, making it difficult for motorists to see you at night. To counter this, wear high-visibility or reflective pieces when riding at night. Opt for items like a neon vest over your jacket or reflective tape on you or your bike.
No matter how well you prepare, motorcycle accidents happen, especially at night. If you are involved in a motorcycle collision, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer at Cofman Townsley. We have over 50 years of experience fighting for our clients and can help you seek compensation for injuries you suffer due to a negligent driver.