“It won’t ever happen to me” is a phrase you’ve likely heard more than a few times from overconfident motorists. If only that were the truth! Personal skill and confidence in your driving ability is a good thing, but it’s also important to realize the possibility of an accident that isn’t your fault. Being cognizant of other motorists on the road is even more important for motorcycle riders.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most multiple vehicle motorcycle accidents are a result of the other driver. Collisions are often caused by “in-attentional blindness,” which occurs when someone fails to notice a visible yet unexpected object while engaged in something else. Because of this, there are motorcycle crashes every day simply because of obstructed visibility. However, there are many ways for motorcyclists to make themselves more visible and be seen better by other cars and trucks on the road.
Putting light reflection on your motorcycles is a surefire way to become more detectable on roadways. All states require motorcycles to be fitted with a rear reflector, but mounting them on the sides can also be beneficial for traversing through intersections. Another solution is to wear that reflective gear.
Many jackets today have reflective paneling already built into the material. For instance, Joe Rocket’s Stage 1 jacket has reflective trim (in red, black or gray) on the front and back shoulders, adding another area of visibility to the rider’s frame. This trim maintains the sleek style of the jacket, making it a great solution for riders who want to avoid the bright neon coloring of a high-visibility jacket but still want that extra safety precaution — in addition to the other added safety features, such as a Rock Tex 600 outer shell, CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor, and a pocket for an optional spine pad.
To people who aren’t concerned as much with styling or ride primarily in the evening or nighttime, a high-visibility jacket is definitely the way to go. Bright greens, yellows and oranges are more than enough to make a statement on the road and stand out to inattentive drivers.
Other measures, like staying out of larger vehicles’ blind spots, revving your engine or using your horn, are other great tactics to make yourself known on the roadways that don’t require extra materials. As a motorcyclist, being seen is one of the most important skills to practice, as it could mean the difference between a fun summer ride and a really bad day.