Riding at night on an empty road is one of life’s little known pleasures, but without proper precautions, even an experienced motorcyclist can come unstuck. It is important if you intend on riding your motorcycle in the dark to be aware of the potential dangers and the increased risk. In this post we will outline some of the things you should take into consideration when planning a ride after dark.

Reduced Visibility

Visibility is obviously reduced after the sun sets, as such it will become more difficult for you to spot road hazards such as nocturnal animals, pot holes and slippery metal grates. For the safest night-ride, stick to roads that you know well and have ridden on during daylight hours, and when possible, use roads that are well lit by street lamps.

It is important to remember that just as it’s harder for you to spot hazards, you will also be harder to spot; always factor the limited visibility into all aspects of your riding from your road positioning to the clothes you wear. Invest in hi-visibility clothing and when you encounter other traffic, consider that they might not see you if your headlight is in their blind spot, so think carefully about whether or not it’s worth filtering or overtaking.

 

Riding Style

It should be obvious that night time isn’t the best time to be getting your knee down; you should always ride in a more conservative style. Bear in mind that many animals are nocturnal, including cats, so in residential areas ride with extra caution so that if someone’s cherished pet scurries in front of you, you have time to react. It’s also sensible to allow a greater distance between you and other vehicles on the road; you can be the best rider in the world but you still have to take other road users into consideration.


Clothing and Bike Accessories

Plan your journey before you set off, so you can work out how long you’ll be out riding. As the sun sets, the temperature drops regardless of the season so you should consider throwing on a few more layers under your motorcycle jacket to keep yourself comfortable. Your hands and feet are the most sensitive parts of your body to the cold so it’s important that you take them into consideration. Heated handlebar grips will keep your fingers from going numb, ensuring that you always have complete control of your bike.

As mentioned previously, making sure you are visible is essential, and that includes making sure your bike is as visible as possible. Check your lights before setting off to make that they are functioning and clean before you ride. It is sensible to carry at least one spare bulb with you, just in case; you don’t want to be riding home in the pitch darkness.

For extra safety, add fluorescent rim tape to the wheels of your bike, these will help other people to see you and make them more likely to give you the appropriate amount of space needed for manoeuvring and braking.

 

Tiredness

It is important to know when to give that night ride a miss. You need to be more cautious riding at night than during the daytime and if you are tired, your reactions will be slowed. If you feel even a hint of tiredness when out on a ride, you should consider heading home carefully along a well lit road.


Extra Qualifications

If you are not particularly experienced or confident riding at night, you may want to consider going for extra qualifications. There are advanced training courses that will teach you how to identify the dangers when riding at night, which will improve your confidence and ability, making you an overall safer rider.

Don’t let the above points deter you from taking a ride on the dark side; motorcycling after dark on an empty road is a liberating and exciting experience, but one that should be enjoyed safely and responsibly.