Motorcycle Safety Equipment

We talked about general safety and what to wear as it relates to safety.  What about your bike?  Motorcyle safety equipmet includes, in my opinion tires, lights & horn.  Your bike came with the basics, if you just maintain those, it’s pretty safe.  But we could do better with a few simple modifications.

Let’s talk about tires.  You only get two and the contact patch, (rubber touching pavement) is very small and very important.  With an area only about the size of a deck of cards under each wheel touching the ground, we should give it some respect.  This is really where you, accelerate, brake and turn.  The tire looks fairly large, but where the rubber meets the road is tiny.

Tires are expensive.  When I calculate my, “total cost of ownership,” gas, oil, insurance, brake linings etc., tires are per mile the largest expense after fuel.  I’m running Michellin Commander II‘s and averaging 20K miles of life.  Our usual summer covers 15K miles of two-wheeled adventure which just about eats one set of tires a summer.  Expensive when you buy a set, but only $16 / 1000 miles of travel…..

I replace tires long before they look totally worn out.  Usually just before the first long trip of the summer, we get new shoes!  I have friends who wear some down to bare spots with cords showing.  The risk of either blowing one out at highway speed, or needing traction for a quick stop is not worth skimping.  Keep rubber and traction in reserve, and properly inflated….every ride.

Front Lighting

From a distance, I think lighting is your most important safety equipment.

Watch as you approach motorcycles on the highway.  You’ll notice a wide variation of lights.  Some are attention getters, and others are hardly noticable.  Which are yours?

LEDs have reset the landscape when it comes to lighting.  We now have super-bright lights that last years and draw almost no power.

I have added PIAA 1100 led driving lights mounted on the highway bars.  This gives not only the extra intensity, but also the, “Triangular” pattern.  Railroads have shown this to be most effective in helping people judge your speed & movement.

 

Rear Lighting

I don’t like the thought of being rear-ended.  Yes, I watch cars approaching as I’m stopped at a light, but do they see me?

I keep the bike in gear, pointed into an escape path, but those are secondary.  First I want to be seen.

For a regular brake light, I switched the bulb to a flashing LED.  Kisan tailblazer was a simple plug-n-play option.  It flashes four times before staying on steady and it’s brighter than stock.

I came across the Hyperlites website and bought more flashing brake lights.

These are always on as running lights and flash when you apply the brakes.  They are unbelievably intense.

I’m not sure why, but they do cause cars to back-off.

Air Horn

If you want to see motorcycle safety equipment in action, get an air horn.

This is the best $100 I have spent on safety equipment.  For use in the  close up, hand to hand combat of, “Lane Changers.”  Wow, I have prevented more collisions with the simple push of a button.

Any air-horn will work, but I like the, “Screaming Banshee.”

It can be connected to flash your headlights while blaring it’s sweet sound, but I don’t care about the lights.

I use this thing when a cager is already in my space, I want loud, really loud.  Other times I still like the little, “friendly” meep, meep of the stock horn.  The Banshee gives you both.

More-More-More

We can keep going with safety & lights. For instance, there is the modulating headlight, and yes, I have that too.

Few safety modifications you make will be as controversial as this one.  Yes, they are extra noticiable and yes people don’t like them.

You’ll get the folks who pull up and tell you, “Hey, your headlight has a short.” And there are the ones who think you’re a cop and pull over….

Even lots of other riders will say, “I hate those damn things.”

I will admit, I rarely turn mine on except in heavy city traffic.  You have to decide, but they do work.