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Being Seen while Riding Your Motorcycle is Staying Safe!

Start seeing motorcycles

It is important for the drivers of motor vehicles other than motorcycles (cars, trucks, vans, and buses) to “Watch for Motorcycles”!

There are also things that motorcycle riders can do to increase the safety of riding a motorcycle.  The Minnesota Motorcycle Injury Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team offers this advice:

Riding a motorcycle is a great way of enjoying the road. In Minnesota, it is not only a fun way to travel but also a way to take in all of the picturesque scenery that that state has to offer. Whether you ride solo or with a group of friends, there is something inherently pleasing about travel via motorbike. However, motorcyclists should also be aware of the particular dangers that come with this form of transportation; many motorcyclists struggle with being seen by motorists on Florida roads and highways, and without the added protection of a fullsize vehicle, are at a substantially higher risk of injury in the event of an accident.

Although drivers should make every effort to be completely aware of their surroundings, there is a verified explanation as to why many motorists have trouble spotting motorcycles on the road. Human vision is not suited to detecting small objects moving at high speeds, and when a motorcycle is quickly approaching, it takes up only a small portion of the drivers vision relative to an automobile. They may not register recognition of the bike until the last second when it is too late. Lets take a look at some ways that motorcyclists can ensure safety on the road by alerting drivers to their presence.

See and Be Seen

One of the most important things for a motorcyclist to keep in mind is to never assume that anyone can see them. Many riders have a false sense of security, and may not realize that drivers are oblivious to their presence on the road. Anyone riding a motorcycle should be fully aware of their surroundings at all times. Never depend upon others to see you first, and remember that drivers may have extra difficulty spotting you in different road conditions (such as in harsh sunlight or heavy rains).

Ride in the Correct Area of the Road

While there is plenty of room for a motorcyclist to navigate the road, they should get in the habit of viewing the road as three separate sections: the section closest to the centerline, the middle section, and the far shoulder of the roadway. Anyone on a motorcycle should stay on the left side closest to the dotted line, as this is the most visible spot for both oncoming and parallel traffic. It also allows the rider to better see into side streets and around turns, as well as making drivers more aware of the motorcyclists presence.

Wear Flashy Colors

Donning a bright shirt or jacket is one of the best ways for a motorcyclist to remain as visible as possible on the road. Wear something that will stand out in order to alert drivers to your presence, and consider reflective clothing or accessories for driving in low-visibility conditions. You can even make a point to always wear a bright yellow shirt or jacket while riding; an interesting scientific fact, yellow is the first color registered by the human brain.

Apply Reflective Tape to You and Your Bike

Something as basic as reflective tape can increase your visibility to drivers when you are riding a motorcycle. Apply it to your helmet, motorcycle, or anywhere that it will be noticeable to others on the road. It is best to put pieces of tape on the front of your forks, as well as any piece of your motorcycle that sticks out a good distance from a light source. Apply it around the rims of the wheel as well. The reflective tape will help by making the motorcycle look much bigger at night, increasing visibility and reducing the chance another driver will fail to spot you on the road.

Add Additional Running Lights

The installation of running lights is an excellent way to make your motorcycle more visible to drivers. It can also help oncoming traffic to estimate the speed at which you are traveling, reducing the risk of accidents.

Tap your Brakes

In order to keep a cushion of safety around you, tap your brakes if you are being followed too closely. There is a chance that the driver is not aware of your presence in front of them, or may simply be neglecting to maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Activating the brake lights can get their attention quickly by having the effect of a giant blinker, and responsible drivers should quickly back off.

Ride with Your High Beams

Although motorcycles have headlights running at all times, you can also use your high beams to increase visibility when riding your motorcycle. This adds an extra layer of protection when riding at night, and can also help circumvent the reduced visibility of road glare in bright sunlight. For nighttime riding, however, make sure that you are not accidentally blinding oncoming traffic.

Stay Aware of Blind Spots

It is easy for motorcyclists to forget that vehicles have blind spots: the area behind a car that the driver cant see, roughly located around the latter half of the vehicle on either side. It is vital that you can see the drivers of all the vehicles around you. Keep yourself in their line of sight by ensuring that you can see them through direct eye contact or in their mirrors, and avoid following vehicles ahead too closely. Drivers should not have to turn their heads to see someone riding a motorcycle. While it is sometimes impossible to completely avoid blind spots, the best thing to do is to make all passes as quickly and safely as possible, and quickly return to and maintain a position that can be seen by everyone on the roadway.

Make use of your Horn

You should blow your horn if a motorist doesnt appear to see you, or is not acknowledging your presence. If you have taken all other safety precautions, a blow to the horn can get a drivers attention, alerting them to the fact that they are sharing the road with a motorcyclist. Often, drivers become distracted, and a light tap on the horn can quickly get their attention when needed.

Ride a Brightly Colored Motorcycle

Black motorcycles tend to blend in with their surroundings, even in the daylight hours. Increase your visibility on the road by choosing a motorcycle that is yellow, white, or red, or considers adding accessories that will help promote your motorcycles visibility. Motorcycles have the disadvantage of being much smaller than cars, and can accelerate and decelerate much faster; this makes them even more difficult to see, and a brightly colored motorcycle increases the chances that drivers will be aware of your presence on the road.

Assume you are Invisible

By assuming that drivers cannot see you, you can allow yourself to be even more proactive in keeping yourself safe on the road. Always go out of the way to get the attention of a driver, even if it is by waving or using hand gestures.

It can be extremely dangerous when motorcyclists go unnoticed on the road. Taking appropriate safety steps can be helpful in increasing visibility to drivers on the road well before it is too late. Unfortunately, even with these basic safety tips, motorcyclists are still at a substantially higher risk of injury in the event of an accident. If youve been injured because a driver failed to see you on a motorcycle, contact Schmidt Salita Law Team. 

Minneapolis MN personal injury lawyers

The Schmidt Salita Law Team Handles a Wide Variety of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims.

The Schmidt Salita Law Team handles cases involving car accidentstrucking accidentsmotorcycle accidentspedestrian car accidents, and bicycle accidents.  It has many years’ experience in workers compensation products liability and medical malpractice cases.

The Schmidt Salita Law Team has extensive experience with concussion injuriestraumatic brain injuries, neck and back injurieswhiplash injuriesbroken bones, injured joint injuries (knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, ankle, spinal), amputation injuries, and vision and eye injuries.

The Schmidt Salita Law Team has offices through out the State of Minnesota.  Its primary location is at Ridgedale Office Center in Minnetonka, near the intersection of I394 and I494.  The offices are handicap accessible with ample parking.

The Schmidt Salita Team Offers Contingent Fee Arrangements.

The firm offers contingent fee agreements (You don’t pay lawyers fees until you collect and then only as a percentage of the settlement).  It also offers home and hospital visits to clients whose injuries present difficulty in coming to the office.


The Schmidt Salita Law Team has locations throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Minnetonka, Maple GrovePlymouthOsseoAnokaCoon RapidsBrooklyn CenterFridleyBlaineShoreviewWoodburyFalcon HeightsColumbia ParkStillwaterHastingsInver GroveCottage GroveSouth St. PaulApple ValleyEaganBurnsvilleSavageShakopeeRichfieldBloomingtonChaskaChanhassenEdina, Eden Prairie, and Hopkins.