Unfortunately for us bikers, winter is fast approaching, and the nights are drawing in. Many motorcyclists tuck away the bikes at this time of year, especially as it is dark at 8 pm. Part of this comes down to a lack of confidence whilst riding in the dark.
Personally, I like riding at night, it gives a different challenge to riding during daylight. It is easy to see why people don’t enjoy it, and don’t feel comfortable.
Why don’t people ride at night?
Common reasons people dislike night riding include, reduction in visibility, not being able to see the road, glare, poor headlights and ghosts…
All of these are true, (maybe not the ghosts…), visibility is reduced, it is normally colder, and roads can often be deceiving. We got some tips from Neil from Jewell Bike Training on how to ride with more confidence at night.
Neil said “Always fear the deer.”
I could tell where this conversation was going, and it wasn’t the direction I wanted.
Always fear the deer
“No, I’m being serious, animals that come out at night behave differently. You know the saying a deer in the headlights. Also, you can’t see any already dead animals in the road.”
“Of course when riding at night, it is dark, so having bulbs that work is a top priority. It is also important to be able to see so a clear visor free from bugs is also a massive help. Consider removing your pinlock insert (if you have one) as this can cause glare and reduce the amount of light through the visor.”
“If you are riding in the dark and manage to tag onto the back of a car, use their lights as a guide. Using their lights should give you further vision ahead, and car lights are normally better and more stable than motorcycle lights.”
“Don’t be scared of using your lights either, know where the full beam button is, and use them to your advantage. Reflective cat’s eyes, road markers and signs can give a good indication of where the road is going, and any dangers coming up. These are good friends to use at night, more reflective stuff in the road normally means more danger.”
“In terms of when you are riding, be steady on the controls. Brake and accelerate gradually to avoid nosedive or lift, both of which will reduce visibility ahead where it is needed.”
Glare at night
“Glare from other vehicles can be an issue, especially when looking through a plastic visor. Aim to move over to the nearside kerb early, for oncoming vehicles, keeping the kerb in your peripheral vision. Aim for the black bit between the kerb and the bright light.”
“The biggest thing is not to tense up and worry about it but to relax and enjoy it. You won’t be able to see anything on the road like potholes or debris. Normally you will ride over it, and after that, it isn’t an issue anymore.”