ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

It's Time To Be Seen

Updated on February 24, 2011
See Me at Americade
See Me at Americade | Source

To Be Seen

Motorists who have survived being struck by a train usually say, “I didn’t see it coming.”  Since this reflects pure stupidity, lack of attention, or both, I realize that there is no protection from this type of driver.  If they can’t see a train--which last I knew, runs only along clearly defined tracks—they’re not going to notice a motorcyclist. 

Last year at Americade two women had a vendor booth where they were promoting driver awareness of motorcycles.  I thought it somewhat strange that they choose to preach to the choir at the world’s largest motorcycle touring rally so I stopped to talk with them.  They were very impassioned about their mission and I wholehearted support their efforts, but when I brought up the subject of motorcyclists not being visible on the highway a blank looked crossed their faces.  I’d utterly confused them!

Often – far too often – when riding up the highway I encounter a situation where the motorcyclists ahead of me disappear against the backdrop of traffic.  Sometimes this is in the glaring light of day, but usually it is at dusk or when riding into the sunset.  Black jackets, black helmets, and one small taillight blending into the dark shadows of the cars they follow.  I’m often clued to their presence only when their bike moves into the middle of the lane exposing one of the rear taillights of the car they are following.  Now I know there’s at least one motorcycle ahead of me.

Another situation is when a parade of bikes is stopped at an intersection.  The group as a whole is obvious, but where the last pair of riders is positioned may not be so clear.  There are dozens of red lights up ahead and this reduces spatial recognition even for other approaching motorcyclists, to say nothing of an inattentive driver with sunlight glaring on the windshield who is trying to manage a cup of coffee while text messaging.

You can’t control the driver who is managing their office while driving and you can’t force the driver who’s blocking your way to move faster.  What you can do is make yourself more visible to others on the road.

The women at the booth had never considered that motorcyclists have a responsibility to make themselves more visible!  Their focus was on driver awareness and it was to this that they blindly focused their finances and efforts. 

I explained why rider safety instructors wear those ugly reflective vests.  I certainly notice a difference in the actions of drivers when I’m wearing my Hi-Viz yellow Darien jacket and when I’m wearing black leather.  Without going into the scientific details of visual perception, people notice a flashing red light much quicker than a constant one.  So put a modulator on your brake light to cause it to pulse (as if you were braking) while you’re sitting at a traffic light or intersection.  Highly reflective tape (one type is black until headlights strike it) doesn’t have to cramp your style on either your bike, jacket, or helmet.  LED lights or driving lights create a recognizable definition for oncoming motorcycles.  My experiments with these show a dramatic difference in driver response, especially regarding their pulling onto the highway in front of me.  LED side markers for turn signals, a second brake light mounted on the top case, and even reflective tape on the heels of boots all make a difference in visual identification and spatial definition.

The two women immediately understood and embraced the idea.  Increasing driver awareness is critically important, but it’s a two-sided coin.  First we have to take the responsibility for protecting ourselves.  It’s time to be seen, as well as heard.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)