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Discussion Starter #1
Riding to work today l saw a bike coming the other way. It was pretty obvious the way he took off from the light that he (or she) was a fairly new rider. What concerned me was that it was an all black Ninja 250, and the rider was wearing all black, including the helmet. The only thing on it that wasn't black was some of the frame and maybe the wheels. With all of the motorcycle safety awareness out there these days, is it possible that people still don't know how much safer you are when you wear bright and/or reflective clothing?

What do you do to make sure the cagers know you are coming?
 

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I am just getting back into biking after 25 years away and have been looking for a motorcycle jacket - want something BRIGHT - but 90% of what is on the racks is black! Going to have to go the mail-order route.

At least my bike is red and chrome, not all black!
 

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I just bought a helmet. Unfortunately, the only thing they had that both fit and fit what I wanted was black (at what I was willing to pay.)
I picked up a silver halo strip to mount on it that gives off great reflection in low light.
 

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First, I worry about me.
Second, any gear is better than no gear.

Often riders won't wear the gear because they don't like the way it looks--so I'm a big believer in "if they wear something it's better than nothing". Modulators and Hi-viz aside Riders are at risk because we see what we look for. Remember, your peripheral vision is black and white and keys on motion. Likewise your foveal vision (where you really get information) is tiny. Hold your arm up, elbow locked, spread make a peace sign and look at your fingernails. You can't. To really gather information you have to put your foveal vision on one or the other. Yes, you can look between them and see them but you're not capable of gathering hard information.

We see what we look for is the reason for the "Look for Motorcyclists!" I'd offer that before you were interested in riding you might have registered a motorcycle at an intersection but you wouldn't have focused on it. Likewise now that you ride you're looking for other riders which means you see more.

Myself? I'm comfortable and I look cool. After that? It's on me isn't it?
 

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How did you even see the bike if it was all black, with a black clad rider? I bet even the tires were black, weren't they?
 

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If you really wanna be SEEN ... I recommend active lighting.

Not just your headlight ... but also driving lights and/or a headlight modulator. the active lights will catch the attention of a driver better than just clothing. a single headlight is OK ... but its not easy for an oncoming driver to judge the distance from your motorcycle to their car. thats why some Left Turn accidents happen.

I was driving into work in my Jeep today ... noticed an MC rider wearing good protection and a lot of hi-viz yellow patches. I will say that the hi-viz does get more attention ... BUT I was looking from behind the rider and they had it on the back of their coat. Still, a little extra visibility cant hurt (even from behind).

What struck me as a little strange ... is that the MC rider was still lane splitting. There is no problem with lane splitting in CA, and plenty of people do it. But somehow psychologically, I dont expect motorcycle riders who are wearing hi-viz to do that. I was wondering why - and realized that most people you see wearing hi-viz are construction workers on the side of highways. They are always very cautious around traffic. So my point is - the hi-viz gear tends to makes cages think you are a cautious rider. Therefore, it might be better to follow that riding strategy if you wear hi-viz. Fit in with the expectations of drivers.

The Ninja rider in the OP is betting everything on his/her own awareness. Are they good enough to pull this off ... only time will tell. :)

dT
 

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Gone.
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I am just getting back into biking after 25 years away and have been looking for a motorcycle jacket - want something BRIGHT - but 90% of what is on the racks is black!
Amazing how a light colored patch set really stands out on the back of a black leather jacket, no?:)
 

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I wear all black on a nearly black bike. I make sure all the lights work and ride like I'm drunk in traffic (not really), but I'll bet it will help to get noticed. It just pays to be aware of your surroundings, head on a swivel and eyes wide open. I am hard of hearing, but that only makes me use my other senses more. Obeying the laws and giving enough space makes for half the battle, the other half, you don't have much control over.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am just getting back into biking after 25 years away and have been looking for a motorcycle jacket - want something BRIGHT - but 90% of what is on the racks is black! Going to have to go the mail-order route.

At least my bike is red and chrome, not all black!
I don't know if they have CycleGear shops up in Manitoba, but if so, they have a lot of bright colored gear. It seems that everything is shifting in that direction. Right now l am wearing black leather with a bright orange vest. I have been buying one piece of gear every payday. This payday it is pants...Kevlar. Next payday l will prolly buy a new armored jacket.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the input guys. It's true, since l started riding again l am way more aware of what motorcyclists are doing...after all, l am part of that group now.

As far as the modulated lighting, what all can you do with that, and how difficult is it to install? Are the kits expensive? A couple of people mentioned modulated headlights...what are these? I have only seen them on taillights, where they blink half a dozen times before going solid.
 

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A modulator dims the headlight 4 times a second.

The kits are not too expensive at about $55. The one I bought simply plugs into the back of the headlight socket and the light sensor is zip tied somewhere near the handlebars.

You will likely have to remove the headlight unit from it's holder to get to the plug, but that's all there is to it.

The light sensor stops the modulation when it starts to get dark out. The modulator is tied to the bright beam by default, but can be changed to the low beam if desired.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A modulator dims the headlight 4 times a second.

The kits are not too expensive at about $55. The one I bought simply plugs into the back of the headlight socket and the light sensor is zip tied somewhere near the handlebars.

You will likely have to remove the headlight unit from it's holder to get to the plug, but that's all there is to it.

The light sensor stops the modulation when it starts to get dark out. The modulator is tied to the bright beam by default, but can be changed to the low beam if desired.
Gotcha...so it is meant to grab attention during the daytime. Sounds easy enough...l will look into it!

What about taillight modulators? Are they equally simple to install?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sounds like you're going to feel less breeze after payday!
True that...right now l am in the honeymoon phase with my bike, and as l learn more and more about safety, l want to get all the best goodies! I had a hard time passing on a great jacket at CycleGear today. It was on sale too. Fleece liner for Winter, air vents for Summer. But, the guy said they were on sale all month, and what l really need right ow are pants. Unfortunately, all the kevlar pants they carry just run with like a 30'-32" inseam, so l am looking to score some on Ebay.
 

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I haven't installed a taillight modulator. There looks to be some simple wiring involved with doing it.

Headlight modulators are legal in the entire US as long as they meet DOT standards. Taillight modulators are not mentioned in the DOT code, so local ordinances will come into play if you install one. While I have never heard of someone being hassled over using one, just know that it is a possibility if law enforcement are looking for an excuse to be jerky.
 
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