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xenon bulbs
strobe light
lighting system
oncoming traffic
Riding At Night Is It Safe?
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I love the motorcycle hobby, sportbikes in particular. I've been riding for quite awhile, so I have a little experience. Riding at night is even more dangerous than riding during the day. That's just common sense, isn't it?

Lots of younger riders especially like to ride at night. I have to admit, I did too. I do ride at night occasionally, but only on roads I'm familiar with. I will pull over if it starts raining at night. I'm just not as brave as I used to be. Younger inexperienced riders are invincible. They don't send 50 year olds into battle, do they?

OEM motorcycle headlights are just not very powerful. I've found that a good rule to follow is not to ride any faster than your brakes can stop you. I only ride as fast as I can see to stop even on a fast group ride during the day.

Oncoming traffic cannot judge how fast a bike is going or even what size vehicle is coming toward them at night. There are motorcycle strobe kits available for the headlight and the rear lights. You see strobe kits on Harleys and cruiser bikes, not very often on sportbikes. A strobe light will at least get oncoming traffic's attention.

The sportbike crowd loves HID kits or Xenon lights. These HID kits are similar to the headlights on the high end autos like Mercedes, Bmw, Lexus and Cadillac. Led headlight kits are even newer. The LED kits are expensive now, but the cost will come down. LED bulbs have the advantage of lasting many years. They may outlast the bike.

HID bulbs come in different temperatures or colors. Sure, the blue, purple and even green xenon bulbs are cool looking, but they just put out as many lumens or light as the 5000K or white bulb. 35watt and 55watt ballasts are available. Check your service manual to see how much load your lighting system can handle.

You will really notice the difference between OEM lights and a 55watt 5000K HID kit. This should be on your short list of mods to do to your sportbike if you ride at night regularly. Quality kits are available online for less than 100 dollars. They are available for single, dual and 4 light systems.

OK, suppose you are riding late at night on a 2 lane highway in the country and no one's around. I know, you have the urge to pin the throttle to see how fast she'll go. There's no one around, right? Don't do it. Animals are out there hunting for food.

I bet you might know someone who has hit a deer. Hit a deer at 60 mph and your bike will be totaled. You might be totaled too. In Florida we have, armadillos, opossum, turtles, wild pigs and black bears. We have stray cows, snakes, alligators and now crocodiles. If you hit a dog, your night will be ruined too. There are reports of a bike hitting a Florida panther. Panthers are very rare, though. There are racoons, too.

Ok, so the city is safe, right? Nope. You cannot see hazards on the surface of the road. There are slick spots at stop signs. Maybe there is sand around the next bend. This is a real problem in Florida. Depth perception just isn't as good at night.

Some of the younger riders like to top their sportbikes out on the longer smooth surface concrete bridges over Florida waterways. There have been many fatalities in these speed contests. The cops know what's going on. There are plenty of impounded bikes that are sold because of reckless driving. One more thing. Don't even think about drinking and riding at night. Just plain stupid.


Street Talk

In our area, numerous deer are a particular problem. Unlike a raccoon or rabbit, deer are large and heavy. You will almost always be on the losing end when you hit one. They like to come out to the side of the road in the evening to browse. Oddly, they will often leap directly in front of you when you approach. I presume that they think they have more room to escape by using the road. An older fawn jumped directly in my path two weeks ago. I braked hard and his backside bounced off my front tire. I am ever vigilant for them as you sometimes don't notice them until they move. Paying attention to the road is vital.

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  about 7 years ago
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