One of the most important safety tips that you can get for riding a motorcycle is to always make sure that you're visible. Whether it's changing lanes, giving a little honk, or wearing reflective clothing, making sure that other drivers can see you is one of the best ways to stay safe on a motorcycle.
So what do you do when it comes to high beams? A lot of riders out there ride under the philosophy that "it's better to be seen and hated, then to not be seen at all." These riders will leave their high beams on during the day, because they believe that it will make them more visible to cars. And they aren't wrong, but they aren't right either.
If you've ever had a car approach you with their high beams on, at night or in the day, you know that the effect can be blinding. You're aware that something is there, and logically can assume that it's a vehicle, but you can't see it. You can't see its turn signals. You can't see how far away it is. You can't see how fast it's approaching. You just see a blinding blur of light.
Of course, you do see that blur of light, so if you ride with your high beams on all the time you will accomplish your main objective, which is to be seen. But that doesn't mean that you are getting noticed and it doesn't mean that you're making yourself, and others on the road, more safe.
In my opinion, high beams provide a false sense of safety. They put the responsibility of being seen on the shoulders of other drivers, and not on the motorcyclist. So instead of using your high beams to draw attention to yourself, use reflective clothing, change lanes, or give a little honk. You can even flash your high beams if you want to make sure that someone is going to see you. A flashing light draws a lot more attention as opposed to one bright light.
Still, high beams do have their benefits. Most motorcycle manuals encourage the use of high beams when it is "legal and safe to do so," but in all 50 states, high beams are illegal when you are behind, or approaching traffic. So why do people still use their high beams during the day while in traffic?
They simply want to be seen. There have been countless campaigns to make cars more aware of motorcycles, but honestly, it doesn't seem to do all that much good. Motorcyclists have to take it upon themselves to make sure that they stay visible. And unfortunately, leaving your high beams on just isn't the answer.
If you want a few tips on how to stay visible while riding your motorcycle, check out these motorcycle safety tips.
What do you think? Do you ride with your high beams on during the day?