For those who are smitten by the joy of motorcycling, it’s no surprise that riding tends to take hold in most aspects of our lives. Experiencing the world through the roll of both the throttle and the curve is a feeling that we strive to live for every day.
It comes as no surprise that a growing number of riders choose to mix up the monotony of the morning commute by trading four wheels for two. However, there are some important considerations to take so your commute goes off without a hitch!
The greatest priority for a two-wheeled commuter is to remain visible. Driving into the fray of rush hour brings the possibility of being distracted, sleep-deprived, or generally unaware. In a footprint of four wheels and a frame, the physical size of a motorcycle is less likely to catch the peripheral vision of a driver. To be seen is to be safe, and there are a few steps you can do to make sure of it.
Visibility starts with the bike itself, and your lights make the first impression. I recommend having the brightest headlight possible, especially if an LED bulb will fit. Auxiliary lights are a great asset and help throw light in different directional patterns that attract attention. A simple trick that requires no modification is running with high beams on in the daylight.
Another step you can take to maintain conspicuity is to make sure your riding gear is easily seen, be it a bold color like high-visibility yellow or reflective panels. Speaking of gear, choose your kit wisely — especially if you’re commuting in the spring and fall months. What may feel like a comfortable day on surface streets can become chilly at highway speeds. Jackets with adjustable vents or layers give ideal flexibility in changing conditions.
Control the space around you
There are a few steps the rider can take that will make motorcycle commuting a much more controlled experience. One of the most important actions is controlling your following distance and the space around you.
When you find yourself in the inevitable traffic jam, other vehicles may have a tendency to crowd your bike, putting you at risk. Make healthy use of triggering your brake light whenever you decelerate to remind those behind you of the changing speed. In heavily trafficked areas, using hand signals when changing lanes adds an extra degree of awareness.
Also pay mind to on-ramps and merge areas. If you see yourself coming up to one, try and stay one lane over from the merge point. The smaller footprint of a motorcycle can be easily overlooked by a vehicle trying to move into the flow of traffic. Be sure to keep your head on a swivel and do frequent head checks on your blind spot. A small but tremendously helpful addition to any bike is a set of stick-on blind spot mirrors. They stick onto your existing rear-view mirrors, and help give a fuller picture of the space around you.
All seriousness aside, there are ways to spark a little extra joy in your motorcycle commuting!
The biggest addition to my ride is having a Bluetooth communication system in my helmet. Having a fun morning music selection piped into your helmet is a great way to get the day going and make even the most mundane stretch of road a joy.
Having that link to your phone also allows you to run a navigation app with turn-by-turn directions. This is invaluable for avoiding any unexpected backups, but also gives you the opportunity to mix up the route home with something more scenic!
Hopefully these tips inspire you to opt for two wheels when you start your day, or give you some extra information that makes your commute even easier. Here’s to riding every day that you can!