When it comes to sharing the road safely, size matters. As a motorcyclist, you are already at a disadvantage when it comes to crash survivability and claiming your slice of pavement in heavy traffic. What many people do not realize, though, is that the primary disadvantage is not one of weight, but one of visibility.
Motorcyclists are often rear-ended on highways and at intersections, and while size does play a role in visibility, it is often brake lights that are to blame. One of the greatest safety shortcomings of any motorcycle design is the small brake light, often placed low on the frame or obstructed by the seat. If other drivers can see it at all, its small steady light offers very little information on the distance between the two vehicles and the movement trend of the motorcycle. This is particularly dangerous on highways when slowing or stopping is not expected, as cars may not be able to tell the rate at which a motorcycle is decelerating.
Most motorcycle safety groups advocate tapping the brakes before beginning a deceleration in order to get the attention of the drivers behind you that something is happening. Unfortunately, this is not always possible at higher rates of speed, or for quick stops. It can also add to an already high workload for motorcyclists.
A good solution is to have a brake light modulator installed on your bike. For a fairly low cost (usually under $100), you can increase the safety of your bike without affecting its aesthetics. When you have a modulator installed, hitting your brakes will cause the light to flash red before it goes to a steady red. Most units are set up to flash at a rapid rate and slow to steady over the course of about two seconds. This flash rate decay is a clear signal to cars that your speed is decaying, too.
Do you have friends that are motorcycle enthusiasts? Share this article with them on Facebook to spread the word about brake light modulators and the important safety role they play for Florida bikers!