commuter uber-visible aids - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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commuter uber-visible aids

commuter uber-visible aids

I'm looking for the best modes to make me uber-visible on my daily commute. I ride over an hour in Southern California rush hour traffic with a good amount of lane splitting. I also ride at least 1.5 hours on the way home in the dark (5:00 pm-7:00 pm) I'm putting together a list items to make me more noticeable.

Headlight Modulator
Breaklight Modulator
Amber LED fulltime running lights my handgards
after-market/louder exhaust

Any other must have items? Any hints from fellow lane splitters/commuters?
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 12:44 PM
 
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A large topcase (with brakelight) and hard saddlebags. This makes you 'bigger', increasing your 'apparent mass' to drivers, making it more likely their brain will register your bike as an object they should pay attention to.


A Vision Reflective Vest. Makes you feel like a real dork when you have it on, but certainly makes you more visible.

- Tom
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 12:47 PM
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No on the louder exhaust. Yes on all others, along with a Roadcrafter suit in high vis yellow. Also, get 3M reflective tape, make some designs on the back of your helmet, and your bike.

Jason

K6 Wee, '97 Miata (track toy), '03 TDI Jetta (economy champ when 2-up or greater).
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 02:02 PM
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A yellow helmet, I ride with a guy that has a yellow Shoei and it's the first thing you always notice on rides no matter where he is in the pack.

Ian

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"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" - St. Augustine
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 02:11 PM
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Yup, bigger, brighter but not louder.

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post #6 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 02:13 PM
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Being a fellow lane splitter I think a headlight/taillight modulator will help. Reflective tape on a top box will also help with followers.Louder exhaust will help while splitting, "loud pipes save lives". Many times with the stock exhaust drivers will only see me after I have passed them. That yellow vest probably works, but I can't bear to put one on. Maybe some reflective tape on the helmet as well.

The best solution is to watch those suckers. Ride like they are out to get you, and watch 'em in their cars. I've noticed that most knucklehead cagers give away their intentions with body language prior to moving. There is risk involved in splitting lanes, no doubt, but done carefully you can survive.
post #7 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 02:53 PM
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There are a lot of add-ons you use to make yourself more visible. Reflective tape is probably the most eye-catching. SOLAS tape is the best or you can get some black-to-white tape if you want to be less gaudy.

The other night I passed a cruiser and after about 100' the big round headlight blended in with all the other cars behind me on the highway. He was invisible. You should try using different, but distinctive, shapes for your reflectivity: diamonds, triangles, stripes, etc. Squares and circles blend in with everything else.

I commute too and another trick is to move around within your lane. Everyone is moving in one direction, change tracks every once in a while or when you think you've become invisible to surrounding commuters. That kind of movement triggers a cager to think you're trying to pass or get in front of them. And there's nothing like proximity to get a cager's attention. Invade their space for a moment and they'll definitely you're there.

Some people say to wear loud (yellow) colored gear. Honestly, from just observing other bikers, that's not necessarily true. A bright yellow crash suit is 1) invisible when the bike is coming right at you, and 2) turns greyish in the twilight and night. I'll give a +1 for wearing a white helmet because it's like a beacon day and night.

I know this is a long post, but you can't say enough about safety. Personally, I wear all black head-to-foot and use reflective tape for night time visibility and hyper-lites on my brake light. When I was a new rider, not saying that you are, I would rely on the gear to make me more visible. But now I realize it's my responsibilty to make sure other drivers see me, not the other way around.

Having said that, I hope I didn't jinx myself for the ride home tonight. <laugh>

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post #8 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 03:42 PM
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+1 for the reflective vest. It may look dorky, but better a dork than a statistic. And they are quite visible! A co-worker commented to me the other day on just how visible it was.. He saw me from a couple of blocks away, and from the opposite side of a railroad track! It was the bright-yellow flashing by that caught his attention, and only then did he realize there was someone on a motorcycle. There is a real reason why the military requires their personnel to wear vests while on motorcycles, and it wasn't because it makes them look cool..

[B]Blue, K5-DL650[/B]
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-27-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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1+ for the yellow helmet and suit. Also, a vote for a louder horn and reflective tape. Don't go too crazy with the tape though, just enough in the right spots!!!
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-29-2006, 01:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomX View Post
A large topcase (with brakelight) and hard saddlebags. This makes you 'bigger', increasing your 'apparent mass' to drivers, making it more likely their brain will register your bike as an object they should pay attention to.


A Vision Reflective Vest. Makes you feel like a real dork when you have it on, but certainly makes you more visible.

- Tom
I like the idea of the topcase and side bags, but I found something better than the reflective vests (which only are visible if you are already in the path of an oncoming vehicle - reflecting their headlights, get it?). I bought a BeaconWear (http://www.webbikeworld.com/r3/safet...beaconwear.htm) and it makes a big difference. People really see it and tend to give me a lot more room in traffic.

-David
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