Night riding?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 390beretta, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    I work part-time at a gun store. Here in AZ it's damn near dark this time of year a 6pm, definitely dark at 7pm. I don't like riding at night, I admit; because I think all the bad/inattentive stuff cagers do during the day are magnified at night; not to mention that they may be even more "impaired" for whatever reason.

    I'd like to know (from those of you who do it a lot) what your suggestions might be re: how to survive this situation? I have many years of riding under my belt; but as I write this, I realize that very few of them were riding at night.

    Thanks for your input:
    #1
  2. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    I just hammer down and hope for the best. Traffic isn't much different. If anything better because your lights are more visible.

    Deer, on the other hand...

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
    #2
  3. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Same as the Daylight except you need to be hyper-vigilant for animals. (2 and 4 legged ones)

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Contevita

    Contevita Cigar Adventurer

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    Nocturnal animals will give ya a fright when they're just standing there on the side of the road; with my luck I'll be cruising the roads through the bayou and a friggen alligator will attempt to cross the road and I hit it. I leave the office at midnight and sometimes I just go for a ride instead of heading home. I'll end up in New Orleans or Mobile by the secondary roads and it's drunks and critters I look out for. I find that the roads are kind of empty the later it gets and I like that; you can really see the texters and phone users by the glow of the phone, easier to avoid them at night.

    I noticed that I speed more during the daylight hours and I tend to keep the speed down to the actual speed limit at night. The cops have nothing better to do and you're a prime target for speed checks, at least where I live. I already got pulled over once this year and was let go with a warning. You'll get hyper-aware when riding at night, you'll get used it but don't let your guard down.

    You really want to pucker up? Ride at night during a rain storm with a cross wind.
    #4
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Similar guidelines to daytime...see and be seen. Do NOT outride your sightlines.

    Light up the bike with amber and red LEDs, front, back and sides. Red to the rear, and amber to the front. Go to www.superbrightleds.com and get their reflector tail/brake "bulb" that flashes 3x before going solid. I also put DOT red/white reflective tape on my topcase. Make sure you have a good headlight. HIDs are popular.

    Wear hi-viz green with reflective patches on arms, legs, back, chest, and shoulders. Wear a white helmet with reflective tape on front, back, top, and sides. If you get tossed off the bike and are laying in the road, you don't want to get hit. Keep your faceshield clean.

    Watch out for drunks. Watch out for vehicles with no frikken lights on. Use some LED fog lights to illuminate the road shoulders, show critters, and make your bike more visible.
    #5
  6. jitterymonkey

    jitterymonkey Been here awhile

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    Live in Ohio, work 4:00pm-12:30am & deer are the only thing that truly terrifies me about riding in the dark.

    They don't give a shit about bright lights,loud pipes or Hi-Viz suits.

    There's one with a tattoo of my name on its hyde.
    Not a matter of if... but when.
    #6
  7. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    I read a good tip in a bike mag not long after I started riding, "Once it gets dark, assume every car driver on the road is drunk, or falling asleep at the wheel."

    When you're trail riding, riding at night adds a real challenge; seeing where the 'path' goes becomes even harder and shadows show potholes that may be an inch deep, or big enough to lose your bike in.
    #7
  8. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    I worked several year where it was dark when I went to work and dark when I left. Lighting up the bike helps.

    I had wheel decals and leds and some reflecting decals around the bike. The leds really light up the reflective decals. Had lots of comments on it.

    Be vigilent but don't be scared. Sometimes driving down a quite backroad at 4am is peaceful, as for animals, pay attention and hope they have no interest in taking you out as you ride by.
    #8
  9. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

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    I do this in the daytime!!
    #9
  10. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    I love riding at night but like most folks was leery of the critters, idiots, drunks, etc. that are more of a problem at night of course because you just can't see all that well or far. My BMW 1150GS has pretty good stock lights but they were still not up to the task even with HID bulbs. I did a lot of research and finally landed on the low-mounted, tune-able LED Clearwater Lights "Glenda" cruising lights:

    [​IMG]

    These things are AWESOME! They light up the road very well, extend my vision dramatically, REALLY light up any reflective stuff out there (signs, arrows, reflective paint, etc.) much better than the standard lights, and have proven to be bombproof and waterproof even when fully submerged riding through water crossings. I looked at high-mounted lights but decided against those because you either have to aim them away or to turn them off when other traffic approaches or you'll blind them. These lights are wired into my stock lights and go dim on low beam and high on high beam. The output of the LEDs can be tuned to whatever percentage of maximum you want when they're on low-beam and they automatically go to 100% output when you switch to high beam - fantastic when riding in traffic. Of course these would be subject to getting hit by rocks etc. if you're riding off-road with them, but I don't do much single-track or truly rough stuff with the Big Pig (I've got a WR250R for that :raabia). I mounted the low-beam output dimmer under my left hand guard where I can get to it easily and it's out of the weather (little black knob with a blue line):

    [​IMG]

    I've noticed that on-coming traffic can see me better during daylight as well - it's been a dramatic improvement in that regard. Here's the website if you're interested:

    http://www.clearwaterlights.com/

    I also wear gear with reflective elements (but not hi-viz) and have 3M reflective material at crucial places like the backs of the hard cases. 3M makes a material that is colored in daylight (black, red, yellow, etc. to match what you stick it on) but is highly reflective at night and even shows up at certain sun angles during the day. I don't have a photo of it on my GS luggage, but here it is on an RT I used to own:

    [​IMG]

    It's black during the day and super reflective at night and can cover a very large area. I bought some red and black in 4" by 60" rolls, I think from Galls.com but it also comes in larger sheets and many colors. Here's a link to one site:

    http://www.cutterpros.com/3M-Vinyl-Roll-Scotch-Lite-ScotchLite-5100-R-5100R-Reflective-15-01.htm

    Good luck with your efforts to light up the night! Once you get comfortable with your lights and other visibility needs it really is a whole new world of riding enjoyment.

    Doug
    #10
  11. James Adams

    James Adams non impediti ratione cogitationis

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    :stupid

    For me, I'm not too worried about deer here, but there are plenty of other critters that I still don't want to hit. This time of year, it's mainly skunks (and pedestrians :eek1).

    But other than that, it's pretty much the same as riding in the daylight. :dunno Make sure you can see and that you can be seen as best you can. :deal
    #11
  12. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

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    Put some pieces of red SOLAS tape on your helmet, one 2" diamond on the rear, perhaps 1" diamonds on the right and left rear/side. It's the highest point on the bike when you are on it. Also add some SOLAS tape or reflective stickers to your bike, or panniers. Mammals are hardwired to pay attention to things that are wide (indicates danger), so any reflective pattern you can establish that sets up a triangle helps trigger a cager's attention, even if it is unconsciously. Ever pull behind the rider in the black leather jacket at night, with only the rear taillight glowing? Not so attention gettting. . .. :huh

    Reflective panels on your gear helps, too. If you have a top case, pull off the rear lens, discard that useless piece of white backer, and replace with white SOLAS -- reinstall the red lens -- it will positively glow when illuminated.

    For the bike, I added HID lighting, as well as auxillary lighting -- Clearwater Kristas. The Kristas turn night into day, but volume control makes it easy not to bother oncoming drivers when full volume isn't needed. They also establish that triangle pattern I mentioned above, giving me (I hope) a slightly better chance of catching the attention of potential oncoming left turners.

    Ride safe. :thumb
    #12
  13. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    I agree with the above. Light up your bike, add some lights to the front so you have better visibility, keep your speed to where you feel comfortable, and just be vigilant. It really isn't very different than riding in the day.
    #13
  14. little foot

    little foot Scratch and Sniff

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    just man up and if you are skeerd do something else.
    #14
  15. DiamondDan

    DiamondDan Adventurer

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    Doug,
    How well does the kit for the sidecases reflect? I stuck some cheap strips from Ace Hardware on my cases (R12R), and they reflect light 180* perfectly. Anything that is not aligned with the sight angle doesn't reflect very well. Unfortunately, headlights are several degrees lower than eyes, so the strips are both ugly and ineffective in showing the back of the bike in traffic.
    -dan
    #15
  16. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    my biggest fear at night is moose, deer will stare at ya and their eyeballs glow, moose on the other hand are much bigger and darker and have zero fear of standing in the middle of the road with their backside to ya
    #16
  17. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    The reflective material shown on my RT cases in the above photo is Scotchlite 5100R if I remember correctly and it is VERY reflective. In most daylight situations it's invisible, but at night it is really bright. I was on my GS following my son on the RT at night once and was actually surprised at how much light that stuff returns from a normal following position. I also had some strips on the sides of the cases for any traffic coming at me from a higher angle than the normal position of behind me in the lane. I wanted to be seen, but not in an over-the-top manner like some of those tractor-trailer rigs that have 1000 lights covering every square inch of the rig, you know? The 3M SOLAS (safety of life at sea) stuff is phenomenally reflective but it doesn't blend with the bike's colors during daylight.

    Doug
    #18
  19. easyrider88

    easyrider88 POsIng PrO

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    i can understand youre fear of night riding.ive hit a couple deer at nite so im a bit skeerd of the little critters myself.mostly i still love riding at nite.i KEEP my speed below 40 and travel in the right lane close to th white line.and i use my 4 way flashers alot for cars when they come up from behind.im never in a hurry at nite.havent hit any lately but ive seen LOTS.good luck!!
    #19
  20. WindSailor

    WindSailor Been here awhile

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    At night I slow down and don't out run my lights. For critters it seems the most active times are just before and after dawn or dusk.

    My last encounter with a deer (doe) I didn't see her until she had moved, she was already on the fog line on the other side of a two lane highway. She turned sideways and started crossing the road slowly with her nose about 2 feet above the highway moving sideways back and forth with her ears pinned back. She apparently smelled a predator and was following a scent trail -or her fawn. I knew she could see me with my high beams on and I started hitting the brakes pretty hard. She kept coming with her nose still only two feet above the road. I ended up on the other side of my fog line and had the front brakes on so hard I almost lifted the rear tire. When I finally stopped she was about 3 feet from me - I could have reached out and slapped her. THEN she bolted back across the road. Deer are always unpredictable at best. A week later some other rider tagged her a mile away from where I encountered her. Deer sometimes just don't stop - or they bolt when you get close to them. Mixed bag those are...

    Rain slows me down even further, plus you can't tell how deep those potholes are when they're filled with water. Those will get your attention in a hurry.

    If I have two hours or so riding into the sunrise or sunset - I'll wait for either the sun to come up or go down and then hop on the bike and ride. Having that much glare into "everyone's" eyes makes riding simply dangerous in my opinion.

    Adding a pair of high power LEDs tied into my high beam really helps at night.
    #20