You don’t need a high visibility vest to become more visible on the road, says the Motorcycle Riders Association of Western Australia.
They say it’s more about road position and looking out for hazards that can obscure you.
They have produced an excellent motorcycle rider education brochure called Make Yourself Visible which you can use to make yourself more visible and safer.
You may not agree with everything they say (if not, please leave a comment below) but even debating road safety issues is better than ignoring them!
Thanks to the MRAWA, we have been allowed to reproduce the brochure here in full for the benefit of all riders.
Make Yourself Visible
As a rider we’ve all seen (or heard about) motorcyclists crashing into cars, or having near misses. Usually the car driver apologises and says, “sorry mate I didn’t see you” (SMIDSY).
Well, the truth is sometimes they just don’t see the bike. And it’s not always because they weren’t looking. We are relatively small objects on the road, and it’s not always easy for car drivers to see us. So it’s important to get into a position on the road that will give other road users the best chance of seeing us, and avoiding a crash.
This booklet highlights some of the situations that we find ourselves in on a daily basis, and focuses on the choices we make regarding our road position to help prevent a collision. You’ll be shown the recommended road positions that increase the chances of yourself being seen by other road users, and reduce the blind spots that we sometimes find ourselves in.
It’s important to understand that while you may be able to see a car at an intersection, the driver may only be able to see a small portion of you, due to obstacles such as parked cars, vegetation etc.
These illustrations are based on real motorcycle and scooter crashes, and the photos highlight some of the challenges we have to make ourselves seen by other road users. Please note there are many more blind spots on our roads.
Remember, you should be aware of your position on the road at all times and try to imagine what the driver can see from their position behind the wheel… and think – can they see me clearly?
The red motorcycle in the illustrations above and below is in the turning car’s blind spot while the yellow motorcycle can clearly be seen.
A rider can become lost behind signage. Be aware and consider a change of lane position.
A pedestrian on the roadway may make you invisible to cars pulling out of side streets.
Posts, trees and high vegetation can hide a rider at intersections.
Road position can help, consider left of your lane or right of your lane.
Where should I ride?
Which is my safest position?
This van is parked legally, however it would still block the view of the car pulling out of the side street. Be alert to this, change your position on the road to give yourself a better chance of being seen.
The red motorcycle can not be seen by the car in side street.
Roadworks, roadwork signs and vehicles on footpaths can make it difficult for a car driver at this intersection from seeing a motorcycle or scooter on the through road. A change on position on this road may help, but please be alert.
Be aware of cars turning in this situation.
Intersections are some of the most high risk situations for riders.
Roundabouts reduce riders’ invisibility due to our smaller size and large car pillars. Make sure the driver’s face is clearly looking at you.
Beware mirror blind spots.
What is the safest position for the rider?
Be aware – columns, GPS or mobile phone holders in vehicles between you and the driver’s line of sight can make you invisible to them.
Red motorcycle is in a dangerous position on the road.
Rubbish bins placed on the edge of roadways can easily hide an approaching motorcycle or scooter.