Why is Visibility Important?
A motorcycle with stock headlights is simply another vehicle blended in with traffic. As a rider, you don’t ever want to blend in because your safety depends on it. As human beings, we are quicker to spot things that are in motion and things that are different.
To every other driver on the road, when they’re looking in their left or right mirror and they see that light that looks like a majority of the vehicles on the road, the last thing on their mind is if that vehicle is a motorcycle.
On the other hand, if your motorcycle has very bright lights or even a different color light, that will increase your visibility and alert drivers on the road.
Ever since I’ve made the switch to installing HIDs on my motorcycle, cars have been making room for me to ride by as if it was a soul train line.
A Guide to Increasing Your Visibility on a Motorcycle
In this post, you’ll find ways to increase the chances of you being seen, while adding some style to your bike.
As with any modification to your bike, it’s always important to check with your state’s laws to see if that aftermarket part is street legal.
Increase Your Visibility With These Add-Ons
Your level of visibility depends on the add-ons you install. How far are you willing to go to be seen?
Below you’ll find a list of the types of lights you can install to increase your visibility.
Colored Halogen Lightbulbs
Upgrading from your stock lightbulb to a different colored lightbulb is a simple way to stand out on the road, while adding some style to your bike.
Although the brightness is not as strong as LEDs or HIDs, you are more likely to be noticed due to having a different colored headlight.
The Philips ColorVision bulb comes in four different colors and is available in H4 and H7.
- Color Variety: Choose between blue, green, yellow, or purple lightbulbs
- Inexpensive: Comes in a pack of 2 for $50
- Easy to Install: Simply replace the stock bulb; No wiring needed
- Add a “Touch” of Color: The color of the bulb is not a deep, strong color
- Not Durable: Halogen bulbs do not last as long as HIDs or LEDs
- Not Super Bright: Slightly brighter than OEM lightbulbs
High Intensity Discharge (HID)
If you want to get the best of both worlds — customization and super bright lights — BKMOTO is the way to go.
BKMOTO redefines style by providing riders with endless headlight variations.
- Schemish: From HIDs to halos, Audi style light strips to color schemes, BKMOTO puts the scheme in schemish
- Super Bright Lights: With an 8000K, 35w HID bulb, the brightness of the lights can reach for at least 100 yards
- Broader Light Beam: Wider beam of light than LEDs
- Repairs: If you don’t build the kit yourself, it may be harder to detect any common problems
- Wiring: The wiring can be complicated to install, tricky to hide, and it may add weight to your bike
- Expensive: Custom projector kits with halos can start off around $230
Light Emitting Diode (LED)
If you’re looking for very bright lights and a simpler installation process, BikeMaster’s LED Headlight Conversion Kit will fulfill those needs.
Although the scope of light does not compare to HIDs due to the beam pattern, an LED kit like this typically last much longer.
- Efficient: Draws half the power with twice the brightness of many halogen bulbs
- Easy Installation: With the plug and play feature, it could take at least 30 minutes to install
- Sold Individually: The cost is about $120 for a pair
- Setup: The wiring can be challenging to place neatly and securely within the housi
Turn Signal Add-Ons:
Flush Mount Turn Signals
For a while I’ve kept my stock turn signals because I like the fact that it stuck out and that it’s clearly visible when I’m changing lanes or making a turn. After a while, I wanted to go with a sleeker look, so I’ve went with flush lights.
- OEM Replacement: Plug and play installation to factory connectors
- Schemish: Choose from clear, smoke, amber, and chrome colors
- Relay Needed: Install relays if you want to moderate the speed of the blinks
- Fitment: May need to use 3M double-sided tape for stronger stickiness
Integrated Turn Signals on Mirrors
My first bike was a 2008 Suzuki GS500F. After I had went down on my bike, I decided to purchase frame sliders and mirrors with integrated turn signals.
The frame sliders were a no-brainer, but the decision to get those type of turn signals was because I didn’t want to invest in the OEM turn signals, but I still wanted the blinkers to protrude.
At the time, I wasn’t too familiar with flush lights, but my logic led me to think that when putting myself in a driver’s shoes, I don’t want to struggle to see if a small dot 10 yards behind me is trying to signal something.
That’s when I decided to make the switch to mirrors with integrated turn signals.
- Upper Visibility: Turn signals are at eye level region of most car drivers
- Schemish: Choose from chrome or black colors
- Securing Mirrors: You may find that the mirrors won’t stay in place
- Brightness: The light of the LEDs are not strong enough
Glow in the Dark Helmet
LightMode kits are like the whip cream, caramel drizzle, and cinnamon added to your already delicious milkshake. When I first considered improving my visibility, I bypassed the milkshake and bought the toppings. It’s a sweet tooth kind of thing.
After putting the kit to use, there was no denying that every driver on the road did not see a brightly lit helmet in their rearview mirror.
- Custom Design: The flexibility in the EL wires allows you to create what you can imagine
- Upper Visibility: You have the option to turn your lights on in strobe mode or in steady mode to draw attention
- AA Batteries: Operates on replacement/rechargeable batteries (S Kit is USB Chargeable)
- Not Water-Resistant: Not recommended to ride in the rain with the kit turned on (S Kit is water-resistant)
Choosing the Right Add-On
As you can see, there are several options to choose from to increase your visibility on the road.
Simplify the process in choosing the right add-on by determining:
- If you’re looking for a short-term modification or long-term modification
- If you don’t mind the upfront costs
- What regions on your bike you want to be seen the most
Feel free to drop a comment below. Tell us about which type of add-on you use to increase your visibility and don’t hesitate to share pics.
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