RIDING AT NIGHT
If you want to ride 1,000 miles in a day, our
1 MINUTE = 1 MILE
rule says you can expect the run to take about
16 hours and 40 minutes. Safety and scenery considerations suggest you'll want to make as much of the run in daylight
as you can, but most of us can pretty well count on some night riding being required. Here is why:
The longest day of sunlight for places in the Northern Hemisphere is the summer solstice, which occurs in late June
and marks the start of summer. On that day, Anchorage gets 17 hours 22 minutes of daylight, New York 15 hours 6 minutes,
and Miami 13 hours 44 minutes. So even then, unless you are touring Alaska or Canada, "sun to sun" won't get a thousand
LDR is a challenge, and night riding is often the most dangerous part. Accidents are more likely after dark, and
statistics show that 60% of all motorcycle fatalities occur at night. Road hazards are less visible to you ...
you are less visible to other motorists ... and the likelihood that you'll have to dodge a drunk driver increases
substantially. Plus, starting your run from home in the daylight means you'll be finishing at night in the dark ...
on unfamiliar roads ... with your alertness levels lowered by the fatigue of the day's ride.
For a long distance rider, there's no getting around night riding. There are some things we can do, however, to reduce
Leave Early. Consider starting your runs around 4:00am. That will allow you to get a couple of hours of risky
riding out of the way early, when you are (hopefully) refreshed and alert, and while you are (probably) on familiar
Dress Bright. Black is the most popular color among motorcyclists, and the worst possible choice for night
riding. Instead, wear light colors and reflective materials, so other motorists can see you. If the sun ain't
shining, brother, you should!
Clean Shields. Dirt, grime or scratches on windshields and face shields can cause dangerous glare and distortions
at night. Keep your windshield clean, and your face shield scratch-free.
Make Space. You and all other motorists have less visibility and reduced reaction times at night. Compensate by
keeping as much space as you can around, in front of and behind you.
Follow Lights. At night it can be very difficult to spot road gators (truck tire shreds) and other hazards,
especially on dark pavement. Use the lights of other vehicles to get a better view of the road. And watch for
bouncing taillights on the vehicle in front of you, as this can indicate bumps in the road or rough pavement
Stay Alert. If you are tired, pull over and rest. Otherwise avoid distractions and stay alert, especially at
intersections, where about 70% of all motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur. Think of yourself as being invisible,
and watch for vehicles that may swerve into your lane or turn in front of you.
Until Next Time ... Ride Long, Ride Free!
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