Motorcyclists are especially at risk in low light (e.g. gloomy days, dawn and dusk) and at night where their smaller profile makes them more difficult to see, and where their one headlight makes it more difficult for other road users to judge their speed and distance. Add to this the fact that many motorbikes have dark paintwork. Clothing and aftermarket motorbike equipment is readily available to improve visibility.
High visibility motorbike helmets
A bright-coloured helmet improves the profile of the motorcyclist by placing a highly visible shape above the motorcycle’s shape. A white helmet is much better than a black helmet, but a yellow or bright orange helmet is even better. Ensure that you check the SHARP ratings for crash safety and only purchase a helmet that gives superior protection for your head in the case of an impact.
Gloves and boots with reflective strips are available, as well as trousers and jackets in bright colours. Purchasing proper protective clothing is recommended rather than just wearing bright clothing.
Illuminated and reflective straps and bands
Reflective straps and bands which can be worn around the leg or torso are readily available online from as little as a few dollars. New LED technology in the form of bands is becoming popular and they tend to be rechargeable (usually via USB).
Adding extra lights and reflectors to your motorcycle
There are no restrictions on adding reflective tape to your motorbike, but there are restrictions on the types of lights you can add.
If you ride an old motorbike with a low power front lamp, you can change the bulb to a brighter type of bulb, or you can replace the whole assembly with an aftermarket light.
You can double up your rear lights, or replace them with a more effective aftermarket unit.
Rule 114 states you MUST NOT
- use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders
Neon lights are legal as long as you can only see the glow and not the bulb and as long as they only project the same colour of light forwards or backwards that is permitted under law, ie. must not project or reflect red light forwards or white light rearwards. You must not fit green lights – they’re only for medical practitioners. You must not fit blue lights as they are for emergency vehicles. You are not allowed rotating lights (including flashing valve caps). More details are in the legislation here.
While you are stationary you can display whatever colour lights you like, but not while you are moving.
You can, however, use reflective tape, such as this tape around the wheels (see rule 11(2)q in the above link).
Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.