According to the transport ministry, motorcyclists make up 59% of road fatalities in Malaysia, with seven out of every 10 accidents involving this mode of transportation.
As of 2021, there were about 23 million vehicles on the road, with motorcycles making up 46% of this figure. Given the sharp increase in bike sales over the past year, the ministry expects there will soon be a corresponding increase in motorcycle numbers on the road.
While riders need to be careful on the roads at any time of the day, it is considerably more dangerous at night, owing to factors such as bad weather, poorly lit roads, blind spots, potholes, and dangerous bends.
If riding a motorcycle at night is unavoidable, here are some tips to help you stay safe:
1. Shine bright
Stay visible when riding at night to ensure others can spot you from a distance. Wear reflective clothing for increased visibility from all angles.
It has been said that the bright greenish-yellow of safety vests is the best colour to wear when riding at night.
2. Light ’em up
Relevant with the point above, check and ensure all motorcycle lights are functional and bright, including headlights, brake lights, and signal lights.
Headlights, of course, improve visibility and notify other drivers of your presence, while signal lights are important for indicating your direction.
3. Look ahead
Unpredictable road conditions can pose serious risks. These include potholes and obstacles such as animals, objects, or oil spills.
Stay focused, anticipate the possibility of such incidents, and be prepared to react swiftly and safely.
4. Slow and steady
Going slow allows you to survey your surroundings and gives you time to avoid potholes or other obstacles on the road.
You’ll also be able to stop in time if other motorists lose control of their vehicles or are driving dangerously.
Now that you know what to do while riding at night, here are a few reminders on what not to do during a night ride:
1. The brighter the better
Avoid wearing black outfits as it reduces your visibility to other users. Dark-tinted visors should also be avoided, as they greatly diminish your vision and other road users’ ability to see you.
Go for brighter clothing and clear visors for improved safety on dimly lit roads.
2. It only takes a second
If you feel drowsy, take a break. Don’t try to fight fatigue and risk falling asleep at the wheel. A moment of shut-eye can lead to an accident, endangering yourself and others.
If possible, slow down, find a safe spot to stop, refresh yourself, and then continue your journey.
3. Avoid being blinded
Stay visible by avoiding dark corners and potential blind spots, as these increase your risk of being overlooked by other road users.
Also avoid staring into the headlights of oncoming vehicles, as it can momentarily impair your vision. Sudden brightness may lead you to shut your eyes briefly, which could lead to accidents.