Signalling Safely: The Importance of Motorcycle Indicators




Riding a motorcycle can be an exciting and freeing experience. The wind in your hair, the open road ahead, the feeling of being one with your machine – it’s no wonder many people love to ride. But with this freedom comes great responsibility. As a motorcyclist, it’s essential to ride safely and defensively, and one of the critical aspects of safe riding is proper signalling.

The Dangers of Not Signaling

Failing to signal appropriately on a motorcycle can lead to dangerous, even fatal, consequences. Unlike a car, a motorcycle only has two small turn signals. Seeing a motorcycle’s intentions with clear signals is much easier for other drivers. Additionally, motorcycles themselves are small and more difficult to spot in traffic. Proper signalling gives other motorists advanced warning of a motorcycle’s next move, granting them extra time to respond appropriately.

With signals, other drivers may realise a motorcyclist is about to change lanes or turn. This could lead to collisions as a driver unexpectedly swerves into the motorcycle’s path. Likewise, other motorists might misinterpret the intentions of an unsignaled motorcyclist, again increasing the likelihood of a crash. Signalling problems are especially hazardous at intersections, where turn signals relay crucial information about who is going where.

According to a Society of Automotive Engineers study, nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by other motorists failing to detect and recognise a motorcycle. Proper use of turn signals helps make the motorcycle – and its next move – highly visible. This dramatically reduces the chances of a potentially fatal collision.

Types of Motorcycle Turn Signals

Motorcycle turn signals come in various styles, but all serve the same essential functions. Hand signals involve the rider sticking their arm straight out to indicate a turn. This tried, accurate method still works fine but requires removing a hand from the handlebars.

Most riders today opt for electrical turn signals. These bright blinking lights are housed in housings mounted on the motorcycle’s front, back, and sometimes sides. An easy-to-reach switch on the handlebars operates the signals. Riders flip the switch left or right to activate the proper turn signal before changing lanes or turning.

Turn signal kits augment the standard front and rear signals with additional lights. These auxiliary LED lights make the bike’s signals even more prominent, and some types even incorporate brake lights with the turn signals. Such kits are just one of many helpful motorcycle safety accessories to consider.

Benefits of Signaling Properly

Using your motorcycle’s turn signals properly provides numerous safety benefits:

  • Alerts other drivers of your intentions, preventing collisions
  • Reduces risk of crashes, especially at intersections
  • It enhances your visibility and makes your motorcycle more conspicuous
  • Let other motorists know what you plan to do well in advance
  • Improves traffic flow as other drivers adapt to your signalling
  • It helps prevent dangerous sudden braking or swerving by other motorists
  • Reinforces safe riding habits and mindfulness on the road

Put, proper turn signals are critical for safe motorcycle operation. Riders who use signals appropriately also project an image of experience and responsibility. Signalling demonstrates you’re a thoughtful driver who puts safety first.

Tips for Proper Motorcycle Turn Signaling

Using your motorcycle’s turn signals effectively takes some knowledge and practice:

  • Activate signals well in advance – Don’t wait until the last second. Give other motorists plenty of warning.
  • Make your signals clear – Use decisive, obvious gestures for hand signals. For electrical signals, use additional lights if necessary.
  • Cancel signals promptly – Immediately switch signals off once your turn or lane change is complete. Don’t drive with them unnecessarily.
  • Use signals every time you turn or change lanes – Never assume your intentions are obvious. Signal even if you don’t see other traffic.
  • Double check signal function – Ensure all turn signal bulbs and connections are working correctly. Replace any burnt-out bulbs immediately.
  • Consider adding signalling to braking – Enhance safety by tapping the brakes lightly before slowing down so brake lights also alert traffic behind you.
  • Allow extra signalling distance and time in wet or icy conditions – Give other motorists even more advanced notice to react safely in inclement weather.

Applying these tips ensures your motorcycle’s turn signals are used to their maximum advantage. Signalling correctly is one of the easiest ways to reduce riding risks significantly. Pay attention to this basic but essential safe riding practice. Working turn signals can differentiate between a close call and a safe journey. Ride on carefully – signal on!

Make Sure Your Bike’s Signals Are in Good Working Order

Your motorcycle’s turn signals must always function optimally to reap the full safety benefits. Be sure to:

Inspect Signals Frequently

  • Check turn signal lights regularly and replace any burnt-out bulbs immediately. LED lights last longer but still require periodic inspection.
  • Examine signal switch function – Make sure signals activate properly from handlebar switches and cancel when required.
  • Clean signal lenses as needed so lights shine brightly and clearly. Consider applying tint treatments to lenses to reduce sun glare.

Conduct Thorough Pre-Ride Signal Checks

  • Verify the function of all turn signal lights before each ride – front, rear, and auxiliary.
  • Watch signals in operation from behind your motorcycle to ensure visibility and alignment. Signals should be discernable and flat, not angled up or down.
  • Listen for proper relay clicking sounds when operating signals. No click likely means a dead bulb or electrical problem.

Perform Regular Electrical System Maintenance

  • Inspect wiring connections to lights and switches. Ensure they are sound and waterproof.
  • Clean contacts, connectors, and ground connections to prevent corrosion and electrical shorts.
  • Check the condition of the wiring insulation. Repair any cracks or damage that could cause short-circuiting.
  • Use electrical contact enhancer sprays or greases to maintain optimal connectivity.

By carrying out these signal system checks and maintenance procedures, you can be confident your motorcycle’s turn signals will operate reliably. Taking the time to maintain your lights and switches properly maximises the safety benefits of your signals. Use motorcycle 3 in 1 tail lights to enhance signalling visibility. Riding a motorcycle offers unmatched freedom and exhilaration. 

Use your bike’s turn signals to ensure you stay safe on the roads. They provide critical visual information to other motorists. Pay attention to this simple but essential riding practice. Checking and using your signals appropriately helps protect both you and your fellow drivers. Signalling correctly is necessary for responsible motorcycle riding.