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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a Kisan headlight modulator probably six months ago.

Since then, I've not had one driver even hint at pulling out in front of me or at turning across me.

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I think not.

I can see cars ahead of me waiting to turn on to my road that seem to wait at least twice as long as they used to, in order to let me pass first.

I realize my experience is just anecdotal and doesn't prove anything, but in MY mind, this is the best safety feature I could possibly have added to my bike.
 

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Not so Ole Fart
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326 Posts
Dan..................I've had the same experiences as you with my Kisan modulator, I will always have one on any Bike I own. I also use the TailBlazer on the rear and have had drivers tell me it sures gets their attention. Ride safe,
 

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Serial Sport Rider
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638 Posts
The evidence is only anecdotal becuase noone has ever done empirical testing. And how could you without skewing the results? I think it's generally accepted that a modulator goes a long way towards making you more visible form the front.
 

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TV Guru
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11,779 Posts
I think there are multiple ways to do it, and no one way is "the" one that will work in every situation. We need to use multiple methods and not come to rely on one particular thing to protect us:

- Headlight Modulators: Yep, that flicker does attract attention. It certainly can give someone pause. Of course, the opposite side of the coin is what happens when someone misinterprets the flash. Flashing your high beam is often seen as a signal to "go ahead and go - I'm letting you in". So, while most people will spot your bike and hold off, there's that one joker out there that may get the wrong idea. However, most will hold off, especially in this newer age of projector beam headlights on cars that can seem to flash a bit when the car goes over uneven pavement.

- Bright Colors and Visible Gear: This seams like a no-brainer, but only if you factor in the bike. Something with a low windshield with a compact fairing will allow bright gear to be more easily seen. However, some sport tourers and large cruisers block most of your body from the view of drivers ahead. A bright colored bike is even less helpful in pull-out situations since there is often little of the color up front on the bike. Of course, bright colored gear can help, but is not likely to be as much of a help in making you visible to the guy turning left.

- Overall Size of the Bike: Something like a Goldwing is hard to overlook - or look through. A large cruiser with large bags and a big fairing often is similarly visible. With a large ride, it's less likely something like a telephone pole or windshield pillar will block you from view. I know with myself, the number of people pulling out or starting to do so dropped dramatically after I added a large pair of saddle bags and a windshield to my bike. In a sense, I made the bike "bigger". Since I used the same gear before and after, it appears the bright blue jacket was ineffective at making me more visible to people ahead. However, increasing the "mass" of the bike seemed to do wonders.

- Lane Position: Two many riders stick to one part of the lane and don't move to the optimal spot to make themselves visible. It's amazing how a foot or so left or right can increase visibility - for you and the other drivers.

- The Lane Change: On multi-lane roads, sometimes the best defense is to get out of the way. Is someone looking to turn right in front of you? Move to the left lane and leave room. While the driver may still pull out and duck immediately over to the left, you have at least created a larger buffer for you to react in.

- The Quick Jig: It's amazing how a quick swerve left and right can stop someone cold that intends to enter your path. Human eyesight (as with most animals), is easily triggered by movement. Not only does the slight swerve create that movement, but it gives someone pause as to what you might be intending to do. Also, at night, it puts your marker lights out of level. They might be invisible to someone ahead if a car is following you with its headlights on. That bit of an angle that occurs when you swerve can put them out from in front of the car lights and make someone realize there is another vehicle ahead of it.

- Loud Pipes: While this can help greatly in alerting drivers that you're passing them, it's unlikely (with all the noise around those sealed car cabins) enough noise would be transmitted forward to the driver looking to turn in front of you. A crack of the throttle can make someone duck back from cutting you off as you pass or stop them from backing into you in a parking lot, but is unlikely to save you from dangers ahead. The right tool for the job.

- The Light Bar: For those who prefer not to use (or can't legally use) a modulator, more light up front can help increase visibility. Driving lights located slightly away from the headlight can also increase the size of the light source someone sees as you approach.

- Use a Blocker: On those wide open multi-lane roads with shopping centers and traffic lights along them, it can be very dangerous with hazards coming from all directions. Sometimes pairing up and keeping pace with a more visible vehicle can help reduce some of the risk. Be warned, never ride beside the vehicle or in its blind spot. If someone pulls out in front of them, you need an escape route since your spot may be theirs.

- The Horn: Last, we get to the horn. It's a device specifically put on your motorcycle to warn others of your presence. The problem is, few riders are thinking clearly enough when reacting to situations to bother to honk it. Even worse, some horns are downright pitiful. An after market horn can be louder and more effective, but only if you use it when you need it. One note: be sure your horn is adjusted properly. A friend of mine was disappointed in his wimpy OEM horn....until I adjusted it and it actually honked properly.

All the above are tools. They aren't a guarantee of success. So, if all else fails, be prepared to react:

- Assume that guy is going to pull out. So, what will you do? As you approach, start looking for an escape route.

- Don't blast through intersections. Let off the throttle and be ready to hit the brakes if needed. That second or so you save by letting off and covering the brakes may be enough to let you stop in time.

- Don't dwaddle in the intersection. OK, so you let off the throttle and are covering the brake as you enter, but once you see it's clear, roll on and get out of there. The longer you stay in that area, the longer someone has to move in on you.

- Green sometimes means "Watch Out, Dude!". Just because the light is green ahead, doesn't mean someone won't run it. As you approach an intersection, keep you eyes pealed not just for those right and left turners, but cross traffic, too. If the light is just changing to green ahead, assume cars will blow the first few seconds of their red light. Be prepared for left turners from the cross road to complete their turn.

- Keep your bike in proper running condition. Don't let tires get bald, brake pads get too worn or hydraulic fluid go too long without a change. You can't stop without friction. Be sure your engine is tuned up, too. Sometimes rolling on will get you past danger and if the bike is coughing or sputtering, you lose a potential escape option. Dirty or out of adjustment fuel and air systems sap power.

- Don't set yourself up for an incident: Keep your speed reasonable (stick with the general flow of traffic, whatever speed that may be), don't stunt on public roads and remember to cancel your turn signal.

- Dress for the crash, not the ride: Wear protective gear for when all else fails. Proper gear can mean the difference between an emergency ride on a helicopter or getting up with a few bumps and bruises.
 

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Serial Sport Rider
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638 Posts
I think there are multiple ways to do it, and no one way is "the" one that will work in every situation.
Absolutely 100% correct!

I've used a number of the tips you outlined, all to good effect. One quirk about hte blocker method is that (here in SoCal anyway) cagers get SO freaked out when you deliberately ride right next to them. Depending on the type of car/driver, you either get someone who

1. swerve towards or away from you cause they get surprised to see someone *right there*
2. immediately hit the brakes for some unexplainable reason,
3. floor it cause they think you want to race or
4. do nothing
 

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TV Guru
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11,779 Posts
Absolutely 100% correct!

I've used a number of the tips you outlined, all to good effect. One quirk about hte blocker method is that (here in SoCal anyway) cagers get SO freaked out when you deliberately ride right next to them. Depending on the type of car/driver, you either get someone who

1. swerve towards or away from you cause they get surprised to see someone *right there*
2. immediately hit the brakes for some unexplainable reason,
3. floor it cause they think you want to race or
4. do nothing
That's why I said it's not a good idea to ride next to someone. Riding in the next lane, about a car length back will give you the protection of the other vehicle while allowing room for emergency maneuvers - yours or the other driver's. Being back a bit gives you the option of ducking in behind the other car should a left turner intrude into your lane while waiting for the blocker car to pass.
 
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