Motorcycle Safety Equipment

Banff Motorcycle Trip

Motorcycle Safety Equipment

We talked about general safety and what to wear as it relates to safety. What about your bike? Motorcycle safety equipment includes, in my opinion tires, lights & horn. Your bike came with the basics, if you just maintain those, it’s pretty safe. But we could do better with a few simple modifications.

Motorcycle Safety Equipment – Tires

Let’s talk about tires. You only get two and the contact patch, (rubber touching pavement) is very small and very important. With an area only about the size of a deck of cards under each wheel touching the ground, we should give it some respect. This is really where you, accelerate, brake and turn. The tire looks fairly large, but where the rubber meets the road is tiny.

Tires are expensive. When I calculate my, “total cost of ownership,” gas, oil, insurance, brake linings etc., tires are per mile the largest expense after fuel. I’m running Michelin Commander II‘s and averaging 20K miles of life. Our usual summer covers 15K miles of two-wheeled adventure which just about eats one set of tires a summer. Expensive when you buy a set, but only $16 / 1000 miles of travel…

I replace tires long before they look totally worn out. Usually just before the first long trip of the summer! I have friends who wear some down to bare spots with cords showing. The risk of either blowing one out at highway speed, or needing traction for a quick stop is not worth skimping. Keep rubber and traction in reserve, and properly inflated….every ride.

Motorcycle Safety – Lights & Horn

Front Lighting

From a distance, I think lighting is your most important safety equipment.
Watch as you approach motorcycles on the highway. You’ll notice a wide variation of lights. Some are attention getters, and others are hardly noticable. Which are yours?
LEDs have reset the landscape when it comes to lighting.

Rear Lighting

I don’t like the thought of being rear-ended. Yes, I watch cars approaching as I’m stopped at a light, but do they see me?
I keep the bike in gear, pointed into an escape path, but those are secondary. First I want to be seen.
For a regular brake light, I switched the bulb to a flashing LED.
These are always on as running lights and flash when you apply the brakes. They are unbelievably intense.
I’m not sure why, but they do cause cars to back-off.

Air Horn

If you want to see motorcycle safety equipment in action, get an air horn.
This is the best $100 I have spent on safety equipment. For use in the close up, hand to hand combat of, “Lane Changers.” Wow, I have prevented more collisions with the simple push of a button.
Any air-horn will work, but I like the, Denali Sound Bomb
It can be connected to flash your headlights while blaring it’s sweet sound, but I don’t care about the lights.
I use this thing when a cager is already in my space, I want loud, really loud.


We can keep going with safety & lights. For instance, there is the modulating headlight.
Few safety modifications you make will be as controversial as this one. Yes, they are extra noticeable and yes people don’t like them.
You’ll get the folks who pull up and tell you, “Hey, your headlight has a short.” And there are the ones who think you’re a cop and pull over….
Even lots of other riders will say, “I hate those damn things.”