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Yellow eye   Improving lighting at the front of your bike.

Hurt recommended that bike front lights always be on. This has been implemented by removing the headlight off switch in recent bikes. That has changed the playing field, and Maids does not have much additional light to shed on the subject. This book is a good discussion of the subject.light

We suggest you consider some or all of the following changes, some of which are quite inexpensive.

Please assess carefully your level of technical skill in figuring out what you want to do. You can do more damage by cutting your wiring harness and soldering it poorly than any benefit from adding a device. Figure out what has to be done, and if it is beyond your skills, get the job done by a professional bike mechanic.

Daytime Running on High Beam. As the high beam of a bike is brighter and less directional than the low beam, we favor its use during the day.

(1) Clean your headlight lens. It is amazing how much light can be lost by dust or bugs.

(2) In many bikes, installing relays to take power directly from the battery for both high and low beams can cut down on voltage loss in the wiring harness and boost headlight performance by up to 20 percent.

(3) Most bikes except some of the high-end tourers come with rather wimpy incandescent headlight bulbs. PIAA replacement bulbs can be a relatively cheap upgrade to increase light output by a third or half. HID bulbs are a more advanced technology. and are brighter, but they are expensive, sometimes are HID on one of high or low beam rather than both, and have a large external electronics pack which might be hard to find room for. But they are very good. We are seeing new, even higher output plasma bulbs out there too, and some interesting applications of LEDs.

(4) Running lights are non-directional (i.e. not tightly focused) lights which add to the overall light output on the bike. They are available in the usual halogen/PIAA/HID and LED varieties. Any running lights will help make the bike more visible, but consider mounting lights low and to each side of the bike. For the running light technical page, go here. Here's WebBikeWorld.com on running lights. They are also a partial solution to the problem of motorcycle running lights not being distinguishable from car running lights, as you can use them to create a unique pattern of light that can'e be mistaken for cage lights.

dork alert(5) Modulators. These devices cause the headlight beam to reduce to about 18% of maximum a couple of times a second, making the lights much more visible. They can be tied to low or high beam. They work fine with regular incandescent and PIAA lights. They are approved by Federal and Canadian law. See the modulator technical page. They are also a partial solution to the problem of motorcycle running lights not being distinguishable from car running lights, because cars don't have modulators.

(6) Most bikes have turn signals in the front that have an 'always on' function, and increasing their power by replacing them with brighter LEDs can aid conspicuity.

(7) Bright and high-visbility paint and decals are favored by many bikers, and adding them to the front is thought to aid conspicuity.

Our recommendation is that it can't hurt to add lighting on your bike, but be careful to get a professional job done, whether you do it yourself or have a mechanic do it for you. You can't afford to gamble when you cut into bike wiring.