If you are interested in riding your motorcycle at night, the best way to increase your safety and enjoyment is to beef up the light output of your bike. We looked at ways to upgrade your stock motorcycle headlight. I would like to focus on adding additional lights to your bike.
You have probably heard many names for these types of lights: auxiliary lights, driving lights, fog lights, and off-road lights. Although there are subtle differences in their design and application, these are all basically different names for the same type of lights. (In a future article I will go into detail on the distinctions between these.)
Typically they are self-contained in weather proof housings and are bolted or clamped permanently to the front of your bike. They are not intended to replace the headlight, only to augment it. Depending on the type of lights and their intended use, they may be wired to come on with the high beams or the low beams, or a separate switch may be added to control them independently.
There are several reasons why you might choose to add additional lights rather than, or in addition to, upgrading your current headlight bulb.
First, you do not have to worry about the bulbs overheating or melting the bike’s wiring. You also do not have to worry about finding an exact replacement bulb to fit your particular stock headlight. These units are intended to be complete, ready to install systems that will fit a wide variety of motorcycles. They generally include mounting hardware, wiring harnesses and a control switch.
Second, you can add multiple sets if you so desire. The only limiting factors are your creativity for mounting them and the available electrical output from your bike’s stater.
Third, auxiliary lights can be easily aimed to light up areas outside of the normal headlight beam. For example, they may be aimed wide to help illuminate the edges of the road. This is very important when cornering because a typical headlight beam points straight off the road and not into the corner where it would be most useful. They can also be used to increase visibility when riding up and down hills.
One of the biggest nighttime threats to motorcyclists is animals. Deer are very prevalent in my home state, and they have the nasty habit of waiting along the edges of dark back roads until you are almost on top of them before darting into the roadway in front of you. Your best line of defense is spotting them with enough time to slow down. Adequately lighting the edges of the roadway will give you a fighting chance of picking out these well hidden creatures of the night before it is too late.
Finally, adding additional lights gives a distinct look to the front of your bike. This can go far beyond aesthetics and be a very important safety feature. For other drivers at night, a single motorcycle headlight may appear to be a car’s headlights in the distance. This can create the illusion that you are farther away than you really are. By adding driving lights, especially lower on the bike, you create a “triangle” of lights that is very distinct.
Other motorists are more likely to notice this and recognize you as a motorcyclist. The importance of this should not be understated. About 25% of motorcycle accidents are caused by collisions with left turning cars, i.e. the car pulled out without “seeing” the motorcyclist. Anything you can do to stack the odds in your favor should be seriously considered.
A well designed set of auxiliary lights may be one of the most important motorcycle accessories you ever purchase. Fortunately, a good set does not have to cost a fortune. If you are looking for a terrific set of lights at a good price, I recommend you check out the highly rated PI AA 1100 x. PI AA is well known for producing high quality lighting systems for all types of vehicles, and these lights are no exception.