|Quote, originally posted by 2Slo2Run »|
|Just got my first bike (Suzuki GS500) and loving it.|
I have done a few rides at night now and have come up with my major newb question: should I operate the high beams the same as in the car?
Yes, because they act basically the same as a car - if you are running the high beam, you'll blind oncoming traffic.
I ask because when I get outside the city/suburbs there is so little light that when I switch to low beam to avoid blinding oncoming motorists I can't see ANYTHING! Experience or none not being able to see in front of you is an issue, and I got to thinking whether I can recall other cycles turning their highs off when I am driving at night. Am I blinding people by not turning them off or is the one light on my bike easy enough for them to look past/not as bright as it appears from my perspective.
I'm still a bit hesitant to ride at night but now that I have my license (thanks to the MSF course) I can ride to friends houses and such without worrying about the time.
It's good that you are cognizant of this, because one of the big risks of riding at night is out-riding your headlight (that is, riding so fast that your light doesn't light far enough for you to be able to see hazards).
The first thing that I would check (don't know if your bike is the faired one or the naked) is how the headlight is aimed. On a lot of naked bikes, it is really easy to have the headlight get bumped and aimed too far downward, which would result in not being able to see well. Check that out and see if it helps.
The second thing that you can do is add some auxiliary lighting of some sort to your bike. This is what I did on my BMW, as I just wasn't happy with the amount of light I was getting, and I love the peace and calm of riding at night. I ordered a set of Hella FF50 auxiliary driving lights from http://www.rallylights.com There are plenty of other solutions too, like motolights and some others, but the Hellas were only about $100 for a complete kit with a switch and relay and such, and they throw a LOT of light. I have them aimed low and slightly outward, and they make me feel SO much safer riding in low light.
Here's a pic from my install: