Phoenix, AZ Motorcycle Riding Tips – Overriding Your Headlight

Phoenix, AZ Motorcycle Riding Tips – Overriding Your Headlight

Published: Posted on September 9, 2013February 6, 2021 by admin

Last Updated: February 6th, 2021


With the heat in Arizona this time of year, motorcyclists are more likely to ride at night.  Night riding presents its own sets of challenges, and in particular, overriding your headlight is one challenge that could result in an unsuccessful ride.  This challenge can be reduced by remembering a few key elements.


What do we mean by overriding your headlight?  This occurs when your total stopping distance exceeds your sight distance.  Total stopping distance includes the time it takes to perceive a hazard, react to that hazard, and the time it takes the bike to come to a stop.  Not being able to see far enough ahead means that hazards can lurk beyond the beam of our headlights.  Possibly the best way to understand this situation is through an example.

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The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends we have a four second safety margin to perform a hazard avoidance maneuver like stopping.  So let’s say you’re traveling at 60 mph, or 88 feet per second.  At four seconds, you would cover a distance of 352 feet.  To put that in perspective, in the time it would take you to stop at 60 mph, you would cover a distance equal to a FOOTBALL FIELD!

With this information, we need to ask ourselves, can we see an entire FOOTBALL FIELD ahead when riding at night if we’re traveling at 60 mph?  If the answer is no, what can we do?


There are some simple measures we can immediately take to increase our safety at night:

Ultimately, the challenge of overriding our headlight is well within our ability to overcome.  We just need to be aware of its existence and its solutions.

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Do you have a story about when you faced this challenge?  If so, we’d love to read about it on the TEAM Arizona Facebook page.

Have fun and ride safe!

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