Using your bike’s instruments and riding aids

Before you set off, make sure you know what the warning lights on your motorbike instrument panel mean: check your motorbike handbook for more information.

Make sure you know where to find the switches and controls you’re likely to need while you’re riding, such as the controls for the indicators, headlight dip and horn. You’ll need to be able to use these without losing control of the motorbike while it’s moving. Look in your motorbike handbook if you’re not sure where to find any of the controls.

Using dipped headlights

Use dipped headlights

  • at night
  • whenever the light is poor, even during the day, to make your vehicle more visible to others; for example, in rain, drizzle or mist.

Many modern motorcycles automatically turn on the dipped beam headlight when the ignition is turned on or the engine is started. If your motorbike does not do this, you can fit daytime running lights to help make your motorbike easier for other road users to see.

Fog lights

Only use fog lights when visibility is reduced to 100 metres (328 feet) or less. You must not use fog lights at any other time because they can dazzle other drivers.

Flat and convex mirrors

Adjust your mirrors to give you the best view of the road behind. If your elbows block your view, try fitting mirrors with longer stems.

Mirrors are either flat or convex.

Flat mirrors give a ‘true’ reflection of what is going on behind you.

Convex mirrors are slightly curved so they give a wider field of vision. However, this also makes it harder for you to judge the speed and position of vehicles in the mirror. A car behind you will look smaller in a convex mirror so it could be closer to you than you think.

Changes to road and weather conditions

The road surface and the weather can change while you’re riding so you may need to change controls on your motorbike or change how you’re riding in response. For example, if it starts raining, the road surface will be more slippery so you’ll need to increase your distance from the vehicle in front and reduce your speed, and possibly turn on your headlights. If the weather changes from being cloudy to very sunny, you might need to stop and put on sunglasses.

If necessary, stop when it’s safe to do so to change controls or settings.

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