How to Increase Rider Visibility With Helmet Lights

Motorcycle helmet brake lights

As motorcycle enthusiasts, we're always looking for ways to increase our safety on the road. One overlooked area is the importance of rider visibility. Being seen is just as important as seeing, especially in low-light conditions or on busy roads. That’s where helmet brake lights come in.

Here, we will guide you through the benefits of helmet lights and how Brake Free’s super bright LED technology can drastically improve rider visibility.

Why Is Rider Visibility Crucial?

Brake helmet lights

Rider visibility plays a crucial role in keeping motorcyclists and other drivers safe on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many motorcycle accidents occur because other motorists simply don’t see the motorcycle in time to prevent a collision. Increasing visibility is a proactive step towards accident prevention.

During nighttime or in low light conditions, visibility drops significantly. Additionally, rain, fog, and other adverse weather conditions can obscure a rider's visibility. For many bikes, poorly positioned tail lights create another hazard. Cruiser bikes tend to have tail lights that are too close to the ground and can be easily overlooked by drivers behind them who are accustomed to seeing the “triangle of lights” on the rear of motor vehicles.

A helmet light serves as an additional point of illumination, making riders more noticeable. Because the helmet is the highest point on the rider, it is an ideal place to add lighting that will be conspicuous to others on the road.

Benefits of Helmet Brake Lights

Helmet Brake Lights

  • Higher Visibility: Unlike motorcycle lights that are fixed to the vehicle, a helmet LED light like Brake Free is positioned significantly higher off the ground, which helps riders remain easily discernible while on the road.
  • Versatility: Helmet safety lights aren't just about brightness; they're about adaptability. This is especially true of Brake Free. With the ability to access active, stealth, and pulsing modes, Brake Free riders have the flexibility to adjust their light settings based on factors like traffic density, time of day, or weather conditions, ensuring optimal visibility at all times. Furthermore, helmets have the advantage of being easily transferred to another person, such as a passenger, and accommodating a range of applications beyond just motorcycling (e.g., e-biking, snowmobiling, etc.).
  • Immediate Response to Engine Braking: Motorcycle brake lights activate only when the brakes are applied. This poses a safety issue as many riders habitually use engine braking to slow down, and the lack of an active brake light at these times leaves the rider vulnerable. Brake Free is the only helmet brake light that automatically activates during engine braking, allowing the rider to communicate to the surrounding drivers that they are slowing down.
  • Easy Installation: Installing Brake Free is a straightforward process designed by riders for riders. The user-friendly features simplify the installation, making it a hassle-free task even for those who aren’t tech-savvy.  There is no wiring or splicing required—attaching the helmet mount is as simple as applying a sticker to your helmet. Clear instructions and intuitive design elements ensure that riders can secure their lights without any complications.

Tips for Using Helmet Brake Lights Effectively

Helmet brake free lights

  • Consider ideal placement.

Place the helmet light where it won’t be obstructed by any mounted accessories.  It’s also advisable to wear the light low on the helmet to ensure optimal visibility, as riders tend to position their heads slightly downward while in motion, but be careful that the edge of the light does not stick out past the lower lip of the helmet or interfere with the vents.

  • Find a light with sufficient brightness.

 similar conditions that can make the rider difficult to see.

  • Perform a pre-ride check.

Inspect the helmet brake light before a ride to see whether it is properly charged; make sure the battery cover is fully inserted to prevent moisture from getting in; power on and check battery level; finally, examine the mount adhesive, and ensure the mount and light are securely locked.

  • Complement your Brake Free helmet light with high visibility gear.

Combine a Brake Free helmet light with protective gear with retro-reflective patches , retro-reflective decals, and other high-viz gear to maximize visibility. 

Additional Tips for Enhancing Rider Visibility

  • Reflective Tape or Stickers: These can be attached to your helmet to increase visibility. They reflect light from the headlights of vehicles, making the helmet stand out.
  • High-Visibility Helmet Designs: Choosing helmets with high-visibility colors like neon yellow, orange, or white can make a significant difference.
  • Jackets/Pants: This apparel should also sport high-visibility colors. Many manufacturers offer jackets and pants with reflective material or patches.
  • Gloves: When you're signaling or changing lanes, bright colored gloves are more likely to catch the attention of other drivers.
  • Boots: Some motorcycle boots come with reflective patches. If yours don't, consider adding reflective tape or stickers.
  • Rain Gear: If you ride in the rain, make sure your rain gear (rain jacket, rain pants) is in bright colors.

The Inspiration Behind Brake Free

Innovations often stem from lessons of the past, and the tale of Brake Free is no exception. The history of the third brake light begins in 1974, when an experiment was conducted to outfit an extra rear light on 343 taxicabs operating in San Francisco. The study found that the cabs with a third brake light experienced 60.6% fewer rear-end collisions compared to standard cabs.

Acting on the proven efficacy of the third brake light, the U.S. government mandated this feature on all new automobiles from 1986 models onwards. The introduction of the Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL), or the third brake light, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) marked a transformative step in road safety.

This historic backdrop paved the way for the vision behind Brake Free. If an added light could profoundly enhance vehicle safety, why shouldn’t motorcycles benefit from this innovation? The answer lay in adapting the concept, placing it right at the motorcyclist’s eye level.

The Innovative Edge of Advanced Brake Lights

Positioning the Brake Free helmet light at eye level was a strategic choice, reflecting the typical line of sight of many drivers, thus maximizing visibility. And since drivers have become accustomed to brake indicators at this height in cars, a similar indicator on a motorcycle becomes an intuitive sign of deceleration. This combination of immediate response and strategic placement ensures motorcyclists are not only seen but their intentions are also clearly understood, leading to safer roads for all.

NHTSA Motorcycle Safety Guidelines

Motorcycle safety guidelines

The NHTSA provides a comprehensive set of guidelines aimed at promoting motorcycle safety. Here’s how helmet brake lights align with their recommendations:

  • Be seen.

NHTSA stresses the importance of making oneself visible. This includes wearing bright colors during the day, reflective gear in the dark, and using the motorcycle's headlight. Helmet brake lights are a valuable addition to this guideline.

  • Signal your intentions.

While the NHTSA recommends using turn signals prior to changing lanes or turning, By increasing rider visibility, helmet lights aid in capturing the attention of other motorists during these hazardous maneuvers.

  • Protective gear is vital.

Wearing the right protective gear can make a difference in a crash. A helmet is paramount, and by adding a Brake Free smart helmet brake light, riders combine the protective features of a helmet with the accident-preventing technology of Brake Free.

Increasing Visibility With BRAKE FREE

Increasing visibility with brake free lights

Brake Free's helmet lights are based on a proprietary, patented design (U.S. Patent No. US10086894 B2) that includes a gyroscopic sensor and an accelerometer that work in tandem to enable immediate, wireless activation of the LED light based on sensor input generated by rider activity. It is a major advance in helmet light technology.

For motorcycle riders, visibility is a critical aspect of road safety. Helmet lights, in combination with other safety gear and practices, provide a comprehensive approach to being seen on the road. Embrace helmet lights and ensure that every ride is a safe one.

Learn more about BRAKE FREE and our ultra-bright smart LED brake lights for your motorcycle helmets that can help increase your visibility and safety on the road today.