Modes of Transportation

When Riding a Motorcycle, Make Sure You Are Visible

For your own safety, make sure you can be seen and signal your intentions. Wear a helmet as well as protective clothing with light, bright or fluorescent colours. When riding a motorcycle, it is essential that you can be seen.

Motorcyclists, show yourselves

Motorcyclists are hard to see. Due to the small size of your motorcycle, especially when viewed from the front, motorists may have difficulty seeing you. Do everything you can to be seen.

How can you make yourself more visible?


  • Protective clothing and accessories with light, bright or fluorescent colours and reflective strips
  • A brightly coloured helmet (white, yellow, orange or with contrasting patterns)
By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Motocycliste, soyez vigilant, car vous n’êtes pas seul sur la route. (As a motorcyclist, you need to be vigilant because you are not alone on the road—video in French only)

Transcript :

Your motorcycle

Preferably choose a light or brightly coloured motorcycle.

In addition to the mandatory headlights (projectors), add auxiliary lights. Place them:

  • close to the rear-view mirrors
  • near the bottom of the fork, to make the motorcycle look larger

Auxiliary lights help other drivers:

  • see the outline of the motorcycle
  • better evaluate the distance between you and them, as well as the approach speed

Illustration comparing the visible areas of two motorcycles viewed from the front, one with mandatory headlights only, and the other with added auxiliary lights.

Left: The area of a motorcycle that is usually visible (the headlights)

Right: The visible area of a motorcycle once various auxiliary lights have been installed in order to greatly increase the motorcycle’s visual outline and, as a result, the motorcyclist’s safety.

On the road

  • Ride in the third of the lane that affords you the greatest visibility and adequate safety margins.
  • Make eye contact with other drivers. Otherwise, assume they have not seen you.
  • Avoid finding yourself in the blind spots of other vehicles. Pay attention to the blind spots created by the windshield pillars on either side of the front of the vehicle. If the driver’s face is hidden by a pillar, that means the driver can’t see you. All types of vehicles have blind spots created by windshield pillars, not just SUVs or heavy vehicles.
  • Take advantage of the fact that you can use your high beam headlights during the daytime. This is especially important in cities, where visual information overload can be significant. You do not have to switch to your low beams unless you are less than 15 metres behind another vehicle.

Headlights? Lights?

A headlight, also known as a projector, helps motorcyclists see better.

A light, which is less intense, is used to:

  • make the motorcycle visible
  • signal a manoeuvre
  • give a good sense of the size of the motorcycle in the dark

Important: Adding lights helps others see you better, but does not make you see better!

Headlights and auxiliary lights: installation must comply with regulations

Headlights and auxiliary lights must be installed in compliance with:

Visibility equipment such as headlights, lights and reflectors are essential to make you visible. When such equipment meets existing standards, you can be seen from a distance of at least 150 metres by the driver of an oncoming vehicle, even when you are stopped on the side of the roadway at night.

Add a headlight modulator

Be even more visible by adding a variable intensity headlight modulator to your motorcycle. A headlight modulator can be added to both your high beams and low beams, so long as these lights do not modulate simultaneously.

Transport Canada standards for this type of equipment specify in particular:

  • the rate of modulation must be 240 ± 40 cycles per minute
  • the headlight must be operated at maximum power for 50 to 70% of each cycle
  • the lowest intensity must not be less than 17% of the maximum intensity
  • in addition to the manual switch, the modulator must be equipped with a device that automatically ceases headlight modulation at dusk using a light sensor

Last update: May 30, 2022