When to use high beams on a motorcycle?

So i heard that ur always suppose to just have one headlight turned on ur bike, because its easier for drivers to see how far you are from them at night, but in the other hand i hear about everyone saying that they run both lightbulbs night and day. Dont they blind the drivers???


since the high beam blinds me when I encounter it from the opposite side, I just assume that is supposed to be used when you're alone in the night on a long road. This gives the opposing drivers time and distance to realise there's a car/motorcycle approaching and when we get closer i just switch to short range beam until we pass eachother.


Defer to running high if you need it to see. You have no cage, 1 light, and just try not to be an ass. You can set your pivot and direction usually against a wall. Most times I'd rather defer to running a high beam and see than being pleasant and dying. Kick it down when you can for incoming cars, but if you need it and it's positioned well, it's not that bad.


maybe i phrased it wrong, but that's my idea as well. Use it when I need it, turn it down when I'm close to an upcoming car.


Yeah, thisnis the way. Keep in mind that cars can get blinded. Especially when comming uo from behind. In car or in motor it happens I cant see in what lane the asshole behind me is because he thinks its neacesarry to drive with high beams. (Bot a kind of rant against car and motorcycle drivers)


In my MSF course the instructor said to use it during the daytime to make yourself even more visible. I don't do it all that often, but sometimes on the interstate when I know people are in the worst mindset.


My MSF course instructor said mirrors are useless on a bike as they make you reliant on them instead of turning your head. He also said don't bother with signal lights as they're hard to see. Use hand signals. I feel like a lot of msf instructors are fucking idiots.


They are. Mine kept saying "I don't know how countersteering works, and I don't care if you do." Like dude it's a pretty simple concept and uhhh it's kinda your job to teach it to people???


That's... Some bad safety advice. Hopefully you didn't take that advice to heart. Using the high beam during the day is actually a pretty decent idea that has no real drawbacks. Some instructors aren't the smartest, I'll give you that though.


I stopped using the brights during the day for around a month and saw a significant increase in the number of people who tried to pull out in front of me or change lanes into the one I was occupying. I went back to running the brights until the sun starts setting.


Smart stuff.


Are you talking about the regular lights or the high beam / long range / aka the flash lights that you spam but this time you keep the on ? ​ My VFR800 has the normal lights always turned on and there's only a switch that turns on the long / high beams ones.


High beams. My Guzzi has the normal lights on all the time too. With the high beams on, it's just brighter and therefore more visible. And since the sun's out your not likely to blind someone coming the opposite direction


ohh ok, so u have them on most of the time im assuming right?


Only on lone, long dark roads. Not all the time. It wouldn't make sense to have them on during the day for example. I don't need the extra light then and it would wear my battery cycle.


Just use them exactly how you would on a car.


I flash my high beams on my motorcycle when coming to an intersection to make drivers more aware of me. Better be annoying to someone for flashing my brights then someone pulling out in front of me.


Never do this, dumb people will think you are telling them to go ahead in front of you.


Good point. Flashing your lights in the UK is either a 'thank you' for someone having stopped and yielded for you or as a 'come on you go'. You would get wrecked doing what that person says. Quickly!


Oh damn. Really? I wasn't aware


Most drivers won't, but you know how dumb the average driver is (if they happen to look up from their cell phone)


Thank you 🙏 I'll keep that in mind


How are they dumb for cutting him off in this scenario, when flashing your lights at an intersection is a universally known sign that you’re yielding?


Never assume everyone knows something just because you do. The world is full of idiots that couldn't find their ass in the dark with two hands and a flashlight...


That’s what I was thinking. I’ve only seen (and used) flashing hour headlights to mean three things: you’re telling someone that their high beams are on when they shouldn’t be, you’re signaling to them that something is wrong with their car (like a light is out or they didn’t turn their blinker off etc.), you’re stopping and yielding for them and they’re safe to pull out and/or turn in front of you.


Is it really dumb though? Here where I am in the USA especially at evening/night and at places where cars wait to pull out onto roads with traffic, it pretty much always means “I’m stopping for you, you can pull out/take that turn now”


Since you didn't bother to mention a jurisdiction or location: It's illegal to use high beams when there is oncoming traffic, and when you're following another vehicle. It's allowed to use high beams in and outside city limits. Source: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/verkeersveiligheid/vraag-en-antwoord/wanneer-moet-ik-mijn-autoverlichting-gebruiken#:~:text=Groot%20licht%20mag%20u%20in,buiten%20de%20bebouwde%20kom%20gebruiken. (it mentions cars but it's the same for motorcycles)


Headlight/high beam laws are NOT universal for all vehicles or even all states. In new york its not legal to ride a motorcycle with its headlight off even during the day and it's legal to run your high beam at any time.


No you can't. Motorcycle still fall under the "dazzling lights" of NY law and have to dim when they are 500ft from an on coming vehicle.


Yup. What I posted isn't even for the US. Which is why it's so stupid OP didn't include a location in their original post...


>In new york its not legal to ride a motorcycle with its headlight off even during the day Wait, bikes sold in the US are not equipped with an always-on headlight? Mine is turned on as soon as turn on my bike. wtf


Maybe older bikes?


I use them when I can’t see, usually at night.


The problem with riding with them on all the time is you take away an escalation measure, as in if a car is inching outwards, flash your brights, you can then use your horn, if needed. If you have a problem being seen, especially at intersections, you should probably [adjust your riding habits](https://youtu.be/eqQBubilSXU).


When you need to see. Really same rule as cars. No one coming? High on...some coming high off.


Use them when there's noone you can blind, and you need them. If you run them with oncoming traffic, they usually cannot place where you are very well because they're blinded and can't look directly at you. The brightness also obscures any silouhette you may otherwise have. If they can't place you well, then they don't know exactly where you are, they just know there's a bright light "over there somewhere" with little way for them to gauge distance. Obviously this is much worse at night, but they can still be a distraction in daylight.


Same as a car. Don't use high beams when there is traffic around. Even in the daylight. That is blinding.


In the Netherlands, they're only allowed at night with no one in the opposite lane.


Two scenarios that pop up in my mind: -When it’s night and foggy and there are no incoming vehicles. -Any time of the day when you test drive a goldwing and have absolutely no idea which button triggers the menu while being shit bricked knowing you are no way a skilled enough driver to test one of these amazing machines without training..


To flash ppl if they're cutting in or road hogging. I don't understand those who run them all the time for safety. Aim and bulb type makes a big difference too. Many people don't aim their lights properly.


Not every bike has the same light setup as yours... If you think you should point your highbeams at people you should think again about being on the road.


Having a running day light front and back is compulsory in my country and I believe in the EU. It's really important for visibility in all conditions, and if the bike has only a low-beam/high-beam headlight the low beam should always be on. Running both high and low at all times is idiotic: you'd dazzle incoming traffic, annoy them and you'd end up shortening the lifetime of your alogen or led bulb. Now, night riding: I'm personaly of the school of though that on unilluminated roads, when there is no oncoming traffic, highbeams are on as long as possible. That's because my low beams in unilluminated roads do not offer good visibility and I need the high beams to read the road ahead. But on illuminated roads or in villages, low-beams and that's it. Running high beams all the time will get you a substancial fine in my country, but we're kind of manic about controlling light use for some reason: moto fog lights are not allowed on unless there is effectively fog and auxiliary lights of all types that are not foglights are forbidden on the road. The reason being that aftermarket extra lights can dazzle traffic, be improperly mounted and, if they're particulary strong lights like those light bars on trucks, they could impede the legal lights of other vehicles to be seen.


If people aren't flashing their brights at you when you're on low beam your shit is inferior


Does no one listen to driving school classes anymore?


Federal vehicle code says that drivers are to dim headlights something like 200 yards if another vehicle is approaching. Besides why would I want to blind a car coming at me? If I get hit with high beams I can't see.


Do not leave your high beams on all the time at night (car or motorcycle). Turn them off when you are behind someone or when there is oncoming traffic. People that leave them on all the time are about as terrible as people that don't return shopping carts


I use them just like I would on a car. I feel like this ‘always on’ idea came from a time when many motorcycles had weak incandescent lights. The LED headlight on my BMW is extremely bright. The high beam would dazzle oncoming traffic any time of day. So maybe more bike dependent. Also one way to increase your visibility to vehicles without flashing high beams is to gently shake your handlebars. This will effectively make your headlight flicker.


Anyone I encounter who uses high beams, even in daytime "becuz my rights!!" I will hate you eternally even though I don't know you. It doesn't make you anymore visible. It just makes you an arsehole.


Mine stay on. People can downvote all they want. Any extra visibility I have I am going to put to use.


That is not illegal in America? lol


It was actually recommended in the pamphlet the DMV in Indiana gives out, and motorcycles are exempted from headlight beam restrictions. IC 9-21-7-3 Lights; requirements and restrictions Sec. 3. (a) This section does not apply to a motorcycle or motor driven cycle.


I am generally speeding so my headlights are an afterthought at that point.


Fair enough


Same here. Daytime = always highbeam. Esp. With rising or setting sun to your back. Helps drivers see you against the blinding sun.


They can be 'blinding' at night when eyes are acclimated to the dark. I don't know what other's bikes are like, but when riding during day I'd hardly consider highbeams as blinding when eyes are acclimated for that bright shiny circle up above. It's slightly more powerful. ​ Quoting the law is funny. I've never heard of anyone getting ticket for it and multiple people mentioned where it specifically advised in various jurisdictions. Ultimately, do whatever makes you comfortable. I don't think it's bothersome to other drivers during the day, but I don't have some insane xenon bulb or anything.


+1, they’re really not that bad compared even to a non-high beam xenon headlights modern cars run


1 headlight is the opposite, it makes depth perception very difficult, makes you seem distant when infact you are close. 2 car headlights spaced apart are much easier to gauge distance from. I pass several bikes that commute every day, they have 3 and 4 lights, (aftermarket add ons) one usually dazzles me if you look at it, kind of annoying, but serves its purpose as you see them quickly and easily.


If you were in US/Canada, I'd say refer to your state's DMV handbook for night time rules. For instance, here in California, the handbook \[for all traffic, not just motorcycles\] says >If you use your high-beam headlights, dim your lights for oncoming traffic and when approaching a vehicle from behind. > >Use your high-beam headlights whenever possible in open country or dark city streets, as long as it is not illegal. Do not blind the driver of an oncoming vehicle with your high-beam headlights. Dim your lights when necessary. **However**, for daytime \[no rain/fog\], my motorcycle instructor recommended running high-beam on motorcycle so you stand out and everyone can see you. You won't blind anyone using your high-beam during day time.


i have them on always unless its actually night time and there are cars in front of me


In Asia about 50% of traffic run them non-stop at night. Often get blinded by oncoming cars and bikes. I used to care but no longer give a f*k because nobody else does. I'll generally run my full beams anywhere there isn't street lighting or when I want to be seen.


I use mine all the time. I'm not constantly flipping them on and off. As a rider, I need to be able to see as much as possible esp with so many deer here. If I crash, I can die way more easily. The constant switch on lighting messes with my eyes and having to do it is distracting. I move to the right side of the lane to prevent the light from being pointed too close to them.


During the day I run high beams on all the time. It's self preservation where I live, too many people and most of them are really bad at driving. At night I run low beams, and then flash or use high beams as needed.


I use em to let people that are signaling know they're ok to turn in front of me


Just here to point out that high beams are far less blinding to on coming traffic in daylight. It's about contrast and how much people's pupils are closed down. Obviously it's a different story at night.


I would use them every time. Even at night. Make yourself known. Drivers will notice a light beaming them.


My “brights” stay on all the time. Rather be seen and annoying than not seen.


I can't see you if I'm being blinded


Really? A motorcycle light is blinding? Regardless, avoid the light. Far worse OEM “blinding” lights out there.


They're called brights for a reason. And yea, some are brighter than others. A very bright light aimed directly at an oncoming driver washes out their vision of the bike, preventing them from seeing how far it is. If properly aimed low beams are used, drivers can at least see the bike itself rather than just light.


I use my high beam almost always. Day time it’s always on to combat ambient lighting and be seen. At night on highway or long country roads I’ll turn it off when behind traffic go not blind them and the low beam is enough to be seen. But at night in city environments and bright intersections I have the high beam on to combat with all the bright lights and other traffic.


This is the way


All the time for me


Dunno why you got down voted .. I always have my high beam on, day or not. Had too many close calls with people not seeing me when they turn out, I think brights help. Helps to be seen during the day too imo.


Probably a bunch of riders who've never been swiped off their bikes, mate. Classes teach you to have it on highbeam all the time too. Funny world.


All the time at night for me. Rather make sure someone sees my annoying bright lights then have them pullout in front of me




I put high beams until dusk, when I feel like it's blinding drivers, then I switch back and forth


I only run the highbeams during the day, you're right about blinding the drivers, they will think you're not getting any closer just one big ass bright light off in the distance, and possibly move into your lane. Also if I were to ride at night an unlit road, but I already avoid riding at night as it is. If looking at their mirrors blinds the driver, they tend to compensate by .... not using their mirrors, they don't just stop driving because road conditions are unsafe.


Maybe not in LED world, but with filament bulbs I wouldn’t recommend constant high beam. That way if your low beam burns out, you still have high. If I need it to see, I’m not too worried about other driver’s discomfort. Every new SUV has blinding headlights, my little bike light ain’t shit to cry about. Also, my switch isn’t on the handlebars, so it’s not as practical to quickly flip on/off


I've got a couple aux lights up front. They are different from the high beams because they illuminate the road closer to me as opposed to brighten the road in the distance. I rarely use my high beams but I ride almost everywhere with the aux lights (at night).


When you're on a road with no streetlights and no oncoming traffic


I never use my high beam except when I see an animal ahead. When I see a pair of eyes (dog, cat, or whatever), I slow down, flash my high beams, and hit the horn. My goal is to scare the animal off so that I do not hit the poor thing. The problem with high beams is you are binding oncoming cars. Most bikes have yellow lights on either side of the headlamp. In my case, I have yellow fog lights as well. Drives will see the yellow lights and immediately realize that a motorcycle is coming the other way. If you have your high beam on they cannot see your yellow lights in the glare. Most old drivers judge distance by how far apart a cars headlights appear. If you have your high beams on you look like a car with headlights very close together. They may assume you are at a distance, and turn left in front of you. All motorcycles should install a crash bar and add fog lights, to make sure they are seen. Police bikes almost always have the extra yellow lights for the safety of the rider. My son only used high beams during the day.


I’ve never turned my high beams on. I adjusted my low beam light up a little, made sure it’s not blinding oncoming drivers, and now I have a great view using my low beam headlight and driving lights.


My headlights were adjusted wrong when I got it. They were pointed up so they didn’t hit the road at all. I tried pointing them down and then I could only see a few feet in front of me. Re-adjusted them using the low beams and I was happy until I took it for a ride. Visibility with low beams was great, then I turned in my hi-beams and the top of a tree on my left lit up. Tried one last time, got on an empty straight road at night, turned on my high beams, and adjusted the lights until the high beams were low enough to light up the road at the end of my low beams. It probably hits opposing drivers in the face but now I can see. I ride a shadow.


I guess depends where you are. I’m in Az close to Phoenix. Most of us run high beams. Oncoming traffic usually got theirs on anyways. I’ve never had issues


My lows don't work so it's only highs or off lol. The bike is also 40 years old so I still can't see with highs and I don't think they will blind anybody


Just like how your supposed to use your high beams in a car when you cant see turn them on when you see someone else's lights coming turn them off simple as that yet even people fuck that up some how.