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Golden Glare

Is there anything more impressive than a brilliant sunrise? The golden globe of radiant beauty cresting the horizon sends shafts of light through the morning sky to awaken the world with its dazzling rays. If filtered through dust or other particles in the air, the added reds and oranges enhance the color of the morning sky. With the panoramic view we have from the saddle of our motorcycle, we get to witness the splendor in all of its brilliance.

"Yet lurking around these impressive vistas is a threat of danger that the beauty of the moment could easily overshadow."

One thing that might top this scene is a majestic sunset. As the glowing sphere of hydrogen and helium marks the ending of the day by slipping down to the horizon, the fiery light of its rays are often scattered by the airborne dust and soot into dramatic red and orange hues that paint the sky in magnificence. The spectacular blend of rich colors overhead creates an extravagant collage of brush strokes that draws one’s breath away.

For one thing, you may already be playing the game at times; perhaps unconsciously. You may be doing things unintentionally that makes it harder for others to see you on the road. But more importantly, if you can identify better hiding spots in traffic, you can learn ways to be more conspicuous on the road. At least you can make conscious decisions about your visibility and understand the consequences those choices have for you and other drivers.

Yet lurking around these impressive vistas is a threat of danger that the beauty of the moment could easily overshadow. When the sun is rising in the East, it could be blinding us as we ride into it and making it more difficult to clearly see other pending problems developing ahead of us. We don’t gain much, however, if we’re heading in the other direction.

While we may be able to see better travelling away from the sun, the oncoming drivers on their way to work who may not yet be awake are struggling to see anything as they stare into the morning glare. Additionally, the bright sun behind us may wash out our brake light eliminating our only means of alerting those behind us that we’re stopping.

The same is true of the setting sun at the other end of the day. As it spews its majesty across the early evening or late afternoon sky, those bright shining rays steal our ability to see the early signs of developing dilemmas. Other drivers, many now heading home after a long day, have just as much trouble looking into the high intensity light emissions.

In these picturesque moments the riding environment is not ideal, but the solution is the same as for all other less than perfect conditions. We just need to ride within the limitations of our surroundings. Adjusting our speed to compensate for the reduced visibility will give us more time to deal with potential hazards.

Understanding how the glare of the sun on the horizon affects other drivers, regardless of which direction they’re going, will go a long way toward helping us modify our riding style. We may not be able to do a lot to make it easier for others to see us in the bright light, but doing what we can to avoid having to make sudden moves will reduce the likelihood of them creating unexpected problems for us.

The astonishing canopy of color at sunrise and sunset can be stunning, but we don’t have to be stunned by something we couldn’t see coming. When the sky is alight with golden radiance, we simply must be aware of the impact the golden glare has on others and fine tune our riding to allow for these less than ideal conditions.


Ride Smart! Ride Safe!