by Jill Boulton
The ability to see, and to be seen, is all-important when you’re riding or driving, isn’t it?
Pretty obvious, really – but The Highway Code treats riders and drivers quite differently.
Motorcyclists are simply advised to “always start your journey with a clean visor”.
But for drivers, the dictat goes much further than that.
The Highway Code says “windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision".
While driving, failing to keep your vision free from obstruction could land you with a fine and three penalty points. It may also mean you’re held responsible if you’re in an accident, and it could cause your car to fail its MoT.
No such rules for motorcyclists – they’re simply told to start their journey with a clean visor. There’s no requirement to keep it clean, once you’ve set off, which presumably is more important. Does this regulation help a motorcyclist’s vision and safety while they’re riding? I think not, and it’s why I would encourage all riders who care about their safety to consider using a Visorcat whenever they ride.
But why aren’t there more regulations to encourage the motorcyclist to maintain maximum vision? Motorcyclists need to see as much as, if not more than, the average road user.
The reasons are several. One of them is that of course, as a rider you can simply lift your visor, if you use one, or remove your goggles, if they become so dirty you can’t see through them. However, if you wear a full-face visor and have ever ridden with your visor up for long periods, you will understand why this is not the perfect solution. Flies for lunch anyone? But even that is preferable to a fly in your eye, which could be dangerous.
Another reason for the unequal regulations between drivers and riders is this: car drivers have access to a windscreen wash/wipe, which leaves them with few excuses when it comes to keeping the windscreen clean. The motorcycle helmet does not come fitted with the wash/wipe equivalent, hence the more relaxed advice for us, and tight regulations for them.
So, how to maximise your vison while riding? You can, of course, pull over and stop to clear you visor every time it gets dirty. But if you’re riding through swarms of flies or when the roads are dirty and wet, or salty, you will be stopping a lot if you want to maximise your vision and safety. Many riders such as commuters, tourers and professional riders, or volunteer riders such as blood bikers, would prefer not to stop if they’re on a mission. And riding at night can be even more hazardous if you can’t maintain crystal-clear vision. So that’s why a lot of high-mileage and safety-conscious riders use Visorcat, which enables them to safely wash as well as wipe the visor while riding.
Let me explain why Visorcat is a game-changer when it comes to motorcycling, aligning a motorcyclist’s vision with the squeaky-clean view the driver gets by using screenwash and wiper blades.
The big multi-coloured bug splat right in your line of sight is annoying and distracting at least, and dangerous at worst. With a glove-mounted Visorcat, you can wash it off as soon as it lands, so you can maintain your clear visor. Oily dirt that’s sometimes thrown up at your helmet will gradually build up and obscure your vision in an almost imperceptible way, especially in poor light conditions – but Visorcat prevents it from doing so. And when overtaking a large vehicle, you can be temporarily blinded by road spray from the vehicle’s wheels – but Visorcat has been described as a ‘lifesaver’ in such conditions, keeping the visor clear.
Motorcycling is a lot about freedom, which is why we wouldn’t support tighter regulations for motorcyclists. But Visorcat enables the rider to keep the visor clean while riding – the same requirement demanded of all drivers – increasing their vision, confidence and safety, and adding to the joy and freedom of motorcycling, too.
Jill Boulton is a director of Visorcat, the award-winning British-made visor wash/wipe system.