Cold Weather Tips for a Safer Motorcycle Ride
It seems like every year you’re forced to cover up your Harley earlier and earlier. Last year, your bike was put away before Thanksgiving. This year, if the colder weather continues, you’ll be lucky to get a few more rides in before Halloween. Although you absolutely love taking your motorcycle out for even a short ride around town, the temperature change makes it harder to stay comfortable, while also staying in control.
You don’t want to be unsafe, but you’d really love to have more than a few months of open road freedom. Is there anything you can do to prolong your motorcycle season, without endangering yourself or others?
Prepping Your Ride for Cool Weather
Motorcycle traffic significantly decreases around mid-October due to worsening weather conditions. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that more and more riders are beginning to refuse to yield to Mother Nature. Since it appears that the ideal riding weather has been cut short for the past few years, motorcyclists have begun to risk the cooler weather in order to make their riding season worthwhile.
Although riding in the winter can be difficult, and a little scary, you too can safely prolong your ride into the winter months. The following tips will help you prep your bike, your riding, and yourself in order to stay comfortable and safe while accruing more ride miles throughout the colder months:
- Check your tires. Cold weather can affect your tire pressure, causing you to lose traction control. Riding helps increase heat in the tires, but even the briefest stop can quickly cool the tires back down. Before setting out on your ride, always make sure that you check your tires’ air pressure, treads, and overall look to make sure they are in top physical condition.
- Baby your bike. When not riding, make sure you keep your bike clean, dry, and well maintained. Winter roads can be difficult to traverse on their own without the added dangers of an ill-cared for bike. If there is something not functioning well, leave your motorcycle at home until you can get it fixed.
- Watch out for winter roadway hazards. Road salt, fresh cracks in the concrete due to temperature changes, and black ice can be extremely dangerous for your traction. Salt not only corrodes metal, but can also get stuck in your tires’ grooves, preventing adequate grip. Deep cracks can cause you to lose control, jump, or swerve, and black ice can lead to treacherous slides and skids. Always be wary of your surroundings, especially when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Increase your riding distance. Roads can quickly become slippery, and if you’re riding too close to the car in front of you—you may not have the adequate braking room to stop. Keep at least three car lengths between you and surrounding traffic at all times.
- While riding in the winter, increase your visibility and space. Increasing visibility simply means looking further down the road, helping you recognize hazards before they occur. Increased visibility allows you to react to a potential threat well in advance, and this is more than needed in winter when traction is limited from the cold roads.
- Check weather conditions. If the forecast calls for snow, leave your bike at home. Snow, ice, and slush can accumulate quickly, providing the slickest conditions. Even if there is a slight chance of snow falling, don’t attempt to ride.
- Protect yourself. Wet snow, windchill, and freezing temperatures can quickly soak into your skin and cause your body temperature to drastically fall. One of the biggest risks for motorcycling in the winter is frostbite and hypothermia, so make sure you have the proper gear.
Know Where to Turn When Mother Nature Bites Back
One of the worst and most dangerous aspects of weather, is its unpredictability. One second it is a lovely brisk day, ideal for a quick spin around town, and the next moment, you’re ankle deep in a snow drift. Unfortunately, it is this unpredictability that can cause you the most harm. Not only must you fight against the weather, but you must also fight against traffic—traffic that probably doesn’t expect to see a motorcycle out in a blizzard.
When Mother Nature turns on you, fight back. Contact us today if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident due to weather induced reckless driving. Just because nature may have caused the circumstances, doesn’t mean there is no one else to blame for your injuries. Call now for a free consultation and review of your case. We owe it to our clients to help them get what they deserve, and you owe it to yourself to get the proper representation, advice, and support.
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