Weather and Motorcycle Riding

Weather and Motorcycle Riding

Driving a car or riding your motorcycle in poor weather presents increased hazards. Rain and snow or sleet will cause slippery road conditions and limit visibility. Any kind of precipitation will reduce the friction between your tires and the roadway making it more likely that your front brake on your motorcycle will lock and cause you to lose control of your bike.

Motorcyclists are directly exposed to rain and snow, minimizing their visibility and increasing their discomfort. This can affect judgment as well as interfering with their control of their bikes.

Being on two wheels instead of 4 makes your bike inherently unstable under any conditions. If you are speeding on a slippery road surface, you risk loss of traction, spinning out and falling over.

If you know that bad weather is imminent, postpone using your bike until after it passes. If, however, you are caught in a rain storm or other precipitation, follow these tips to avoid becoming a statistic:

  • If visibility is limited, slow down and get in the slow lane. Be sure you have enough space to slow down if the vehicle in front of you suddenly slows or stops.
  • Wear appropriate and insulated clothing, keeping your torso and head warm.
  • If on a long trip, stop every 2-3 hours to rest since riding in poor weather is taxing and stressful.
  • If in a town, stop at a restaurant and wait out the storm if you can. If it will continue for hours or overnight, consider getting a motel room.
  • A common rule is to wait 30 minutes after the rain stops before riding again. Oil from passenger cars or trucks makes riding even more hazardous, but it will dissipate enough after this time to allow for safer riding.
  • If riding in the rain, use smooth and controlled braking and try to complete turns before braking.
  • Plan ahead as to when you will need to accelerate or brake.
  • Be on the lookout for potholes, water accumulation, railway tracks, manhole covers and objects in the roadway.

Hot Weather Riding

Motorcycle riding is more prevalent in hot weather. But many riders fail to use commonsense and needlessly expose themselves to the hazards that warm weather can bring. Use these tips to avoid an accident:

  • Do not wear a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers–if you fall, you will sustain serious skin abrasions and burns that may be permanent or require extensive plastic surgery. Being covered also reduces the chance of sunburn and dehydration.
  • Stay hydrated. Avoid soda or coffee and drink water often. You can sweat profusely in traffic or by just being exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Be wary of heat-related medical conditions such as cramping and heat stroke. Riders who are obese, alcoholic or on medication are especially susceptible.

Exercising caution, wearing the appropriate clothing and having safety in mind at all times will minimize the chances of being in an accident at all times, regardless of the weather.

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