There are around 89,000 motorcycle crashes in the U.S, many of which happen during the colder months.
Motorcyclists must take extra precautions in winter to protect themselves and others on the road. But, if you’re new to motorcycling or aren’t used to driving in cold conditions, it’s difficult knowing what to do. Maybe that’s why you’re here; you have little experience driving in winter and are searching for inspiration.
Sounds like you? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 8 tips for riding a motorcycle in winter.
Before going for a motorcycle ride, it’s important to check the weather first. Aside from signs of snow, be mindful of driving when there’s extreme winter chill because it’s uncomfortable when you’re riding at 40 miles per hour. And if the temperature has dropped further, either layer up or postpones the ride so that you don’t develop hypothermia.
Another tip for being safe is gathering the right winter motorcycle gear. Make sure you have a quality pair of winter motorcycle gloves to protect your hands from harsh elements. Find a model that has plenty of insulation and grip so you’re comfortable during the drive.
You’ll also need a motorcycle helmet with a face shield. Note, having a clear vision is essential for staying safe on the road and managing any hazards that may come your way like a blizzard.
And, as you would in winter, wear layered clothing so that there aren’t any gaps where cold air could enter. You must don a moisture-wicking base layer to prevent sweating because it will make you colder.
Get in the habit of checking your tires before hitting the road.
Although it seems minor, it will reduce the risk of getting involved in a motorcycle accident or collision. Because of this, you should get winterized tires and heat them by accelerating and decelerating quickly for several minutes. Also, it’s important to note that lower temperatures can reduce your tire pressure, so double-check that they’re pumped up for peace of mind.
Further, motorcyclists should change the oil before winter hits. This is because dirty oil contains toxins that can accelerate corrosion, which is made worse at lower temperatures. Also, don’t make the mistake of investing in a special winter blend because regular motorcycle oil will do the job.
You should also regularly check your bike’s battery before hitting the road. This needs a regular run so use a trickle charger to maintain the battery. And you mustn’t forget to check over the breaks because these can corrode in winter.
Motorcyclists who ride in winter know how dangerous visor misting can be. You can buy a specialized spray or wipes to stop misting, but make sure you apply them regularly. And keep the visor sealed at all times, especially if you wear glasses underneath the helmet.
A good rule of thumb is to always drive safely in winter, regardless of how much you’re in a rush. You should also be mindful of how you’re handling the throttle because short, jerky movements will make you less secure. Note, if your bike has a switchable traction control, activate it as it means your ECU will do the heavy lifting for you.
One of the most important rules is to avoid riding in the snow, especially if it’s just started. The problem with snow is that it can accumulate quickly, so it’s harder for your motorcycle to grip the road. To prevent any issues, don’t go riding when it’s snowing or if you can’t cancel your plans, put studded tires on the bike to make it safer.
Further, motorcyclists should be aware of black ice as it often results in horrific injuries. This is because it looks like the floor is wet when in fact, it’s a layer of ice. So, to be safe on the road, avoid any wet-looking surfaces, and don’t drive if it’s below 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
An underrated aspect of motorcycle safety is knowing your personal limits. You don’t want to drive for several hours in the harsh weather with no breaks, as you’ll quickly tire out. Instead, make frequent stops where you can grab a hot beverage or warm yourself up.
You should also load up on protein-rich meals so that you’re energized on the road. And, to be safe, don’t consume sugar or junk food that could impact your concentration levels.
As a motorcyclist, you want to be seen from a long distance away, so maximize your visibility. You should consider wearing a hi-vis jacket and always look 15 seconds ahead to prevent any crashes. Also, increase the following distance in the winter as it gives you more time to react accordingly without making an abrupt movement.
And if you’re ever in an accident, it’s wise to contact a lawyer who can guide you through the difficult process. If you need help, click the link to find out more.
Hopefully, you’re now confident about riding a motorcycle in winter.
There are many ways for motorcyclists to be safe, such as wearing the right gear and checking the bike’s tires are pumped up enough. Motorcyclists should also get in the habit of maximizing their visibility and avoid riding in the snow or over black ice. Good luck!
Good read? Awesome! Then, check out the rest of our blog for more useful tips and tricks.