Many people choose to put away their motorcycles once the seasons begin to change, and the weather starts to get colder. However, there is no reason to avoid using your motorcycle in the fall and winter as long as you ensure to take the proper safety precautions. Taking precautions against cold weather or ignoring the dangers of riding in cold weather and possibly snow could mean the difference between being involved in an accident or having a safe ride. Also, according to Philadelphia car accident lawyer Jeffrey Reiff, “Victims of a motorcycle accident have legal grounds to sue a negligent driver for damages.” So keep your legal rights in mind as you take to the roads this winter.
The following cold weather tips could help you stay safe while riding your motorcycle in the winter.
Layer Your Clothing
As you might expect, riding in the winter could be highly uncomfortable once you reach high speeds, and the wind chill begins to affect you physically. One solution to this is to layer your clothing so that you are warm while riding. Clothing that wicks away moisture would be preferable as it would ensure that sweat does not remain on your body, which would cause you to become colder while riding.
Many motorcyclists that ride in the winter understand that extremely cold weather is equally as dangerous as sweltering heat. Prolonged exposure to cold air could make you tired and dehydrated, while the wind chill will ensure that your reaction times are slowed, which is why it is important to ensure that you are properly protected.
Outfit Your Bike for Cold Weather
Riding a motorcycle in the winter means that you and your bike must be outfitted to take on the harsh climates. There are a number of accessories that you could attach to your bike that will further help you protect yourself from the cold:
- Large windscreens to block the wind chill
- Handguards to protect your fingers and hand from becoming cold
- Wind guards that could be used to keep the cold air and wind off your legs
- Fresh antifreeze if your motorcycle is water-cooled
- Foot pegs
- Ensure all your hoses are in working condition
This is not an exhaustive list. Additionally, if you are not overly concerned with the cost, you should consider purchasing heated equipment for your bike and that you could wear. For example, heated hand grips could keep your hands warm and avoid drops in finger dexterity. A motorcyclist could also obtain other heated gear such as vests, socks, or pants that could help stave off the cold.
Cold Weather Causes Reduced Traction
Whether you are riding a motorcycle or driving a passenger vehicle, you should be aware that cold weather will cause the tires of a vehicle to become cold, which will reduce traction. As a result, a motorcyclist could unexpectedly slide or lose traction when making tight turns or maneuvering through lanes. This is especially dangerous if a motorcyclist is riding after a snowstorm or heavy rainfall.
Typically, traction issues will decrease as a motorcyclist rides, and the tires begin to become warmer. However, even a minute at a red light could result in tires cooling down and losing traction again. To combat this issue, some motorcyclists have adopted tactics like swaying or quickly accelerating and hitting the brakes hard to increase heat in the tires. However, one of the most effective options is to purchase high-quality tires with sufficient tread.
When purchasing tires, you should be sure to purchase a brand that you trust and with good reviews for winter riding. Additionally, if you wish to spring for studded tires, you should be aware that laws for studded tires could vary from state to state. As a result, you should check your local laws before you decide to spend a significant amount of money on tires that could violate the law.
Avoid Salt, Black Ice, and Other Dangers to Traction
Salt is not only capable of corroding your motorcycle, but it also could dangerously reduce the traction on your motorcycle. After a snowstorm or when a city is preparing for an impending snowstorm, you can bet that the roads will be heavily salted. Whether the salt is coarse or fine, it will get stuck in the tread of your tires and reduce traction and maneuverability. As a result, you should avoid riding when snowstorms are approaching or do your best to avoid anything that resembles salt while driving.
Black ice is another issue that can cause traction problems for a motorcyclist. Many people observe black ice on the road too late, which could cause them to lose control of their vehicle and possibly crash.
It is also important to note that snow plows have the potential to cause fresh cracks in the road that could affect the tires of a motorcycle. Upon hitting one of these cracks, you could cause serious damage to your tire or to the rim of your motorcycle.
Do Not Ride in the Snow
You could risk the possibility of riding in the snow with studded tires; however, it is not worth your safety. When a serious snowstorm happens, the snowfall could quickly make the roads slick and cause motorcyclists and other vehicles to dramatically slow down to avoid an accident. Additionally, you will be exposed to harsh weather that could lead to early symptoms of hypothermia, which could affect your brain and decision-making. Always check your forecast and avoid snow or rain when you can.
Secure a Reliable Motorcycle Towing Service
Even after taking all the above precautions, you should know that riding a motorcycle in cold weather could still be unpredictable. As a result, you should search for a towing company that provides motorcycle towing in your local area. You do not want to pay hundreds of dollars in towing fees because you did not think ahead.
Winter riding requires a motorcyclist to be attentive and observant of their surroundings for hazards that are decreased or nonexistent during spring and fall. Be sure to wear your protective gear, frequently service your bike, and stay warm.