With the changing of the seasons, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for all conditions. If you intend to ride your motorcycle this season, here are some safety tips that will help you continue to enjoy the thrill of the road.
Don’t ride during an active snowfall
One of the most important things to remember when riding your motorcycle in the winter is to not ride during an active snowfall. Even if you are dressed appropriately and have a good grip on the road, it is still very dangerous to ride in these conditions. Wait until the snowfall has stopped and the roads have had time to clear before riding.
Park your motorcycle in a safe and dry place
If you ride your motorcycle in the winter, make sure you park it in a safe and dry place when you’re done riding for the day. This is especially important if it has been snowing, as now more than ever moisture from the road and air will accumulate on your bike. If you don’t have a garage to park your bike in, try to find a covered area that will protect it from rain and snow.
Don’t ride thirsty or hungry
Make sure you never leave your home on a motorcycle when you are thirsty or hungry. Riding in these conditions can cause dehydration and loss of concentration, which is dangerous for everyone around you. If you feel the need to refuel your body, stop and grab a quick snack and drink before continuing.
Make an occasional pit stop to warm up
If you ride a motorcycle in the winter, you’ll likely be riding longer than usual due to slower speeds. Be sure to take regular breaks during your ride to warm up and refresh yourself. This will help you stay alert and focused on the road.
Keep your speed in check
If you ride your motorcycle regularly in the winter, practice riding at slower speeds. Not only will this prevent you from slipping, but it will also increase your visibility and reduce the risk of accidents.
Make sure you keep a greater distance from other vehicles
Since riding a motorcycle in the winter is slower and more dangerous, make sure to always follow other vehicles at a greater distance. If they have to stop suddenly or lose control of the road, you will have enough time to react accordingly.
Use anti-fog eye protection
When you drive in cold weather, your breath and body heat can fog up your glasses. Make sure you use anti-fog helmet visors or goggles to prevent this so you can maintain vision on the road.
Wear the appropriate layers of riding gear
Layer 1: Base layer with full leg and long sleeves.
The base layer is the foundation of your riding gear. Make sure you wear a baselayer with long legs and long sleeves to keep your skin covered and protected from the cold. Thermal or dry underpants are an affordable and easy to find option for your base layer.
Layer 2: Middle Layer
The middle layer is important to keep you warm and comfortable while riding. This can be a fleece, down jacket, or other type of lightweight insulated coat.
Layer 3: Waterproof outerwear
The final layer is your riding jacket and pants. Make sure you wear a riding outfit that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable so you can stay warm but also regulate moisture on your body. If it’s freezing outside or snowing heavily, consider wearing an extra pair of riding gloves under your regular riding glove for added warmth.
You may also want to purchase a pair of ear warmers designed for use with motorcycle helmets. These fit more comfortably, don’t clash with the look of your headgear, and keep your ears from hurting in the cold air.
As with warm weather, also be careful not to ride without a helmet. Doing so could put your life in danger in the event of a skid, accident or car crash. Buy a helmet that is at least DOT certified for head protection.
Make sure your bike is well maintained
Before riding your bike in the winter, perform all necessary maintenance. This includes checking tire pressure, fluid levels and chain tension. Some key things to look out for are:
- Physical damage to the motorcycle
- Fluids and fuel
- Condition of your tires and brakes
- Chain tension
If any of these maintenance issues arise and you can’t fix it yourself, schedule a professional service with a nearby motorsports dealer. They can help you get your bike back in great riding condition so you can stay safe on the roads this winter.
Keep your tires warm
Cold tires don’t grip the road as well. To warm them up, accelerate your bike and brake a few times to generate heat from friction on the road. The engine will continue to provide ambient heat around the outside of the tires.
Watch out for black ice
Black ice is a thin layer of frost that freezes on roads in the early morning hours. It is common in winter driving conditions and can be difficult to see when riding a motorcycle on the road. If you see black ice ahead, slow down immediately so you don’t lose control or slide off the road.
Have a towing service in case of emergency
If an emergency does occur while riding your motorcycle in the winter, it’s important to have a reliable towing service on hand. This will ensure that you get the help you need as quickly as possible and minimize further damage to your bike. Look for a towing company in your area that offers motorcycle-specific services.