Most motorcyclists will recall that nasty sensation when their rear wheel slips on mud or wet tarmac, or when a strong wind makes riding too risky to continue. In a country such as ours, inclement weather is the constant enemy of the motorcyclist – and even more so in winter months.
But making some conscious changes to the way we ride can dramatically reduce the chances of suffering an involuntary dismount in adverse conditions.
Here are some helpful tips and information for safer winter riding:
- Keep your speed down
- Leave plenty of space between you and the next vehicle – thereby giving you more reaction time
- In very slippy conditions drive extra-slowly and be ready to steady yourself with your feet
- In slippy, muddy conditions take it easy on the throttle and stay off the front brake
- With the nights drawing in, it’s important to moderate your speed and avoid any dangerous manoeuvres
- If you feel you may have got complacent over the summer with its dry, grippy roads, you might consider taking some expert motorbike training that focuses on low-speed skills
- Wrap up warm and think about investing in some high quality riding gloves to keep your hands dry and warm
- For long rides, factor in break times to warm up and rest
- Be aware that motorists may be even less aware of you on the road in winter; they must contend with such issues as misted up windows and falling rain and snow
- Pedestrians may be hunched up against inclement weather with their collar or scarf making it even harder for them to see motorbikes on the road
- Take out a good quality motorbike breakdown cover policy so you can get the help you need following a mechanical failure
- Be aware of low winter sun and fog – and adjust your speed and riding style accordingly
- Signal earlier, giving other road users plenty of warning that you are going to manoeuvre
- Check your lights and tyres are in optimum condition and use de-misting spray on your mirrors and visor.
- Avoid riding in strong winds