With the winter months quickly approaching, many motorcycle owners are storing away their bikes and breaking out their winter vehicles. Just because the temperatures drop doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your motorcycle. However, you need to consider certain things to keep yourself safe during the winter months. Let's look at five tips to keep in mind for winter motorcycle riding.
Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips
Dress For Comfort & Safety
Before hopping on your motorcycle, you should always consider dressing with safety in mind. This can include pants, padded gear, and a helmet, just to name a few. We know that not all motorcyclists wear padded gear or a helmet, but when it comes to winter riding, these should be at the top of your list. Not only does it help keep you warmer as temperatures start to drop, but it also adds protection for the increased risk of accidents associated with winter riding. Pick comfortable protective gear that will keep you warm to be ready for the colder months.
Prep Your Motorcycle For Winter Driving
Just like a car or truck, you will want to ensure that your motorcycle is prepped for winter driving. This can include checking your tire tread, ensuring your tires are at the right PSI, your oil is changed, and your brakes are working properly. This will help keep your motorcycle safer on the road while helping to prevent an unexpected breakdown that can leave you stranded in the cold.
Keep An Eye Out For Winter Road Hazards
While riding your motorcycle, you must keep a keen eye for road hazards that most cars and trucks can simply run over. Even the smallest piece of tire on the road can cause you to lose control of your bike. In the winter months, you will have additional hazards you will need to watch for, including downed limbs, snow patches, slush, and, most importantly, black ice.
Have A Backup Plan
Winter riding can be full of surprises, depending on where you live, and so can the weather. As a motorcyclist, it is always a good idea to have a backup plan, so you are not stuck in the winter without a vehicle. Having a spare vehicle is something most motorcyclists have already, but it's important to make sure that it is ready to drive at a moment's notice if the weather gets too bad to ride your motorcycle. Also, having a good motorcycle roadside assistance plan can be a lifesaver, literally, if you happen to have an unexpected breakdown or collision in the winter.
Increase Following Distance & Visibility
Lastly, you will want to follow the same basic guidelines of driving a car or truck in the winter by increasing your following distance and visibility. While on a motorcycle, you are much smaller than the average car, so it may be harder for motorists to see you easily. Ensure that you are staying as visible as possible with bright colors, keeping your headlights on, and staying in the line of sight of drivers in front of you. Increasing your following distance will allow you to have more time to stop, especially in slicker conditions where cold tires may not have the same traction as warm tires.