Surviving the Winter on a Motorcycle – Guest Post

 

Today, I’m excited to introduce Gina Williams to you as our guest today.  Gina is passionate about motorcycle safety, and I asked her to give you some safety tips for winter motorcycle riding.  How does that fit with survival, you may ask?  Great question :)  Bikes are a great survival tool to maneuver around and through traffic in both evacuation scenarios, and if roads have experienced trauma, but those situations don’t always happen during the warm summer months.  Here are Gina’s tips on winter safety:

Winter conditions are some of the worst for those that love to ride motorcycles.   Some motorcyclists even cease riding altogether during the winter months due to its harsh conditions; the most common months for riding are between May and the fall.

However, for those whose only vehicle is a motorcycle, or those who refuse to let weather get in the way of their fun, here are some tips for surviving the winter on a motorcycle.

Adjust Your Riding Gear

No matter what time of the year it is, you should always wear the right gear:

  • Protective gloves and shoes.
  • A protective jacket and pair of pants, or a full-riding suit.
  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet, at all times.

The winter, however, requires that you wear heavy winter clothes in addition to your protective clothes.  So you must make sure that either you have gear specifically for the winter or that your all-year gear can accommodate this additional bulk.

In particular you will need to:

  • Utilize a pair of waterproof winter gloves, which have an insulating liner; hands and fingers tend to be the extremities that get the coldest when riding.
  • Add wind deterring clothing to your helmet; use a beanie, scarf, and/or ski mask to protect your face, head, and eyes while riding.
  • Layer your clothing to ensure you retain adequate heat.
  • Wear waterproof riding boots.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing to make yourself visible to other drivers; snow can decrease motorists’ visibility, and as many non-winter accidents are caused by motorists not seeing a motorcyclist, decreased visibility during the winter may increase your chances of not being seen.  Thus it is imperative that you are as visible as possible to other motorists.

During the winter you will want to be completely covered, from head to toe, to protect yourself from the cold, wind, and snow.

Make Sure Your Tires Are Ready

If you live in very cold conditions during the winter, it is imperative that you acquire winter tires.  These tires are specifically designed to stay flexible despite the low temperatures, which causes ordinary tires to become hardened and less capable of gripping the road.  Grip is imperative in winter conditions, and the threads and grooves on winter tires differ from normal tires to help motorcycles better grip the road.  Additionally, you may want to consider purchasing studs or chains if you live in particularly harsh winter conditions.

Take Extra Precautions

If you’re riding in the snow or ice, be extra cautions.  Ride slower than you normally would and keep in mind that falling rain and snow, as well as snow and ice on the ground, make riding more dangerous.  Also keep in the mind that said conditions affect the motorists around you; thus, you should be as mindful as possible to your surroundings to protect yourself from others’ mistakes or misfortunes.

Know When to Fold

When it comes down to it, your safety is the most important part of riding.  If the conditions are so bad that it is impossible, or nearly impossible, to ride, then don’t.  You need to understand that at some point it becomes not about your skill level or experience, but about it simply not being safe to ride.  Sometimes, you need to just let winter win.

 

Gina Williams is a guest post and article writer bringing to us tips for surviving the winter on a motorcycle.

Gina also writes articles on motorcycle safety, which feature motorcycle accident pictures.

Image: Jon Whiles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net