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Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Winter

By Evan L. Kaine

The colder temperatures are here, whether we like it or not. With colder temperatures, also come changes to the way in which we ride to work, events and home. For motorcyclists, this is especially important because riders are not in an enclosed area when making the commute.

If you are a rider who braves the colder temperatures during the winter months, we’re talking to you. However, if you are one to wax and winterize your ride until spring, do what you do. Riding a motorcycle in winter is no easy task; especially if the rider and passenger are not properly prepared.

The fact that we can ride year around in Georgia is considered a riders’ dream – so long as the weather cooperates. So if it does, every rider needs to be aware of the dangers that go along with it. According to DMV.org, the main concern is appropriate apparel.  The risk for hypothermia and frostbite increase exponentially if a rider is not properly covered. DMV.org suggests the following:

  1. Keep your hands and feet covered by investing in thick, insulated gloves and high-quality riding boots.
  2. Keep your torso warm. If your torso is cold, it will restrict blood flow to your hands and feet.
  3. Wind-proof your body. Make sure that the outside layer of your outfit is made of a material that will stop the wind.
  4. Seal the openings in your outfit. Don’t let air come in through the neck opening in your jacket, the sleeves of your shirt, or the bottom of your pants.
  5. Choose a good insulating material. Wool is the best for motorcyclists as it keeps heat locked in.

However, riding a motorcycle during colder months is more than just “being layered.” There are risks that riders neglect to think about when weather conditions change. A website dedicated to motorcyclists and safety; WhyBike.com, says there are eight tips to consider:

  1. Slippery Roads: The first rain or snow on roads that have been covered in oil from the summer months can be extremely dangerous to riders. The wet roads offer less traction, which compromises the grip of your motorcycle’s tires.
  2. Potholes: Potholes will fill with water, which creates an illusion to riders. From a distance, they look like puddles, but when the bike goes through the “puddle,” the pothole can seriously damage the bike and even cause the rider to suffer severe bodily injuries. Don’t ever assume you are coming up on a puddle.
  3. White Lines: Keep a safe distance from the painted white lines, as they tend to collect oil and dirt from the summer and fall seasons.
  4. Pedestrians: Those individuals walking or running across the street when blustery winds and moisture is falling tend to be looking down and not paying attention. Keep a close eye on anyone crossing the street.
  5. Speed and Corners: Make sure the centrifugal forces on the bike are minimized heading into turns and bends in the road. Ride slower to keep those forces under control. Never abruptly brake or accelerate during this time of year as the roads can be unpredictable.
  6. Tree Gum:  Trees overhanging the road get a little over sapped during summer. The mixture of winter rains and tree sap can make for a dangerous combination. Be sure to take it slow in these areas.
  7. Corrosion and Your Motorcycle: During the winter months, the salt can do a number on your bike. To avoid corrosion, make sure that you are washing the salt off of your bike. For areas of your bike that should stay dry, put Vaseline or a little grease to prevent rust.
  8. BUNDLE UP!

Changing seasons can be tricky and for motorcyclists they should be aware of the dangers the winter months present. Use these tips, before revving up the engine, and ride with caution to avoid a motorcycle accident!

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.

Published November 15, 2016
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