For avid motorcycle enthusiasts, winter doesn’t necessarily mean storing the bike. Ultimatemotorcycling.com suggests that winter riding can be a passion for some. While there is no doubt that taking the bike out in a snowstorm is probably a dangerous proposition, there are people who do not own a car. Many motorcycle owners use their bikes as a primary mode of transportation all year long. If that’s you, here’s a quick recap of some important rules of the road for winter riding.
Gear Up Properly
If you’ve ever heard a weather report, you know that the actual temperature differs from the ‘feels-like’ temperature. Even moderate temperatures like 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit can feel like 20 or 30 when you add 65 mile-per-hour wind-chill to the equation. When you are riding in freezing temperatures, you should take into account wind. It’s best to wear something that covers all exposed skin.
For convenience, many riders choose coveralls that act as a jumpsuit over their regular clothing. This way, they can quickly disrobe and go into a building and be comfortable. And use a full helmet that covers your face. This is a true no-brainer. If you can’t see and your face is freezing, you can’t ride safely.
Tires Tires Tires
Just like any vehicle, the tires dictate the traction. When motorcycle tires are cold, they have less traction. Less traction means less stability and control through turns. Make sure you have the right kind of tires for winter riding. Cold weather also causes air inside your tires to constrict, meaning it can quickly lower your pressure. In short, make sure you have (1) the right tires, (2) in good working condition, (3) that are properly inflated. Also, it may be a good idea to take it easy for the first few minutes you’re on the road so that your tires have time to warm up.
Say No to Ice and Snow
Cold can be conquered with good gear and good riding. Black ice and snow are untenable conditions, even for seasoned riders. Remember, it’s not about being tough; it’s about being alive. You cannot see black ice. And with just two tires on the road, your chances of maintaining traction are reduced. With snow, visibility is terrible. You will have a very hard time seeing if you try to ride in a snowstorm.
Every winter rider needs a survival pack. If you are riding, and it starts snowing hard, you may not have the luxury of riding to the next hotel or getting home, especially if you’re far from home. Consider going to your local sporting goods or camping and hunting supply store before you ride in the winter. Pick up a few key items so you’re prepared to survive the unexpected. You can buy a pre-made kit or put one together yourself. Either way, here are a few things to keep in your survival pack:
- Sub-zero thermal emergency blanket (You can get one for as little as $5.00);
- A couple water bottles (Cold or not, you still need water);
- Instant cell phone charger with at least one good charge left;
- A few snacks to hold you over if stuck for several hours;
- Hand and foot warmers;
- Your meds (If you have medications that have to be taken regularly, make sure you keep a couple doses locked up in the saddle bag, just in case you get stranded for a while);
- Your roadside assistance number (This should be saved in your phone); and
- Some cash (in case you need a cab and they don’t take plastic).
Motorcycle Crashes in Winter
Drivers of four-wheel vehicles are not expecting to see motorcycles in the winter. So you have to be even more cautious. If you get hurt by a careless driver, you have rights. Motorcycle injuries tend to be very severe. To learn more about your rights and for a free case evaluation, contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today. There are strict time limits on filing your claim, so don’t wait too long. There is no obligation, and we collect nothing from our clients unless we recover.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.