Safety tips for Fall and Winter motorcyclists

Winter riding season will soon be upon us. We’ll be turning back the clocks and it will be getting dark earlier. To motorcycle riders this means we become less visible and have to ride in harsher weather conditions.  Here are a few safety issues to help avoid motorcycle accidents.

Think visibility first: The #1 motorcycle safety tip.

Visibility is always a key issue between motor vehicles and motorcycles. Obviously as it gets darker earlier, lighting on your motorcycle becomes critical. Rear lights get lost among the cars you are following. Therefore anything a rider can do to increase lighting at the back of the motorcycle will increase the possibility of being seen.  Remember, visibility is a key in avoiding a bike accident.

Tip #2: The clothes you ride in are not a fashion statement.

Reflective striping on clothing and helmets also helps increase visibility. I’ve seen some riders with flashing LED lights that were Velcroed to various parts of the motorcycle or helmet. Although some of us may think this looks funny they certainly get everyone’s attention. This is especially true to a left turning driver who may be getting ready to turn in front of you and sees a flashing LED coming at him.  Left-turn accidents between cars and motorcycles are all too common.

Tip #3: Think about your motorcyle tire choices.

Tires are another important consideration. Lightly grooved summer tires that we all like because they give us amazing traction in turns, work against us in the rain. It’s a good idea if you’re in an area where there’s significant amount of rainfall, to switch tires to ones whose tread pattern sheds the rain easier provides increased traction on wet streets.

Tip #4: Be a dry comfortable biker.

Obviously protective clothing is important all year round but carrying a rain suit in Fall and Winter is always a good idea. Water resistant gloves are also important. A dry comfortable rider is a safer rider.  I’ve always been an advocate of fullface helmets with drop-down face shields. They keep the rain out my face, they keep the bugs off my face and they offer full protection to my jaw and teeth.

Safe riding!!