I’ve really noticed the drop in temperature in the past couple of weeks – particularly when I’m on my bike in the morning.
The frosty, dark mornings are a sign that winter is most definitely on its way and as if there wasn’t already enough to think about as a motorcyclist, riding in the winter brings a whole new set of challenges.
As riders, we need to make sure we have the best possible chance to ride safely in poorer weather conditions. The winter weather can cause the road surface to become slippery, especially traversing the white lines and cats eyes. Wet leaves that have fallen on the road also present a potential hazard. Other road users can themselves be a danger as they don’t always clear frost or de-mist their windscreens fully before setting off. The cold weather, particularly any ice or snow, can also deteriorate the condition of the road even further – hard to believe in some places I know!
So what can we do as bikers to help make our riding as safe as possible?
I have said it before but it is so important to ensure that we are wearing the correct gear. Not only will warm clothes make the journey more comfortable, but it is also likely to improve your reaction time and concentration.
It sounds simple but where visibility is reduced, you should reduce your speed allowing you more time to react to any hazards.
I would also advocate using an anti-misting spray on your visors, glasses and mirrors. It has been proven that in fog, rain or snow where visibility is poor, your perception of speed is distorted. It is therefore very important that you continue to check your speedo for your actual speed.
Also, look out for places where ice patches have lingered such as under tree canopies, around bridges and valley bottoms. Keeping aware of these patches may avoid sudden and unexpected skidding.
Riding in the winter can be great fun but it is important that we remember to take extra precautions. Remember, crashes are rarely caused by bad weather; they are caused by inappropriate riding for the conditions.