How to ride a Motorcycle in bad weather conditions

It is that time of year again when we are faced with rain and snow, wind and the cold which in turn leads to difficult riding conditions (not that we get many perfect days for motorcycle riding in the UK anyway!).

Whilst much of the advice and consideration you can find is given to car drivers, not many writers consider how difficult poor weather conditions are for motorcycle riders. Below are our top tips for riding your motorcycles during these wintry months.

Stay alert

Poor weather conditions affect everyone, but as a motorcycle rider you are more at risk on the roads. Take care when riding this winter by using your lane, adjusting your speed and giving yourself enough space. Stay alert and ride well within your limits.

Road surface

When it rains it is not always easily possible to detect the conditions of the road surface. It may also be the first rain for some time and therefore dirt and oil which has no doubt been spilt previously has not been washed away. On the other hand we may have had a lot of rain which means the road may cover pot-holes and other hazards that have suddenly become invisible or just difficult to see – so take care when riding, cornering and braking.

If you can see a smooth line which avoids any obstacles, follow that line and you should be able to track safely through. If you are unable to avoid the obstacle, try to remain calm. The worst thing you can do is tense up and shut the throttle.

Aquaplaning

Yes this can happen to a motorcycle too (btw, don’t ride on slicks in the bad weather!); however the risk is a lot less than when driving a car. If you are unfortunate to be in this situation, carefully adjust your speed. Also whilst it may be tempting to have 190+ width tyre to your motorcycle for stability, but bear in mind you could be more at risk of aquaplaning with this wider style of tyre.

Visor

Make sure your visor remains clear and clean at all times. If it is dirty and it rains, your view is hindered considerably and will make riding more difficult.

Rider visibility

You know that other road users can’t see you at the best of times, so bikers need to be more visible than anyone else. Please ensure that you wear bright reflective clothing, and keep those lights on; and let’s hope that drivers have properly demisted their windscreens before they set off!

Signalling

Again, you know that other road users can’t see or anticipate your intentions, so try to ensure that you signal early giving other road users enough time to understand what you intend to do.

Tyres

Check your tyre pressures to make sure they are suitable for winter riding. Chances are that you’ll need to put a little more air in your tyres when it gets cold to maintain the pressure.

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