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Safety Tips for Motorcyclists in the Winter

Posted on 12/14/22

With winter about to hit full swing, it is crucial for all of the motorcyclists out there to reevaluate their safety. The wintertime can be harsh, particularly for motorcyclists who do not have as much protection from the elements or from the force of a collision. Here, we want to review some of the most important safety tips for motorcyclists to keep in mind before they hit the roadways on their bikes this winter.

Keep Your Hands Mobile

Some people underestimate just how much cold weather can affect our ability to control our hands. Maintaining dexterity in fingers and hands is a priority for motorcycle operators. Motorcyclists need to be able to grip the steering wheel, use the brakes, and shift gears, but doing all of this is much harder when hands become overly cold. We encourage individuals to use heated gloves, heated grips, and even wind guards on their bikes.

Watch for Black Ice

Black ice is a problem, as any driver knows. Black ice is even more of a problem for motorcycles that only have two wheels. Black ice is hard to spot because these areas can blend in perfectly with the pavement and may only appear as wet areas. The best way to avoid black ice is to steer clear of any wet-looking road surfaces if temperatures drop below 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watch out for Salt

There is going to be salt on the roadways during the winter months, particularly right before, during, and after snow or ice storms. Salt can lead to significant loss of traction for motorcycles. If you begin to see little tiny sparkles on the roadway or chunks building up on the side of the road, you need to be cautious. Salt tends to build up around corners, the shoulder of the roadway, and in the middle of the roadways.

Avoid Snow Covered Pavement

It goes without saying that you should avoid operating on snow-covered pavement. Even though you think it may be fairly easy to go over the snow, the reality is that you do not know what is right underneath that top layer. There could be pure ice underneath the snow that could lead to a loss of traction. Your best line of defense to avoid riding on the snow is to keep a tight eye on the local weather forecast.

Remember Your Tires are Cold

When your tires get colder, this can result in a reduction in traction, even if the pavement is completely dry and free of salt. Even though operating the motorcycle can increase the heat level of the tires, even stopping for just a minute can cool the tires again, resulting in a loss of traction when you start rolling. Please understand that it is a myth that weaving back and forth in the lane will help heat your tires up. In order to heat up motorcycle tires in the winter, the best method is to accelerate and decelerate quickly for a few moments on the road surface, but not to the point where you break laws by operating recklessly.

Prep Your Motorcycle for Winter Riding

Get your motorcycle ready for winter riding. This can include getting a bigger windscreen, hand guards, or wind deflectors. Make sure that you have fresh antifreeze that is mixed properly if you have a water-cooled motor, and change the coolant annually. Additionally, ensure that your tires are in good condition, along with any of the rubber hoses that can become brittle on the motorcycle.

Our West Chester motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help you recover from any injuries you may sustain this winter. Some of the locations our West Chester personal injury law firm serves includes Philadelphia, Downingtown, Coatesville, Berwyn, Devon, Exton, and more.