As the winter nights get colder and the dark and poor weather conditions draw in it is not just car owners that need to be prepared for the worsened conditions. Traditionally this is one of the most dangerous times of the year for motorcyclists as well, with visibility decreasing and road conditions becoming more hazardous.
Here are our top 10 tips for all you motorcyclists out there on using the roads this winter:
- Wrap up warm – Obviously one of the most obvious things about the winter is that the temperatures are dropping all the time. As a motorcyclist you don’t have a heating system that the car has so it is vital that you get some specialist winter riding gear, some suitable gloves and buying some thermal wear is probably not a bad idea either.
- Improve visibility – As the nights get darker and with heavy rain and snow expected throughout the winter period it is strongly advisable to wear high visibility clothing at all times so that other road users can see you. Other road users already have to take extra care and consideration in order to spot motorcyclists when visibility is clear so imagine the concentration they need when it is not.
- Check your lights, mirrors and tyres – As you would do with any other vehicle it is important at this time of the year more than most to ensure that your bike is in good working order and that your tyres have the correct amount of tred to deal with potentially icy conditions. Lights are also vital due to the darker evenings and you should invest in some anti misting spray for your mirrors to ensure the best visibility possible.
- Be mindful of breaking distance – This is something every road user should do anyway but in the winter the roads are a lot wetter and therefore you should allow for greater distance between you and the vehicle in front. One to avoid going into the back of a vehicle if it stops suddenly and two because when motorcycles break they produce spray which of course can be hazardous to other road users.
- Be aware of other road users – It is important to remember that it is not just you who is dealing with the worsening conditions but motorcyclists are far more vulnerable road users so it is important for everyone’s safety to be aware of other road users. Motorists have difficulty seeing motorcyclists at the best of times so be mindful that with the weather affecting their mirrors as much as it affects yours, your visibility is likely to be decreased.
- Look out for pedestrians – This sounds silly but pedestrians in the winter become less aware of the road, especially when it is raining hard or snowing. They will put their heads down to get through stronger winds and therefore when crossing the road may not be as aware of you as they usually would.
- Avoid driving in strong winds – Motorcyclists should really avoid using the roads when the winds pick up. You are much lighter than cars and therefore easier to blow over. Also if windswept objects head in the direction of a motorcycle they are more likely to cause you difficulty.
- Ice is not your friend – It is hard enough driving a car on ice but for motorcyclists this poses a huge threat to safety. Be wary of the potential for black ice and reduce speed suitably to ensure a safer ride.
- Plan long distance journeys ahead – If you do have to travel a certain distance it is important that you plan properly. This includes regular warm up breaks as you are subjected to the cold elements more and knowing your route well.
- Avoid unnecessary journeys – It is the same advice for all motorists. If you don’t really need to ride, then don’t. If you can walk then walk. If it can wait until the morning then let it wait. The winter roads are a cruel and dangerous place so don’t give it an unnecessary opportunity to harm you.
These are just some simple tips to help motorcyclists stay safe on the roads throughout the winter period. Sadly we know that other road users won’t follow them and motorcyclists are the most vulnerable to accidents as a result of this.
Hopefully you will stay safe but if you do suffer a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault and was likely due to the ignorance of others this winter time, then contact us and let injury claim specialists like ourselves help you fight for the compensation that you deserve.
1. Flickr; zombieite; https://www.flickr.com/photos/zombieite/5408565529