Riding a motorcycle in cold weather means that you have to face challenges with extra thought, preparation, and vigilance. Riding in cold weather is all about the environment, your equipment, and your body.
When riding on slippery roads, expect a loss of traction, especially when you encounter snow and ice. Riding on roads compromised by snowy and/or icy conditions may end up putting you in traffic situations without the skills to competently deal with them. If you do make the decision to ride in snow, you may want to consider taking additional precautions such as getting studded tires, but check the laws in your state before purchasing them. And, another caveat about tires: expect a loss of traction if you’re riding on cold tires.
Be vigilant when it comes to hidden ice or frost on roads in shaded, low-lying areas. In addition, be aware that salt and other materials used to keep roads ice-free can also rob you of traction and those potholes that form from on roads as a result of the freeze-thaw cycle present another potential danger.
Getting properly prepared for a cold ride means having the proper cold weather motorcycle gear.
Three important cold weather riding tips are:
- Protect your limbs
- Protect your head
- Prepare mentally
Keeping your extremities warm is critical because, if you’re unable to operate a clutch lever or other controls because your extremities are freezing, it could have serious consequences.
If you’re going to ride in cold weather, invest some money in some heavy-duty gear including boots, pants, jackets, gloves. Heated grips are an option to consider. Opt for a standard full-face helmet with good insulation and a good, tight fit.
The proper gear not only protects you from road rash, serious injury, or even worse in the event of a crash, but it will keep you nice and warm. One alternative is to consider purchasing heated gear — pants, gloves, jackets — that come equipped with electronics that you can charge beforehand or that hook up to an equipped motorcycle.
A cold head is dangerous as well as distracting. Headaches become a problem as well as a diminished ability when it comes to making critical decisions — not a good combination when riding on winter roads.
In the unfortunate case of freezing rain or snowy conditions
If you’re going to ride when there’s a chance for inclement weather, you need to be prepared for all types of bad road conditions, so make sure your bike is in good working condition before taking it out.
And, remember that staying dry while riding a motorcycle in the rain, freezing rain, or snow means staying warm longer. Roll-top dry bags, Ziploc bags, and motorcycle bags with waterproof liners are great options for keeping extra gear dry. Extra base layers, such as Merino wool long johns, can go a long way to providing much-needed warmth. Snacking and keeping hydrated are also critical to staying warm.
If you’re going to be riding in winter conditions, you have to be constantly aware of potential hazards and that includes other drivers. If you’re involved in an accident that results in injuries, contact Inland Empire Motorcycle Law, motorcycle attorneys near you. Our attorneys are committed to ensuring that your rights are protected; we are experts in motorcycle law.