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Motorcycle Safety: Winter

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motorcycleRiding a motorcycle is fun for many folks, and many do not limit their ride time to the summer, spring or fall. In fact, a motorbike may be their chief mode of transportation to and from their workplace, year round. Either they do not have an operable enclosed vehicle, or they prefer to save money at the fuel pump.

If this is you, and this is your first winter with a motorcycle as your primary vehicle, there are some important safety issues to consider. Naturally, you want to avoid traveling on icy and snowy roads, as these are dangerous for pretty much everyone in inclement weather, as you are likely well aware. But if you absolutely cannot avoid Old Man Winter’s grip on the asphalt, do take precautions while traveling on your motorcycle.

Here are some basic tips for getting through your first winter with your motorcycle:

1. Have Proper Riding Gear. Just as you would layer up for a cross-country ski journey or hike, layer up for a motorbike trip as well, even if it’s just biking from home to work and back again. You’ll want a base layer with fabric that wicks away moisture, an outer layer that has waterproofing and breathability qualities and then you’ll want gloves, of course. A neck warmer is essential, as is a helmet with a fog-free face shield.

2. Have Proper Tires. Just as being stingy with car tires can be an issue, being just as stingy with motorcycle tires can be just as dicey, especially in the winter. Your tires should have more than adequate tread. Also, make sure you keep your tires heated, as cold tires can give you loss of traction. Keep your tires up to pressure, and if need be, keep to a slow speed.

3. Dealing With Snowstorms, Cracks Made by Plows and Black Ice. According to seasoned riders, road salt kills traction, and the cracks that snowplows make can also be large enough to damage your tire rims. In addition to all this, there’s the issue of black ice. If it looks like black ice, stay well away. And of course, if it starts to snow while you’re out, get home as quickly as possible.

Making the decision to ride a motorbike in the winter doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

Just be sure to get proper gear for your motorcycle, make prudent decisions concerning weather and road conditions and you’ll come through just fine.

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