As we come towards the end of October and another clock change (don’t forget!) it signifies to many the reluctant end of the motorcycling season. Here at Superior Motorcycle Experiences, we wash down and pack away the fleet in the cosy bike barn for a winter hibernation, we have learnt over time that the tracks and trails we use here in Dorset get too slippery and dangerous for our guests over the winter. However we will be riding our own bikes on the road in our spare time, just as many other people will continue to do, and of course some people maintain the motorbike commute to work all year round. With that in mind, we thought it would be good to remind ourselves of some essential winter safety guidance.
Here are five things you should do to make sure your winter riding is as safe as possible in the cold and dark UK conditions:
With visibility lower, weather conditions colder and let’s face it wetter, as well as often overlooked hazards like nocturnal wildlife (we’re looking at you deer) it is really important to adjust your riding style to accommodate these. Lower your speed and increase your stopping distance, you never know when you might need it. Check your tyres
2. Check your tyres
The colder temperatures can reduce tyre pressure, so make sure you schedule in some extra time to check the condition of your tyres and rectify anything that needs rectifying. That includes changing the types to appropriate style according to the terrain, temperatures and frequency of your winter riding. Your local garage will be happy to offer advice if you’re unsure.
3. Check your brakes
Another servicing point here, but a vital one. In colder wetter conditions the roads can be more slippery than usual. Plus the salt from anti-freeze spreading can have an accumulative degenerative effect on the hardware of your brakes, so it’s important to keep them clean and make time to regularly check their condition.
4. Plan ahead
A simple but effective point. If you have a motorbike journey planned, check the routes and weather conditions before you leave. If the weather conditions are too dangerous to ride in, plan an alternative way to travel if you can. Make sure you know where you’re going and have alternative routes available in case of road closures, you don’t want to be caught out in the cold longer than you need to be.
5. Gear up
This point is two-fold: stay warm and be seen. Getting cold whilst riding can be dangerous, you can lose concentration and have less physical control over your motorcycle. Make sure you have effective safety clothing to keep you warm, particularly if you’re not lucky wnough to have heated grips! The clocks are about to change meaning it will be dark for a lot more of the daytime, one of the simplest ways to mitigate the chances of collisions is to make sure you are seen. Opt for brighter (white, or high-vis) clothing, over-jackets and helmets. Okay, they might not look the coolest, but you can save that for the summer events!
Enjoy your winter, but if you’re out there on two wheels make sure you’re doing your bit to keep yourself and other road users safe. Right then, we’re off to google extra warm gloves…