Two people riding a motorcycle just before winter hits

As the seasons change and it becomes colder, many riders opt to keep their bikes out of storage, riding them year-round. With cold weather, many aspects of motorcycle riding change, causing challenges for both new and old riders alike. If you plan to skip winterizing your bike so that you can ride it in the cold, there are a few things you should consider before taking your motorcycle on the road.

During the fall and winter months, you should plan on riding at a lower speed than normal. Traveling at a reduced speed will give you more time to respond to the hazards around you. Riding at a lower speed will also make it easier for you to stop your bike in a shorter distance than normal. This can help you brake safely, especially when traction is affected by things like fallen leaves, rain or ice.

Road conditions can greatly deteriorate in colder weather. If you’re riding in temperatures close to or below freezing, you should always be aware of the possibility of black ice, which is very hard to see until you’re nearly on it. It’s best to avoid routes that are known for having black ice or that may not be cleared after it snows. Even salt or sand used after snowfall can become slippery after accumulating. Fallen leaves can cover hazardous problems like potholes, so be extremely cautious when riding through an area when you can’t see the road completely.

You’ll want to modify your following distance as well in cold weather. Normally, a lot of riders use a two- second following distance rule. In the fall and winter, the cold can slow your reaction time. You’ll want to increase that distance so that you have more time to react. The conditions on the road may make other drivers react dangerously, making it best to keep your distance. Visibility is very important as well. You’ll want to be able to see as far ahead as possible and you’ll also want to make sure that you are visible to others on the road. Wear bright colored or reflective gear to give other drivers the best chance to see you.

Being prepared for the challenges of riding in cold weather will give you a better chance of having a safe and enjoyable ride. Make sure that you ride with caution and that you’re always doing the most to stay seen by others on your bike. Hupy and Abraham has supported motorcycle safety for decades and promotes rider awareness with the firm’s “Watch for Motorcycles” message. Hupy and Abraham is a law firm proud to help riders. If you’re injured while riding, call Hupy and Abraham right away. We’ve collected over $1 billion for over 70,000 injured people.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.