With October coming up quickly, fall weather will come with it bringing even shorter days and cooler temperatures. While this may be a favorite season of many people who enjoy the crisp air and colorful nature views, the changing seasons can also pose a significant threat to riders.
Before setting out on your next fall motorcycle ride, we encourage that you keep the following factors in mind to mitigate the risks that come along with the autumn months:
- Cold weather means cold tires: Temperatures will be dropping in the coming weeks, which means your tires will contract due to the cold making them much less effective at maintaining adequate traction. To combat this, ensure that you give your bike and tires adequate time on safe roadways to warm up to an appropriate temperature before taking on the tighter corners. We also encourage riders to check their tires’ treads and replace them as needed. Fall is no time to take a chance on bald tires.
- Fewer riders on the road: Many riders choose to put their bikes away for the season when the leaves begin to change. The presence of fewer riders on roadways across the country means that average drivers will be less accustomed to seeing and accommodating motorcycle riders. As such, we encourage riders to make themselves as visible as possible to ensure that they won’t go unnoticed (and possibly get hit) by drivers.
- Falling leaves: As we’ve discussed in previous articles, yard waste can pose a serious threat to riders if left on roadways. Fallen leaves prevent your tires from making the proper contact with the pavement to provide safe traction making for a very slick and dangerous riding surface. When approaching leaves on the roadways this fall, riders should proceed slowly and avoid them altogether if possible.
- Fewer daylight hours: With the sun rising later and setting earlier, daylight hours during the fall are much more limited than during the summer. Motorcycle riders are harder to spot than most other vehicles and coupling this with darkness can increase the danger of not being seen. To combat this, riders should always use their headlights and implement their high beams when necessary. High visibility clothing will also help ensure that drivers don’t miss you.
- Cold weather means cold riders: With riders being far more exposed to the elements, it’s essential that you dress accordingly. Cold air can numb hands and feet making quick reactions precise movements difficult. Make sure that you wear enough clothing to stay warm and keep your blood flowing to ensure that you are riding to the best of your ability.
Fall is by far one of the most beautiful times to take your bike on a long ride and enjoy the scenery. Following the tips here will ensure that everyone can do so safely. As we say often with riding tips, always use your common sense and if it seems as though conditions are too extreme to ride safely (i.e., freezing temperatures and rainfall), it might be safest to skip the ride altogether.
For more relevant tips and news for riders, please check out the other articles on our Current News for Riders page on hupy.com.