You don’t have a problem riding your bike in cold weather—until the snow gets really bad. You have your winter gear: lots of layers, long sleeves, and thick socks. You don’t want to switch to your car until your body really can’t handle it. But what if your bike gives in before you do?
Winter Roads Place Many Motorcyclists at Risk of a Crash
Motorcycles are at a significant disadvantage when roads turn slippery. Their tires do not provide the same grip that cars do—and with only two wheels, they are more likely to skid out of control when a biker strikes a patch of ice. If you are planning on riding your bike on wintry roads, follow these tips to reduce your risk of a crash:
- Check the surface. Ice isn’t the only danger lurking on the road surface in winter. Mud, snow, and gravel can all cause tires to slide or sink, while salt on the roadway can signal unreliable traction. Snow plows often leave deep tire treads that can swallow your front wheel. Bikers should also look out for patches of black ice, which may look like wet pavement.
- Choose your path. When plotting your course over a snowy patch of road, remember that snow and ice will melt faster on some sections of a road than on others. Avoid the extreme sides of bridges and overpasses, as the sun is less likely to reach these areas and may contain hidden patches of ice. Try to maneuver around any smooth road surfaces, such as painted lane markings and manhole covers, as they will be more slippery than the pavement.
- Take your time. If there is no way to avoid riding on a slippery surface, sit straight up and ride as slowly as possible through the area. If the road is so slippery that you are traveling less than five miles per hour, let your feet skim along the sides of the bike. This way, if you start to wobble, you can catch yourself before the bike falls. If you need to brake, squeeze slowly to avoid a sudden skid.
- Go around. The easiest way to avoid a crash on a slippery road is simply to find a safer path. You can prepare ahead of time by checking the weather forecast and planning your ride for the clearest or the warmest part of the day. If they are caught away from home when the weather takes a turn for the worse, savvy bikers often leave their bikes in storage and take a cab home instead.
If you were injured while riding your bike in the winter, we can investigate the circumstances of your crash and let you know if you are owed compensation. Click the link on this page to begin reading our FREE book, The Devil's Advocate: A Biker’s Guide to Accidents and Injuries, or contact us today to get started on your case.