Motorcycle enthusiasts relish the exhilaration and freedom that riding offers. Few other experiences can equal the profound connection with the open road, which explains why the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles reports over 364,000 registered motorcyclists in the state.
In addition to the expected hazards that come with traveling on a sunny day, precipitation like rain and snow makes a ride even more dangerous. However, riders can end up in circumstances where they have no choice but to take to the road when the weather is less than ideal. In such cases, motorcyclists should remember key tips when riding in inclement weather.
Gearing up appropriately
When gearing up for a motorcycle ride in rain or snow, the right gear is indispensable. Riders should have a well-fitted rain suit, gloves, boots and maybe even a waterproof electric heated vest.
High-visibility gear is particularly necessary in reduced conditions. While TxDOT is encouraging drivers to be more observant and aware of motorcyclists with its “Share the Road” campaign, riders can make it easier to avoid a collision with reflective or bright-colored clothing.
Helmets should have anti-fog visors and electric defrost for clear vision. Motorcyclists should try to find a balance between warmth and practicality and consider multiple layers for changing temperatures. Having a change of clothes for commuting is a smart move.
Riding as smoothly as possible
Smoothness is key when riding in bad weather. To aid in this, many modern motorcycles have rain modes to reduce power and enhance control.
From throttle adjustments to braking and cornering, every move should be deliberate and smooth. Riders should minimize lean angles to avoid sliding on slick surfaces. It is also wise to stay upright as much as possible, increase following distances and use the engine for deceleration instead of the brakes.
Taking more precautions with intersections and roads
Intersections become riskier in wet conditions due to oil spots, slick painted lines and distracted drivers. Riders should approach slowly and keep lean angles minimal. Roundabouts also need extra caution.
Manhole covers, tar snakes, painted lines and fallen leaves can be like black ice when wet. Motorcyclists do well to stay vigilant and avoid these problem areas. Furthermore, experienced riders avoid standing water, especially in the left lane on freeways, to prevent hydroplaning.
Riding a motorcycle in rain or snow demands extra precautions but is not necessarily impossible. By following these principles, riders can more confidently navigate through challenging weather.