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Winter Motorcycle Safety

Winter weather brings rain, snow, and ice to Illinois’ roads, all of which are significant hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcycles weigh less than cars, have a different center of gravity and a smaller tire footprint, all making them susceptible to losing traction, slipping, and skidding out of control. Although riding in wet, icy conditions isn’t recommended, here are a few safety tips if you do find yourself out on the road this winter.

Use Common Sense

Motorcycles and cars should slow down when the roads are slippery or visibility is low. Slowing down is step one to motorcycle safety. Go easy on the accelerator and give yourself plenty of time to break or make turns. Pay attention to black ice, slush, or wet leaves on the ground; these can cause you to lose control in the blink of an eye.

Be Aware of Your Traction

Tire pressure decreases in cold weather. For motorcycle tires, which already have a low tire to road surface area, low tire pressure means less traction. Check your tire pressure before every ride, especially in the morning or after prolonged periods parked outdoors.

Gear Up Right

You don’t know cold until you’ve ridden a motorcycle in the winter. Even at low speeds, the air chill is enough to inhibit your ability to react quickly to hazards on the road. Wear a full-face, DOT-approved helmet and ruggedized jacket and pants. Wear waterproof, wind-proof gloves, and consider heated gloves or handlebars to make sure your hands stay flexible and responsive.

Know When to Stop

When the snow starts to fall, park your bike. Even if you are experienced, you should be concerned about other cars. You’ll need to go very slow to keep control of your motorcycle in the snow, and most car drivers won’t appreciate that. Although they should exercise the same caution and are required to share the road with all motor vehicles, don’t chance it.

Emergency Response

If your bike won’t start or you crash, you should have it towed. But keep in mind, not all tow trucks can tow a bike. You need to find a tower with a flatbed, which can be hard, especially in adverse weather. Get the number for one in advance. Ask other bikers for recommendations or join the American Motorcyclist Association, which can provide roadside assistance in emergencies.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, consult with an experienced Arlington Heights motorcycle accident attorney. Find an attorney who is familiar with motorcycle accident cases and understands the unique challenges you may face. Motorcycle accidents can be fatal or result in traumatic injuries. When seriously injured, it’s crucial to work with an attorney who can be your advocate so you can focus on recovery.

Safety First

Winter weather conditions aren’t ideal for motorcyclists, but if you’re not deterred, follow these motorcycle safety tips to stay in control while you ride. Go slow, be wary of cars on the road, and know when it isn’t safe to ride.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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