Winter Riding Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

When winter comes around, many riders temporarily retire their bike, putting it in storage until spring comes around. This course of action is highly recommended; motorcycling in bad weather can be treacherous and, even worse, very dangerous. If not riding your motorcycle for the duration of winter is an option for you, we'd suggest that you consider it.

However, we understand that some riders are going to use their motorcycles throughout the winter, whether out of necessity or choice. If you're part of this group, then you have more concerns than just staying warm. In order to stay safe – and out of the hospital bed – this winter, follow the tips below:

  1. Wear the right gear. Discomfort can lead to distraction which in turn can lead to bad decision making. Therefore you want comfortability as well as protection. Look for apparel with breathability and waterproofing. Also, wear a tightly-sealed helmet with a fog-free faceshield. Just don't go overboard with the layers – you want to be able to keep your arms loose and flex, not stiff.
  2. Windproof, windproof, windproof. It really can't be emphasized enough. Chilly winds can be killer without the right protection. As mentioned before, wear windproof clothing. For further protection, add a windshield to your ride if you don't already have one. If the breezes are getting under your clothes, stuff newspaper on your chest between layers; this may sound like a slapdash solution, but it actually works really well!
  3. Good boots are key. Drop the sneakers – get a decent pair of boots. As long as your boots fit well, are made of waterproof material, and cover the ankle, you're solid. If you need extra insulation, you can always wear extra socks.
  4. Good gloves are also essential. Your gloves should have adequate insulation and pre-curved fingers, as well as fit well and completely cover your wrists.
  5. Don't get foggy. You want your vision to remain as clear as possible. To prevent your breath from fogging up your visor, wear a half-mask inside your helment over a wind-proof balaclava. This way, your breath will escape without causing condensation.
  6. Don't let hypothermia sneak up on you. Don't shrug off the early symptoms like slow reflexes, cloudy thinking, and uncontrolled shivering - or you could get into trouble, fast.
  7. If snow starts falling, go home. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you're far from home, call a friend or relative for a pickup. When you ride on snow, you're rolling the dice. Don't take your chances.

Riding in the winter may be far from a breeze, but these tips will help you keep your cool and rack up more miles throughout chillier months.

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