As fall comes upon us once again, and the holiday season rolls nearer, motorcyclists should be reminded of the seasonal hazards which may affect your ride.
It’s true, you should always be aware of road hazards like gravel, dirt or sand in the road, but there are seasonal hazards as well. Unfortunately, many motorcyclists aren’t fully aware of these hazards. Some of them are fairly obvious, but some of them may surprise you.
One of the safest practices for riding your motorcycle is to know the obstacles you may be facing, and learn to avoid them. Let’s take a look at some common seasonal road hazards that you might face throughout the year.
Surely most experienced motorcyclists know to avoid any piles of leaves which may have collected in the roadway. Unfortunately, too many riders, especially beginners aren’t aware of the dangers that fall leaves can pose. It just isn’t something that most novice riders think of until it is too late. Fall leaves, wet or dry can reduce a bike’s contact with the road, and a motorcyclist can easily lose control if they are unprepared. It gets worse fall leaves can also cover potholes in the road, which can be an unfortunate surprise for any unsuspecting bikers.
One final thing to keep in mind during late summer and fall is that it is the prime time for hurricanes. Broken branches or other debris are more likely to be in the road after a hurricane or a big storm.
Look, most folks won’t be driving their bikes in the winter, but for the sake of being thorough I will mention it anyhow. Ice on the roadway is perhaps the most obvious seasonal road hazard, as it affects cars and motorcycles alike. Ice can occur as early as late fall and throughout the winter. But ice isn’t the only problem cold weather brings.
Get this, cold weather means cold tires which means your bike will have less traction and may be more difficult to handle. Cold tires are less likely to grip the road, and can be a huge problem for the unprepared rider. If you must drive in the winter, especially if there is snow, you should consider some snow tires for your bike. And always be prepared for ice.
Springtime road hazards for motorcyclists may be worse in the colder areas of the country where plow trucks regularly tear up the roads. It’s no secret, plow trucks are rough on the roadway. When spring rolls around what were once small potholes are often made much worse by plow trucks. Additionally, there may be accumulations of sand along the side of the road from the mixture used to provide traction on ice throughout the winter. Ironically, that same sand that provides traction on ice, can do just the opposite when it piles up in the spring time.
This road hazard is something too many folks are unaware of. Though summer is a generally safe time to ride your motorcycle there is one seasonal hazard you should be aware of.
Here’s the deal, grass on the road is a huge problem for motorcyclists. Yet even many veteran riders may be unaware of it entirely. Nonetheless, grass in the roadway can be as bad if not worse than a pile of leaves and for the same reasons. Grass can decrease your traction, and if there is enough it can be as bad as ice on the road. If you see grass covering the roadway it is best to slow down and avoid it.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many laws against grass in the road to protect bikers. Therefore grass on the road is more common than it ought to be, and it is something to keep in mind on your summer rides.
The most important thing is to be aware and vigilant of the additional road hazards bikers may face. If you are traveling down unfamiliar roads and you come upon a sharp turn with limited visibility, be mindful that a pile of leaves may be just around the bend.
The importance of wearing leather on your motorcycle can not be mentioned often enough. Wearing the right motorcycle gear is a great way to armor up against any road hazards. The right leather equipment can turn a major accident into a minor scrape.
One of the most tempting things to do on a motorcycle is going fast. But, if you are unsure of what obstacles lie ahead, especially on unfamiliar roads it is always a good idea to slow down.
It is important to learn how to handle these seasonal road hazards and to know what you should do, and what you should not do while riding a motorcycle. Motorcycles simply do not have the same traction as other motorized vehicles and as such, they face obstacles other vehicles are not affected by.
Riding a motorcycle can be a great way to enjoy your spare time, but it is important to always be aware of the hazards you may face. Simply being aware of these often overlooked hazards can be enough to avoid an unnecessary spill.
Douglas Dedrick is a landscaper with over a decade of experience, a motorcycle safety enthusiast and an avid writer on topics ranging from law to lawn care. You can find him and his writing at HealingLaw.com.