Updated: Sep 23, 2021
Nobody wants summer to end, but with the official conclusion of the season on September 22nd and the weather already getting increasingly damper, it's time to start getting ready for Autumn.
Keeping yourself safe in wet weather is extremely important and here's a few simple ways you can do that:
Keeping your distance - we've all heard the rhyme 'only a fool breaks the two second rule' but remember, on wet roads stopping distance increases, so the two second rule becomes four seconds.
Lights! - most motorcycles nowadays automatically have their lights switched on from the beginning of the journey, but if you have an older model, make sure to turn them on. Keeping yourself visible to other vehicles is a must.
Wearing high-vis gear - this increases your visibility even more, helping to keep you safe. (Plus, an extra layer can't hurt as the weather gets colder.)
Ride Motorcycle Training has some great all weather gear that have thermal and reflective elements. Stylish and safe, these products will keep you going through the colder months.
All the above advice might sound like common sense, but a reminder never hurts. However, there are more ways to keep yourself safe while riding in wet and cold weather.
Make sure to keep your braking smooth to avoid skidding. Apply your brakes gradually, over a longer distance than usual to keep the wheels from slipping against the wet surface. On the note of being smooth, give yourself time to take corners so that you're not harshly turning the bike. In dry conditions smooth cornering is good practice, but in wet conditions? It's essential.
Something else to watch out for on a ride is standing water. Riding at speed over a patch of standing water is particularly unsafe, because:
you don't know how deep it is - a hidden, deep pothole could throw you off your bike.
further hazards could be obscured from view and once again, you could be thrown from the bike.
Even without hidden hazards, going over water at speed is a sure-fire way to aquaplane. Once that happens, you're relying on the kindness of the universe to bring you out safely on the other side.
So when it comes to standing water, think, take it slow or just plain old go around them.
Keeping yourself safe while riding isn't just about the decisions you make on your journey though. Maintaining your bike is extremely important. Think of it this way - if your bike stays in good condition, so do you.
As the weather gets colder, you'll need to make sure your bike isn't being affected. Here's a few things you can do:
Using a motor oil that has a winter temperature rating - some oils used for motorcycle engines thicken in cold weather, causing problems.
Using a good quality antifreeze/coolant and making sure you're using the right ratio.
And of course you should never forget the basics of keeping your bike in good condition. Keep your tyres well inflated and change them when the tread starts to wear out. Maintaining your battery by keeping it clean and even checking the charge with a voltage metre to ensure you won't break down mid-ride. And, potentially most importantly, making sure your lights are in good working order. With cold weather there tends to be fog and other conditions that cause low-visibility. Ensuring that other vehicles can see you on the road is crucial to your safety.
If you're ever concerned about an issue with your bike, get it checked by a professional. It's better to be safe than sorry and Lancaster Motorcycles offer great services to help keep your bike running smoothly.
Stay safe out there!