Riding a Motorcycle in Snow

Sep 15

Our region gets plenty of snow and ice every year. But, if you follow the tips highlighted below, you can ride your motorcycle more safely when snow hits the ground. 

However, riding your bike safely doesn’t matter if another driver negligently hits you in a motorcycle accident. Reckless and distracted drivers injure many Indiana motorcyclists. If that happens to you, the personal injury attorneys at Blackburn Romey can help.


Understand Winter Risks

Being safe on your bike in the winter means understanding the risks. Some of the aspects you will need to remember this winter include: 

  • Speed: You need to slow down on wet and snowy roads. Slowing down means having more time to respond to traffic conditions and hazards. Also, you will have less stopping distance when less traction is available. 
  • Following distances: A common rule for motorcycle following distances is two or three seconds. This is a good idea in warm weather. However, you may consider boosting the following distances in the winter months. Also, check your mirrors for tailgaters. Reaction times tend to slow in cold weather, too. 
  • Road conditions: There are more road hazards in the winter. Black ice is a significant hazard, and it’s hard to see until you’re on top of it. Even if there is just morning frost, it is still slick. Sand, road salt, and ashes also can get slick as they accumulate. 
  • Visibility: It is harder to see and be seen on a bike in the winter. Make sure you wear bright-colored clothing so other drivers can see you. Remember, most drivers don’t expect to see a motorcyclist in the winter. So, make it easy to be seen. 


Cold Weather Means Cold Tires

It sounds simple, but not every motorcyclist thinks about it. When your tires are cold, you have less traction and grip. Riding for a few miles will boost the heat in the tires. But even a quick break for coffee can cool your tires and reduce traction. 

While we discuss tires, let’s mention having enough tread. Being stingy on motorcycle tires, especially in winter, is risky. When the roads are icy and snowy, you need more tread to ride safely. 

Don’t forget to see what your tire pressure is, too. Having the tires properly inflated is vital in the winter when you need more traction and grip.


Ride In A Group

Many motorcyclists ride with friends when the weather is warm. The companionship is a lot of fun. It’s also safer. This is even more important in the winter. 

There are more chances that something will go wrong when riding your bike in the winter. If you have your comrades, you’ll be better prepared for an accident or breakdown.


Avoid Snow

There are some exceptions, but most experts advise against riding in the snow. Braking, acceleration, and turning require lots of traction to do safely. Even a small amount of snow can eliminate most of your traction. 

Further, falling snow can build up on your face shield or windshield, which is tough to see. If there is even a small chance of snowfall, it is often best to stay home. After the snow comes down, crews will have plenty of time to clear the roads.


Be Mentally Ready 

It’s different when you ride your bike in the winter. You will be confronted with lots of cold air, ice, and snow in Indiana. These things have a significant effect on your motorcycle and on you. So, be mentally ready for riding in the winter before hitting the road. 

Riding in cold, snowy weather can give you serious chills that may cause frostbite and hypothermia. Plus, the rubber on your tires shrinks when the temperature plunges. 

The cold air rushing past your body can make your muscles and joints stiffer. When you cannot move as well, it’s harder to control your ride. These points can promote motorcycle safety when you ride in snowy weather.


Tune Up Your Bike

Having your motorcycle adequately maintained in the winter is even more important. Living in Indiana means having a lot of road salt to contend with, so you must wash off your bike as soon as you get home.


Wear Appropriate Gear 

When you ride in the winter, it is always best to don several layers to keep you cozy and warm. Having a base layer, mid layer, and outer layer is perfect. Also, wear sturdy winter boots and gloves. 

If you want to stay extra warm, consider some hand warmers to keep your digits warm. Also, a heated seat is a great option too!


Make Yourself Visible

You can remember all of the tips above to ride safely in the winter. But if other drivers don’t see you, there could be a nasty accident. So, follow these tips to increase your ability to be seen on your bike: 

  • Wear a bright-colored jacket and reflective tape to make it difficult to miss you. If you insist on that black leather jacket, put bright colors on your gloves and helmet. 
  • Be defensive in how you ride. Aggressive drivers and tailgaters are hazardous to you in the winter. 
  • Remember that drivers may not see you even if you are right in front of them. 
  • Put on music or use a loud muffler to get other drivers’ attention. 

If you still are hit by another driver, you can rely on a personal injury attorney to assist you. Motorcycle accidents can be nasty and you may need plenty of compensation to fully recover.


Contact An Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you are a motorcyclist injured by another driver, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. The Indiana personal injury attorneys at Blackburn Romey will fight to get you every dime you deserve for your damages. Please contact us today for a free consultation. 

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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