The winter months can be tough on our Pennsylvania roads. From highways to city streets, every road surface will soon get blasted by freezing rain, hail or snow … sometimes all three at the same time. Whether it is due to necessity or simply the love of the ride, you will likely see motorcycles on the roads well into the winter.
What can riders do to keep safe?
Pay special attention to weather forecasts
While people might make it a habit to follow weather patterns throughout the year, those who depend on their motorcycles for transportation should remain doubly vigilant during the winter. It would make no sense to ride your bike to work on a clear, cool morning only to have a snow storm rear up just in time for your evening commute. Facing the prospect of snow, riders should be prepared to make alternative plans.
Pick the right gloves
Motorcycle riders are more dependent on fine motor control than those in cars. You need to have a pair of gloves that are suited for winter driving. Insulated gloves are a must, but picking a warm, bulky pair isn’t generally the correct choice. Your hands and fingers need to remain flexible for the entire ride. Don’t be hesitant to try them on in the store and wrap your fingers around a grip. You’ll soon find that the gloves fit differently on your resting hand versus your hand around a motorcycle grip.
Additionally, the gloves should be waterproof to provide an additional layer of protection from the harsh weather.
Install bike accessories
It might be wise to plan ahead for accessories that might not be necessary for two-thirds of the year. Grip protectors or heated grips could help guard your hands from the cold, whipping wind. Additionally, install your helmet’s breath deflector to ensure your visor is protected from condensation.
While motorcycle snow tires are not very common, there are laws in other countries that require them to be installed. As such, there is a small selection if you want to use winter tires. However, most riders in the United States settle for maintaining the proper tire pressure. A cold road means a loss of traction, so it is wise to be vigilant about air pressure and check on a regular basis.
We discussed gloves earlier, but winter riders should be aware of other gear choices. From a winter jacket to pants and boots, it is crucial that riders stay both warm and flexible in the dangerous weather. Riders are historically concerned with heavy, protective clothing. The brutal Pennsylvania cold adds another factor to the equation. Dress in layers, test your ability to move quickly in your heavy gear and stay warm.
Motorcycle safety is a year-round endeavor that becomes more crucial when the weather turns bad. Remember to plan ahead, increase your stopping distance and don’t ride when the weather turns truly unsafe.