Winter has arrived and one of the hardest (and most frequent) conditions we experience here in the UK is riding in high wind, especially while the road is wet too. In addition these conditions can blow or turn riders off course. Here are some tips to prepare riders this winter season from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.
- Beware of the wind – gusts when emerging from building lines or beside high-sided vehicles can catch you out. If there are any trees, use them as an indicator of the wind strength. If they are whipping about slow down. A sudden change of direction at speed can be frightening for other road users.
- Plan for both parts of your journey – out and return – and try to make a habit of checking the weather forecast before riding.
- Dress correctly in warm but comfortable bike attire. Good gloves and boots will help you stay warm and alert. Check your visor; those little scratches will show up on the dark nights and headlamps in the rain make vision almost impossible.
- Choose your route carefully as well as where you position yourself on the road. Wet leaves are like ice and ice is like nothing you have ever ridden on. When grip is zero your motorcycling skills make little difference. Be aware of where water collects – a dry line is better and safer.
- Potholes get worse in winter and despite being almost invisible develop a magnet attraction for motorcycles in the dark. Slow down and be prepared. If the weather is extreme don’t chance it on two wheels – nothing could be worse than damaging yourself, your pride and joy or another road user.
Richard said: “As with all things motorcycling, preparation is key. Having the right equipment makes all the difference. Motorcycles are supposed to be fun. By planning your ride along a route that will have seen some attention from the council you are likely to arrive home safely without having any moments.”