Riding through autumn safely: tips from IAM RoadSmart

Blog post posted on 19/09/23 |

We’re beginning to experience darker and chillier starts to the day, and soon we’ll be driving and riding home from work in the dark which confirms to many that autumn is officially here. 

At IAM RoadSmart, we want you to enjoy riding your bike for as long as it’s safe to do so, and that's why Richard Gladman, Chief Examiner at IAM RoadSmart, has put together some riding safety tips for you to bear in mind before hopping on your bike this autumn.  

Think about the weather conditions 


It may look sunny when you leave in the morning, but what will it be like on your return journey? This may sound obvious, but it's easy to forget to check your weather app before setting off. Severe weather can present different challenges, and it’s not just winter weather which can wreak havoc on the roads.

Wear the correct gear 

Once the first drop of rain gets into your motorcycle clothes, the rest of the rain will follow (if you’re a rider, you’ll know where we are coming from!). It’s worth investing in the right clothing to protect you in all weathers, let's face it no one wants to spend the day drying out from the morning commute.  

Prepare for the glare 

The sunshine is still quite bright, and this can make riding a bit challenging due to the low sun. However, you can use the flip-down visor within your helmet, or the peak if you're an adventure-type rider. While inserts in your visor can be helpful, they may also magnify glare. Don't forget to clean and check your visor regularly, as minor scratches may not be noticeable on sunny days but can become problematic on those darker rides with rain and headlights.  

Check before you travel  

Remember to do your POWDERY checks. It’s crucial to keep your bike well maintained throughout the year to help you be the best rider you can be, so by spending a few minutes checking the basics will help prevent those unexpected breakdowns. 

Staying seen 

We recommend wearing florescence or reflective gear; not to everyone’s taste but pink high visibility clothing works best. This added piece of clothing may load the dice in your favour. Be aware of motion camouflage, a phenomenon where an object can remain below the detection threshold when coming straight towards you and ‘suddenly appear’, so take a second look for bikes and position deliberately if you are the bike. 

Enjoy the ride 

Riding is meant to put a smile on your face, so do everything you can to keep you safe on the road so you can enjoy the ride. Encourage your non-motorcyclist friends to turn the well-known phrase SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You) into SMART (Saw a Motorcyclist and Reacted Today) by reminding them to look out for motorcyclists on the road.  

Chief Examiner Richard Gladman said:

“Motorcycling is supposed to be fun and on a bright autumn day a blast in the country can be a real pleasure. Plan your ride to fit around any adverse weather warnings and kit up properly so your concentration is at its best. Plan for not being seen, the low sun can make you almost invisible to a car driver, and planning for the worst is better than hoping for the best. Finishing the ride with a smile and 2 hours' worth of cleaning is a proper winter treat.”  

Interested in advancing your motorcycle skills and learning new techniques to help you handle different road situations? Find out about our Advanced Rider course.