Autumn riding tips from IAM RoadSmart

Blog post posted on 30/09/19 |

We’re now experiencing cold mornings and darker evenings. That only means one thing… that autumn is approaching.

At IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, we want you to enjoy riding your motorbike and that’s why Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards, has put together some riding safety tips for you to bear in mind before hopping on your motorbike 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.

• 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’re coming from.

• Often the sun’s still shining very brightly, which means the low sun can make riding challenging. Bear in mind that your helmet may have an internal flip-down visor which you can use and if you’re an adventure-type rider, your helmet will have a peak. If you have inserts in your visor, although these are helpful, be aware that they can magnify glare. And lastly, go back to the basics and clean and check your visor as those little scratches that you barely notice on a nice day will show up on dark nights and with rain and headlights coming towards you, it becomes almost impossible to see

• Do your POWDERY checks. It’s crucial to keep your motorbike well maintained throughout the year to help you be the best rider you can be. It is also important not to neglect the ‘You’ in riding - are you fit and well prepared to ride?

• We advise wearing fluorescent or reflective gear, it’s not to everyone’s taste but pink high visibility clothing works best. This additional 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’. Take a second look for bikes and position deliberately, when in view, if you are the bike.

• Riding is meant to put a smile of your face, so do everything you can to keep yourself 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.

Richard 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.

Allow for not being seen, the low sun can make you almost invisible to a car driver, planning for the worst is better than hoping for the best. Finishing the ride with a smile and possibly two hours of cleaning, is a proper bikers’ treat.”

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


Notes to editors:

1.            Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.

2.            IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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