Winter safety tips
Many bikers put their beloved bikes into hibernation during the winter season feeling that the weather and road conditions make riding too dangerous or just not enjoyable. However, for all you die hard bikers out there, here are some essential tips for keeping yourself safe and warm over the next few months:
Maintain your bike
I know it sounds obvious but keep your bike nice and clean. Dirt and rock salt from gritters can wreck your bike if left unchecked and can damage or hinder your bikes performance. Road grime can also dull your head and tail lights which, not only, hinders your ability to see clearly but may also prevent others from seeing you.
Check your safety gear
Make sure your leathers, boots and helmet/visor are all in good condition and your reflective gear is nice and clean, hi visibility is essential in poor weather conditions. Check your brakes and make sure they are working as they should and free from oil or grit. Your mirrors should also be clean and it may be worth investing in some anti-misting spray which can also be used on your visor.
Check your tyres
Your tyres should be in really good condition and set at the right pressure so do a health check on them to ensure they are ready for the winter roads.
Check your clothing
Apart from ensuring your protective clothing is not damaged, it is important to wrap up warm. Investing in specialist winter gear such as heated gloves, vests and jackets is always a good idea as getting cold, especially your fingers and hands, can make your reactions slower which can be hazardous on the roads when braking. There are even some specialist bike accessories such as handlebar muffs or heated grips which keep your fingers from seizing up in below freezing temperatures.
Check and plan your routes
As the winter nights draw in, weather worsens and road conditions deteriorate with pot holes, debris, salt, grit and black ice and it is important to consider if your journey is worth the risks. Its not so much yourself but the other motorists you have to worry about who struggle to see bikes at the best of times. When conditions are bad ie windy, foggy or icy, consider if the journey is necessary and if so choose a route that has good visibility, good lighting, free from potential debris and also a good road surface. If winds are very high or there has been a black ice warning then avoid riding altogether if possible.
When out on the winter roads it important to remember other vehicles stopping times and driver visibility so try to signal earlier, leave more space between you and other vehicles (moving or stationery) and assume they can’t see you. Stay alert and ride within your limit.
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