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Extra precautions needed for winter motorcycle riding

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Posted on October 22, 2021

For most motorcycle enthusiasts in Illinois, the riding season runs from spring through fall. The additional dangers of hitting a patch of snow or ice, as well as the cold weather, convince most motorcyclists to put the bike away for several months.

Bikers who do ride year-round should take extra precautions to stay safe.

The importance of quality gear

A discussion from Motorcycle Habit emphasizes the importance of staying warm on a motorcycle. Cold riders tend to lose focus, while numb hands and fingers have a hard time controlling the bike. Proper clothing for cold weather riding includes insulated and wind-proof materials for gloves, boots, jacket, pants and helmet.

Other gear suggestions include wearing thermal underwear and warm socks. Cold weather riding requires a helmet to stay warm, and the visor should have an anti-fog spray on it. Riders can also consider heated seats to aid in keeping warm.

Any temperatures below freezing effectively rule out riding during these times. At this temperature, black ice can form and create extremely dangerous conditions.

The value of proper riding techniques

Inexperienced riders should not venture out in winter and all riders should know their limitations. Learning to ride in the cold takes practice and experience. Riders should start out with short rides on safe roads. Solid riding practices can help:

  • Keep to safe speeds
  • Stay a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Avoid quick acceleration and braking

Riders should keep a close watch on weather forecasts and only hit the road during periods of calm weather conditions. If road conditions look questionable, a smart biker waits to ride another day.