Staying Safe During Fall Motorcycle Rides
- Be aware of visibility issues. As fall approaches, the days get shorter, and naturally that means that it gets dark earlier. Before you leave for your ride, be sure that you’ve packed reflective gear, replacement bulbs and any other necessities that help increase your visibility. Be sure that you can see other drivers on the road, and that they are able to see you too!
- Dress for the weather. Fall temperatures tend to fluctuate greatly, and it’s not uncommon to experience warm temperatures in the afternoon, followed by frigid, icy temperatures in the evening. If you’re planning a longer ride, make sure to pack additional layers to ensure you stay comfortable. Leather tends to protect you from the wind, and remember to pack extra gear in case of unexpected rain or sleet.
- Carefully consider the road conditions. Plan out your ride carefully, and make sure to look at the weather forecast and check for potential road hazards, including construction zones. If there’s potential ice or snow in the forecast, which could translate to slippery driving conditions, so you may want to change plans to avoid dangerous situations. Nobody can perfectly predict the weather, so if you find yourself in unfavorable conditions unexpectedly, remember that certain parts of the roadway will freeze more quickly than others, and adjust your driving accordingly. Bridges, overpasses and railroad crossings are high-risk areas for ice when the temperatures drop, so use special caution if you encounter them.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife. If you’re going to driving around dusk or after dark, be sure to watch the road closely for animals on the roads – especially deer. This is particularly important if you’re planning a ride in a rural area, where wildlife tends to be far more common. Watch for deer crossing signs and reduce your speed appropriately. If you see one deer, keep in mind that you are likely to see more, so stay alert. Remember, a motorcycle collision with a deer is significantly more dangerous than a motor vehicle collision with a deer.
- Watch for slippery spots. Although the fall leaves are beautiful, leaves in the road can also be a slippery hazard when they’re wet. Use special caution on curves and corners, where wet leaves can significantly reduce the traction of your tires. You should also be careful when braking on wet leaves, as they can cause your tires to lose traction and skid, even with anti-lock brakes.
- Avoid piles of leaves, whenever possible. When leaves are piled along the edge of the road, do your best to drive safely around them. Leaf piles can cover surface hazards like open sewer grates, curbs, roadside drains or other debris, which can lead to serious damage to your bike or even serious injuries. And you never know when children might be playing near or in leaf piles, so it’s best to reduce your speed and safely drive around these obstacles.
Be sure you’re ready for your next fall bike ride, and reach out to your local agent if you have questions about making sure your bike is protected, no matter what you might encounter!
Blog Credit to Our Partners: National General Insurance