Tips for Winter Motorcycle Riding
February and March are cold times for Californian residents, but the cold can’t stop a motorcycle enthusiast from riding. Although motorcycle fatalities drop during the winter, this does not mean winter motorcycling is any less dangerous.1 When the weather turns cold, you should take extra safety precautions by consistently checking your motorcycle’s tire pressure and wearing the appropriate winter safety gear.
What happens to tires in the winter?
Have you noticed tire pressure seems to decrease in the winter? You’re not wrong! As temperatures decrease, so does tire pressure. In fact, for every ten degrees the temperature drops, expect to lose 1-2 psi (pounds per square inch).2 With underinflated tires, the following can happen to your motorcycle:
- Reduced load capacity and ground clearance
- Heavy steering
- Internal tire damage
- Uneven tread wear
According to The National Traffic Safety Administration’s studies, a vehicle with underinflated tires is three times more likely to be involved in a collision or another critical event.3 You can avoid this by ensuring your tires are properly inflated. Here are some tips to keep in mind:4
- Check your tire pressure once a week
- Look for signs of punctures, bulging, or cracking in tires
- Refer back to the manual for recommended psi levels
- Inflate using compressed air and bleed out air if overinflated
- Place a quarter between the tread grooves after inflating to proper levels
- Tread should pass the top of Washington’s head
When tires are warm, they expand. This can give you a false pressure reading. So, with this in mind, it’s important to check your tires before you ride your motorcycle (or any vehicle, for that matter).
When you purchase a motorcycle, you make a commitment: to protect yourself and others. Protecting yourself begins at the maintenance level, but investing in good safety gear is also a necessary precaution, especially when the weather turns cold.
What winter motorcycle gear should you wear?
Consider this: Riding your motorcycle at highway speeds of 65 mph can make 45-degree weather feel like 25-degree weather.5 Although California may not get below freezing temperatures like other states might, it’s still a good idea to know what gear to wear when you are riding in cold weather. This will not only keep you comfortable while riding, but prevent issues such as chill, dehydration, numbness, and fatigue. When taking your bike out for a ride, the Department of Motor Vehicle recommends you wear the following gear:6
- Helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation’s regulations7
- High-quality motorcycle boots and gloves to keep your limbs warm
- A warm and protective coat
- Windproof under and outer layers
- High and sturdy closed toe shoes
You’ll want to prevent the cold from seeping into any open areas. Your gear should fit snugly around your neck, wrist, and waist. Material such as wool or synthetic fibers like Thinsulate will keep you warm.
If you often ride in cold weather, it may be worth it to purchase a windshield. It can also help protect you from bugs and debris.
Good gear will not only keep you warm, but protect you in case of a motorcycle accident. It creates a layer between you and the road, helping to minimize abrasions and cushioning impacts. But, for severe accidents, quality gear can only protect you so much. If you or a loved one become injured in a motorcycle accident, seek a motorcycle accident lawyer.
What should you do after a motorcycle accident?
When you make the time to check your tires weekly and wear proper clothing, you are practicing safe motorcycling habits. These habits may prove not only to be life-savers, but money savers to. It can stop your tires from wearing out quickly and possibly minimize injuries in case of a motorcycle accident.
Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare before a ride, a motorcyclist can’t avoid an accident from a negligent and reckless driver. When this is the case, no amount of preparation can prevent severe injury. You shouldn’t have to pay for costly repairs and treatments when you’re not at-fault. You deserve compensation for your troubles. Hire a lawyer from Wilshire Law Firm to fight for you! Call today for a free consultation at 1-800-522-7274!
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, “Motorcycles,” http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/motorcycles/fatalityfacts/motorcycles
- , “How to Inspect and Maintain Motorcycle Tires,” https://www.thoughtco.com/inspect-and-maintain-your-tires-2399739
- S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Tire-Related Factors in the Pre-Crash Phase,” https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811617
- , “Why Your Car’s Tires Lose Air During Winter,” https://www.thoughtco.com/why-tires-lose-air-in-winter-3444143
- Ride Apart, “5 Must Know Cold Weather Riding Tips,” https://rideapart.com/articles/5-must-know-cold-weather-riding-tips
- The Department of Motor Vehicle, “Motorcycles and Weather Conditions,” https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/motorcycle-weather-conditions.php
- The Department of Motor Vehicle, “Motorcycle Handbook Preparing to Ride,” https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/dl655/mcycle_htm/preparing