Hot Weather Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips
In many parts of the country, summer is peak motorcycle riding season. But while riding a motorcycle always involves some inherent risks, hot weather can add some unique risks to the mix. If you’ll be out riding on a hot day, here are some steps you can take so you can protect yourself and stay safe on the road.
Choose the Right Safety Gear
As the weather heats up, the idea of wearing safety gear might not sound very appealing. But don’t be tempted to leave the gear at home. Safety is an important thing to consider all year long, but remember that some types of gear are best for cooler weather. If you ride a lot during the summer, you’ll definitely want to invest in some gear designed for hot weather. There are helmets, gloves, jackets, and other types of motorcycle riding clothing that include ventilation to help keep you cool and comfortable. Stick to light colored gear since it will help reflect the heat, not absorb it the way dark gear will. Cooling vests are another great option to consider.
Wearing long sleeves and pants in hot weather might seem counterintuitive, but they can actually help you feel cooler on hot days since they prevent sweat from evaporating off your skin, helping you stay hydrated. Covering as much of your skin as possible will also help you avoid sunburn and protect you in case you end up in a motorcycle accident.
Stay Cool & Hydrated
If you’re going to be out riding your motorcycle, the last thing you want is to develop heat exhaustion or stroke, so staying cool is very important. In addition to choosing the right type of safety gear, another way you can stay cool is by soaking a bandana in water and tying it around your neck. If you’re heading out on a longer trip, be sure to take breaks to cool off, drink some water.
Make Yourself Visible
Not only does wearing light-colored gear help reflect the heat, it has the added benefit of making it easier for other drivers on the road to see you. Motorcycles are less visible than regular passenger vehicles, so wearing bright colors and gear with reflectors on them will help you stand out. This is particularly important if you’ll be out riding at night or early in the morning before sunrise.
Check the Forecast
Just because it isn’t snowy and icy anymore, don’t forget that summer still brings a risk of severe weather. Always check the forecast before leaving to make sure you won’t be encountering any storms. If you’re planning a longer trip on your motorcycle, it’s extremely important that you stay on top of the weather, but even if you’re staying closer to home, it’s still worth checking in on. Rain can make roads slippery by forming puddles and/or stirring up dirt and oil on the road, so it’s best to avoid riding your motorcycle in the rain if it’s at all possible. Strong winds can make it hard to maintain control on your bike. If it’s been a few days since it last rained, try to wait an hour or two before heading out to give any oil on the road a chance to be washed away.
Don’t Drink and Ride
Operating any kind of motor vehicle, whether it’s a regular car, a boat, or a motorcycle, when you’ve had too much to drink is never a good idea. But since so many people host parties during the summer months, it’s very common for accidents involving alcohol to go up during this time of year. According to the IIHS, 26% of all fatally injured motorcycle drivers in 2016 had a BAC level of 0.08 or higher. Looking at accidents that occur at night, the numbers are even more alarming, with 47% of motorcycle drivers killed at night (between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM) in 2016 having a BAC level of 0.08 or higher.