The fall can be a great time to take the motorcycle out on the road. Temperatures are mild, and the changing colors of the leaves create the perfect backdrop for a scenic ride. Although motorcyclists can enjoy the mild weather while commuting to work or cruising around town, they can also encounter hazards during the autumn months, placing them at risk of an accident.
There are some things you should do to prepare for your first ride of the season and every excursion that follows. Take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. If you follow these tips, you could avoid suffering injuries and serious property damage in a collision.
Look for Hazards
Environmental factors can lead to dangerous conditions. They’re especially problematic for motorcyclists. Without the protection of the metal frame that cars have, or a seatbelt and airbag, riders are pretty much at the mercy of their surroundings.
Watch out for fallen leaves. When the seasons change, they fall to the ground. They can hide debris in the road, such as rocks, potholes, and other hazards. If they’re falling while you’re driving under a tree, they can stick to your visor, blocking your view of the road ahead. Wet leaves could even cause slippery conditions, causing you to lose control of your bike and crash.
Inspect Your Motorcycle
The summer months are hot. They’re not typically ideal for riding a motorcycle around when the sun is blazing on you. If you’re preparing to ride for the first time when temperatures are more enjoyable, inspect your motorcycle thoroughly.
Since it might have been sitting in the garage for months unused, it could have maintenance issues. Check that there’s enough brake fluid, coolant, and other vital fluids. Ensure there’s enough air in the tires, and the treads aren’t too worn. You should also test the controls and look at the parts to see if everything functions properly.
You should repair any damage promptly. Replace parts or systems that have been recalled by the manufacturer, as well. Riding a motorcycle with defective parts prevents you from having total control when you’re on the road. If the brakes fail or another issue arises, you likely won’t be able to avoid an accident.
Check the Weather
You probably check the weather forecast before spending time outdoors. If you’re planning a barbeque with your family, you want to ensure it’s not going to rain. The same thing should apply when you’re about to ride your motorcycle. Even if it’s a short trip, it’s best to know the type of weather you might encounter.
A little rain might not seem like a problem. However, even a tiny amount can lead to slippery roads. Encountering a thunderstorm means you could be exposed to lightning. When you’re in a car or truck, the metal cage around you conducts any lightning charge around you and into the ground. Unfortunately, on a bike, you can’t protect yourself from a lightning strike.
High winds can also be dangerous. It’s harder to control the motorcycle, and a strong enough wind could even knock you to the ground.
If there’s any adverse weather in the forecast along your planned route, you should probably stay at home or take a safer vehicle.
Be Aware of Other Drivers
It’s obvious that you should obey traffic signs and signals no matter what mode of transportation you take. However, many people don’t. Even if you operate your bike safely, the people you encounter on the road might blow through a stop sign or take a turn too quickly. If you’re not paying attention, you could end up on a collision course with another vehicle.
You can’t prevent someone else from behaving carelessly, but you can learn how to anticipate another driver’s actions and react appropriately when faced with perceived danger. If you’re entering an intersection, never assume other people will stop for you. You should proceed with caution and if it looks like someone’s approaching quickly or isn’t going to stop, let them pass.
Wear the Right Clothes
Accidents happen. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to avoid them. However, you can take steps to prevent sustaining severe injuries if you have the right gear. That means you should always wear a helmet, appropriate footwear, and comfortable but not too loose clothing.
If you’re riding your motorcycle at night, check that your lights are working and wear bright colors so drivers can see you. If you’re dressed in all black or your lights are broken, it’s unlikely others will know you’re there, and they could crash into the back of your bike or sideswipe you while changing lanes.
We can meet with you for a free consultation to review the facts of the incident and determine who we can hold liable for your injuries. We will pursue the compensation you deserve and work hard to try to reach your desired outcome.
Call us now at 512-580-8334.
Related reading: Eight Myths About Motorcycle Accidents Debunked