Winter conditions may be brutal for any driver, with snow and ice raising both risk and difficulty levels. This is especially true for bikers, who face full exposure to the elements and navigate on two wheels as opposed to four.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the course of 2020, there were almost 28 times more motorcycle deaths per vehicle mile than occupant deaths from wrecks involving other vehicles. As a motorcyclist, you may or may not choose to traverse the roads on your bike during the colder months, but if you do, practicing certain precautions may help lower the likelihood of an accident.
1. Avoid riding in the snow
Ice already makes the road extra dangerous. Add in snow, and riding a motorcycle becomes even more of a hazard. Both ice and snow make it easier to slip and the latter reduces visibility, which means you may not be able to identify dangers as easily.
2. Maximize visibility
Even if it is not snowing, cloudy winter skies can make it harder for you to recognize approaching vehicles and for other drivers to see you. During the day, as well as at night, keep your lights on. Add extra lights and don bright colors. Apply reflective tape to your motorcycle in select locations. Because of the smaller size of their vehicles, motorcyclists already have the disadvantage of being less visible, so it is important not to take chances.
3. Practice extra caution
Drive slower than normal since you have less traction on icy roads. Stay farther away from other vehicles. Be more vigilant, especially at traffic lights and turns.
Winter travel can be extra risky for bikers. By focusing, preparing beforehand and driving as safely as possible, you mitigate some of that risk.