Safety checklist for bikers traveling in winter

Winter riding

All across the northern hemisphere there are diehard motorcycle riders who will be out on the roads in winter come rain or shine, snow or sleet and nothing will keep them from their beloved bikes. Most of the time this is understandable but when the coldest, snowiest months of the year set in, there are things a biker can do to ensure his safety. If you are intent on being one of those diehard bikers this coming winter, check out these safety tips to ensure a safe, albeit cold, ride on the open road. These safety tips come to you from Bohn & Fletcher, personal injury and auto accident specialist attorneys based in San Jose, California.

Keep the Body Heat In

It is hard enough keeping warm in the winter but out on the road, even with that windshield breaking the wind, it’s almost impossible to stay warm enough to safely handle that bike. Cold tends to numb your hands and feet so that you lose the ability to safely navigate the road. Cold doesn’t affect all people the same, but if you are one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t do well in the cold, have you thought of a body warmer for bikers? It is suggested that you add a microfiber or silk layer for your head and special gloves for your hands since this is where heat escapes.

Invest in Electric Heaters for Bikers

Certain kinds of vents can keep warm air blowing on you and they even have electric gloves to keep your hands warm enough to handle the road. It is also recommended that you add a layer to the torso as this will significantly reduce your chances of getting frost bite. However, the one thing you always want to be aware of is that those layers can affect your ability to maneuver. Also, if you should be involved in an accident, you don’t want any doubt being called to your ability to handle the bike. Even if the accident is clearly not your fault, your maneuverability may be called into question!

Winter heated gloves
Heated gloves

Custom Cut Fairings

Some bikers are taller than stock fairings can provide ample deflection for so it might be necessary to have custom fairings installed on your bike. Although you should never count solely on the wind-shielding ability of the fairings, it does help to keep enough deflected that your layers and electric warming devices may keep you ‘almost comfortable.’

Kawasaki fairings winter
Kawasaki custom fairing

If you make every effort to stay as warm as possible on the open road in winter, you should be able to safely navigate your bike. Old timers know the rules of the road and what it takes to stay warm in January, but if you are new to the road, take the advice of an experienced auto accident attorney to heart. You are only as safe as your body will let you be and if you can’t stay warm, that body isn’t going to respond very well! Stay dry, stay warm and by all means, stay safe.

2 Comments

  1. Meanwhile, those of us who live and ride in cold climates will tell you that the most useful items and best value for cold weather are muffs, semi-rigid extended handguards that fit on the handlebars and enclose the hand and wrist. These will keep hands warm and dry in most conditions without having to resort to overly thick gloves that impair feel of the controls. For really extreme conditions there are heated versions of these, and they work very well with heated grips as they retain the heat in the air around the hand, warming the outside of the hand rather than just making the bars too hot to hold whilst your knuckles freeze.

    If the bike has sufficient alternator capacity, a heated insert in the seat is also nice. Available as an option on upmarket touring bikes in the UK market, or as a self or specialist fit kit for less prestigious or touring oriented vehicles.

    Changing boot styles from a sporty touring boot to a more traditional boot with thicker leather and a thicker and more heavily treaded sole also works well. Sporty waterproof boots still feel cold quickly when subject to an onslaught of near-freezing spray or you are stood for any length of time with a boot in standing water. Enduro/courrier boots are an option, but check out Altberg’s range of rugged motorcycle boots, particularly in high-leg variants. The styling is a bit dated but their made to mesure service means you can get heated insoles fitted without compromising fit, although i have never felt the need to heat my kit when i have the bike sorted with muffs and heaters.

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